HR Seems to Operate at the Speed of Slow

Laurie Ruettimann HR, Laurie Ruettimann, Uncategorized, Workplace Flexibilty

I have several friends with gifted and talented kids who are also spaced out, distracted and slow.

In some cases, there are clinical reasons why these children can’t grasp the concept of time and respond to normal social cues. In other situations, kids are just kids.

(Of course, it takes ten minutes to brush your teeth. You’re eight years old, and you are day-dreaming about everything and nothing in particular!)

I’ve often heard that HR professionals have the slowest processing speeds in the corporate family. They’ll respond to blatant emergencies and direct language from an authority figure, but without direct supervision, they will wander. That program that you need implemented? That payroll request form? Forget about getting things done quickly. HR needs guardrails from IT, legal, finance and marketing or they’ll be all over the map and nowhere at the same time.

I think some of that is true. Many HR professionals in the trenches operate at their best when given a rule book and a list of tasks to accomplish. When there’s an HR guy who shows great promise and runs at a quicker pace, he’s elevated and promoted.

(And it’s almost always a man.)

While I can see how Sally on the benefits team doesn’t always keep track with the fast-moving pace of business, I see the same thing with the helpdesk guy. His name is Doug, and he always asks me to restart my damn computer even though I told him that I already restarted my machine and the problem still exists.

What about Judy in accounting who needs you to put the purchase order number in two places on the invoice, not just the top of the bill, otherwise she can’t process the document for payment?

And how about Emily, the new marketing coordinator? She wants to implement a new Snapchat strategy for no reason. When you tell her it’s dumb and ask for a business case, she stares back and has no words. She thinks you have the slow processing speed because, man, it’s Snapchat.

So, what I’m saying is that everybody is slow. Everybody operates from a rulebook that nobody understands. And your way of thinking is just as murky and cloudy as everybody else’s. If you have any interest in being a good colleague, be patient. Respect the process and trust that your colleagues are smarter than a box of rocks.

But, okay, fine, jump all over HR for being slow and “not getting it.” I know a person just like that. She’s you, and we are kindly nodding our heads and smiling as you dazzle us with your slow-witted business genius.

You’re welcome.

Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC. She’s working on her next book about fixing work due out in 2020.