Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I Fought HR, and HR Won

Human Resources are the Vogons of the workplace world; in Douglas Adams' words, "not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous."

So it's really saying something when I mention how desperately my former employer needs an HR department. Lacking any kind of oversight, the Dentrassi in senior management have gone completely wild, and the whole company's devolved into sort of a Lord of the Flies situation.

Yesterday, one of my two new-hire cohorts and I had to retake the Cultural Diversity portion of New Employee Orientation because, according to HR, we failed to sign the roster for that session when we took it in February. There was a separate roster to sign for each session, seven in all; so it wouldn't have been too surprising if one of us had missed it; but both? My cohort was certain that he signed everything, and assured me that I signed everything that he did.

Our boss asked if we really needed to attend this session again and received a slightly snotty reply from the training facilitator. "I'm sorry," she wrote, "but we did make it clear at the beginning of the training that there would be seven rosters for them to sign. They can sit in on the next session to receive credit."

We sent out emails to two people we remembered from our class. One was a lady who kept trying to participate and answer questions, but wasn't quite tech-savvy enough to figure out you have to unmute the room's system before your microphone button will work. Every time she tried to answer a question, the camera would zoom over to her, and you'd see her there glowering, moving her lips at her silent microphone.

I kept picturing her trying to answer our email, pushing the wrong buttons and getting frustrated. But maybe that's uncharitable. She works in the Internet division of IT, by the way.

So we sat, once more, through the session on why it's important to accept and appreciate diversity in the workplace, including an enlightening short film entitled "Diversity Diner." I laughed when the facilitator announced it.

"Elizabeth is laughing," she said, smiling, to our classroom and all the remote offices participating by videoconference. "Why are you laughing?"

"I'm laughing with joy that I get to see this movie again," I said.

When we got back to our desks, I'd received a reply email from the other person we remembered in our class, a guy who works in IT. "Thanks for contacting me," he wrote. "I'm SURE I remember signing that roster, but they have me as a no-show too. I thought I was going crazy."

I'm thinking they just lost the roster for that session. It'd be nice if they admitted they had done so and apologetically informed the participants that they'd have to retake it in order to fulfill the Federal requirement for this training, rather than implying that we're stupid twits who can't even figure out how to sign a piece of paper.

Silly me. Vogons never apologize!

1 Comments:

At March 22, 2006 8:16 AM, Anonymous Omar said...

We sent out emails to two people we remembered from our class. One was a lady who kept trying to participate and answer questions, but wasn't quite tech-savvy enough to figure out you have to unmute the room's system before your microphone button will work. Every time she tried to answer a question, the camera would zoom over to her, and you'd see her there glowering, moving her lips at her silent microphone.


...possibly one of the funniest paragraphs i have ever read!

 

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