HR Easter Eggs

John Whitaker Bad HR, John Whitaker

Are you a fan of Easter Eggs?

No, not the colored hard-shell variety your kids are harvesting–the other kind of Easter Eggs, i.e. “hidden information.”

Want an example? Classic Rock geeks might be interested to know that the bells heard at the beginning of the Rush song “YYZ” are, in fact, the title of the song in Morse Code. Why is that important? Well, pilots flying into Pearson International Airport in Toronto (airport code – “YYZ”) will hear this tone upon approach. Remember, dear reader, Rush is a Canadian product, so this is a tip of the hat to their homeland.

Don’t you just love that kind of stuff? (Authors note: Seriously, somebody agree with me here… if it’s just me that enjoys random “Eggs” like this, I need to seriously re-evaluate my interests.) The beauty of these little nuggets of trivial information is simple–they allow us to find something new and interesting in an area we may have already seen a million times before. Take Human Resources (please!) for example:

The name “Human Resources” brings to mind an organization bent on providing resources to our most valued priority, the “humans.” That’s a bit misleading; “human resources” is a term more akin to “human product”–employees aren’t a priority for the company, they are an asset of the company. As a matter of fact, you’ll find quite a groundswell of support to change the name of the HR function to more adequately (note, I did not say “accurately”) describe the organization we want to be, but outside of subcultures within the Personnel/Recruiting/Staffing/Talent Acquisition re-branding efforts, “Human Resources” is the label with which we are stuck.

A few Easter Eggs about HR:

– Our Bloodlines can be traced back to the late 1800s when “welfare secretaries” became conscious protectors of women’s rights in the workplace.  I double-dog-dare you to throw that term around in your next HR staff meeting, but I must warn you to duck. I’m fairly certain that just writing this will assure I endure a small uprising of stink-eye amongst colleagues. Pick one organization within your company that might be more heavily dominated by women in leadership positions. Go ahead, I’ll wait… It’s not by accident that women have found more leadership opportunities in HR than any other business unit.

– We actually LOVE your calls. When you call an HR person for help, we love it. Leaving a message wanting to “pick your brain” or “bend your ear” or “get your advice” always means one thing: you have a situation that’s slightly messed up. Most HR people I know really enjoy these conversations, BUT… don’t confuse this with empathy; we simply like to problem-solve. We also love to be in the midst of a scenario that will make a great story at the next SHRM meeting. We may even embellish just a tad.

– We are the “Cobbler’s Children.”  Who is “HR for HR?” Without naming names, I can assure you that in most cases, the Human Resources organization within your company is a hypocritical mess when it comes to adhering to the advice they/we administer. I’ve seen some of the most dysfunctional treatment of employees sitting right in our own house.

– We peek. We have access to all kinds of information; pay grade, salary amounts, merit ratings, annual reviews, status change/updates, historical information… any HR person who tells you they haven’t taken a peek at this information for pure curiosity is yanking your leg.

I could go on, but my message light is flashing… hope it’s something juicy.