Wednesday, October 24, 2012

HR Is Never Linear

I had a shocking realization last week. Once it happened, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I think it may alter the course of my entire life. Okay, maybe not that last part. But still, it was a whack to my head with the reality stick.

Process Flow is the Way to Go
Oh my gosh did I believe this to be true! My team has spent months mapping out, correcting, and streamlining our internal processes. They’ve embraced the challenge of modernizing a "personnel" system into a well-running human resources machine…and they’ve done a terrific job.

But last week I learned something that lays over the top of our best processes.

Humans Are Awesome, I Think
My epiphany came during a discussion with one of my colleagues who was expressing frustration that one of our searches was moving along in a haphazard fashion. We had some of the pieces in place, but for some reason we weren’t following a nice orderly process.

Eureka! Hello reality!

When was the last time an issue that involved human beings followed an orderly process? Answer -> NEVER! Welcome to the world of HR. It’s no wonder our management teams never quite understand what we do. We’re the ones dealing with people exclusively, while they have the structure and protocol of month end financials, computer programming, supply processes, sales orders and many other routine systems to follow. (I know they all don't go smoothly, but you get the point.)

How About You
We do not have the luxury of always following a neat and tidy process for every issue that pops up. We have to deal with the human component 100% of the time and that makes it different, every time.

As for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit


  1. I am a big process guy and life would be so much easier if we could do everything according to a process...alas, that will never happen, but at least I can dream!

  2. As Dr. Demming would say, people don't fail. Processes allow them to. One of the keys to a great HR process, I think, is to have a system in place that allows flexibility to account for the human factor. For TA, there are milestones that have to be hit (job rec, posting, interviews, offer, onboard), but aside from that you have to allow room for creativity and innovation to get the most out of your team.

    Unless, of course...........ROBOTS.

    1. Totally agree Dwane...finding the right mix of system flexibility, creativity and innovation is the tough part!