CategoryJust Buzzing

No More And Then! (A Lesson in Employee Relations)

I really try not to use my blog to air my personal gripes … I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I have … So forgive me for this one …

I’ve had the same living room furniture since like 2002. I decided it was time to upgrade! So I headed off to a local furniture store to pick out a new set. Delivery was scheduled for about a week later so I could setup junk pickup of my old stuff in the meanwhile.

On delivery day, they couldn’t get the furniture into my house, which was hard to believe because we’d measured twice to be sure. The delivery team really didn’t propose any alternatives except sending everything back … And then we sent it back. And then I had to go back to the store, which is 35 minutes away, to pick out something else. And then, due to issues with their computers, it took a week to clear the old furniture and schedule the new. And then, on delivery day 2, no one called or showed up. And then I called to learn the delivery had been cancelled. And then the store blamed me for the cancellation error. And then the person on the phone got rude. And then I put a cape on — and I got SUPER rude!

Don’t judge me. I’m only human.

So as I write this post, my living room still has no furniture in it. And I’m waiting to see if and how the store is able to turn this around. Because, as pissed off as I am, I really don’t want to go thru the hassle of starting this whole process over again and being without furniture in the meanwhile.

I’m hoping to turn this from an “and then” to a “but then” situation.

Another “And Then” would be just one more negative tale, one more bad experience added on top of the already really poor experiences I’ve had. Another “and then” would prove the company doesn’t care, leaving me no choice but to go elsewhere … However, a “But Then” would be a different, better experience to stop the craziness and end the story on a positive, mutually-satisfying note.

What does a “but then” look like? Hmm … But then the manager got a UHaul truck and delivered the furniture himself. But then the manager offered to expedite my delivery and refund my delivery fees. But then the manager waived my first 3 months of payments. But then the manager gave me an extra lamp and end table. But then the manager took 20% off the price … But then someone stepped in and made it right, once and for all!

In my fury over all these mishaps and mishandlings, it dawned on me that this is what our employees are feeling when they have issues in our workplaces. They start work in our organizations with excitement and good intentions … And then something inevitably goes wrong … And then someone tries to fix it but doesn’t really … And then something goes wrong again … And then they bring the issues to HR … And then they wait to see what we’ll do with it, to see how and if we will make it right and fix it once and for all. Because, as pissed off as they are, they don’t want to hassle of searching for a new job or separation litigation.

So what are we gonna do, HR? Another “and then” — or a “but then.”

The choice is yours.

It’s Been A Long Time

… I shouldn’t have left you … Depending on the era you were born, you can finish that lyric in any number of ways.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 2 months since I last posted anything on this blog. I’ve never gone that long without writing since I launched 3 years ago. Yikes and yuck!

The stuff of life and work just got to me. I couldn’t make the time and mental space to be creative. I try to be a practical and positive voice in the HR blogosphere. When my daily happenings are less than that, it’s hard to push the challenges aside and speak from a clear, neutral place. So instead of sharing sadness and snark, I chose silence.

There were events and moments that made me want to say something … but then I’d sit in front of my computer and nothing would come out. Soon, the moment would pass and the idea wouldn’t really be relevant anymore.

Sigh. It happens to everyone, I suppose.

I wasn’t a complete lazy lima bean in the meanwhile. I wrote 3 posts AND appeared on Drive Thru HR radio AND collaborated on a fantastic e-book with the awesome team of bloggers over at Performance I Create. You should check all that out as well as subscribe to PIC because there is new, great content there almost daily.

I was also the featured speaker for a webinar on (you can get HRCI credit for watching the replay)–I spoke at a couple of local events in NC as well

Best of all, I got a new job!! And with that, I know my work-life balance will come back to equilibrium.

Still, with all that going on, I didn’t post any new content here. I regret that. However, there’s nothing I can do about it now — except apologize to my readers for staying gone so long and get my butt back in the blogging saddle.

So that’s what I’m doing. Today … Buzz is back. Buckle up! 😉


Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this time of year. As soon as Halloween is over, I almost immediately become reflective and grateful and hopeful about the year gone by and the year to come.

I’ve said it over and over how much my life has changed since the summer of 2012. New job. New relationship. New car. New home. New schools, activities and routines with the kids. New priorities. New goals. New focus. New attitude … No new friends, though. Read why.

As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, I am beyond grateful for all these things and the people who encourage and support me. I’m humbled by what faith and hard work can do — and a little bit anxious about what the future holds.

I’ll be working through the Thanksgiving holiday this year. I’m fortunate that I can login from home to do the things I need to do — but I’m not taking any real time off. And when I’m not doing work for work, I’ll be studying for my SPHR exam coming up in January … I’m not complaining, just sharing. I feel blessed in the busy-ness of my life. I’ve finally accepted and committed to thriving in this new pace. I’m thankful for that too.

Remember there are people out there who don’t get a break or work from home. Please be kind to them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Whatever your plans, be safe and enjoy yourself.

Check, Please … And Thank You!

I went to lunch alone for the first time in a while the other day. It is something that I enjoy doing from time to time because it gives me the opportunity to think through some things, make to-do lists and relax my mind.

It also gives me the opportunity to indulge in people-watching and eaves-dropping!

Which is exactly what I was doing when I overheard this …

“Three times!! Three times this week I found errors in his work. I mean, I know my job is to double-check his stuff — but how is it OK for him to just keep making mistakes like that.”

“Ridiculous. He calls himself a supervisor??”

“Exactly! And he doesn’t even apologize anymore. I give him back the forms with the errors flagged and all he says is ‘Thank you for catching that.’  Thank you?? Who says that??”

Admittedly, I don’t know anything about this woman, her co-worker or the company they work for. I kinda wanted to interject into the conversation to learn more, but I didn’t …

Thankfully, I have a blog where I can share these kinds of thoughts so I don’t have to go jumping in to all the random conversations I accidentally overhear while people-watching and eaves-dropping.

Work should always be structured with checks and balances in place to minimize the likelihood of errors. The one who collects money shouldn’t be the same one who counts it. The one who approves the invoices shouldn’t be the same one that pays it. The one who enters data shouldn’t be the same one who verifies all the information is correct. Even if you are an organization of 1 person, someone should always double-check your work — an auditor, an attorney, an advisor. Someone.

Checks and balances help maintain honesty and integrityin the process. It increases the chances errors and negative trends will be identified, corrected and reversed before things get out of control. Checks and balances are good and necessary.

People make mistakes and systems glitch. It happens. Sometimes more than once in a day, week and month. It doesn’t necessarily mean the person or system is careless or incompetent. It means the person or the system is fallible. And that should never come as a shock. We’re all fallible. Even with the best of intentions and focus, we make errors.

If the person designated to catch the error has the audacity to actually catch the error, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. And neither the one who made the error or the one who caught the error should hold a grudge about that. Each should thank the other for being there to catch the error and bring balance back to the process.

Now I don’t know if this co-worker was making an error 3 of 3 times or 3 of 3000 times. Certainly, if it is 3 of 3, this woman should be talking to someone other than her friend about this issue. We can’t allow other people’s errors to become a hindrance to our own work. We can’t allow people to use the check/balances as a crutch. It’s not ok to be inaccurate in your work just because you know someone else is there to catch you when you fall. That is an unacceptable failure of duty and someone should be notified.

However, if it is 3 of 30 … or 3 of 300 … or 3 of 3000 … I say “get over it” and move on to finding the next error wherever it may be.

Check? Please. And thank you!

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