YourForce: HR, a Love Letter

By Mike Prokopeak

Jan. 24, 2016

I like that HR is full of contradictions. The work can be frivolous and serious. Even though what you do is mission-critical, you remain game for almost anything. Being party-planner in chief is more fun than party-pooper in chief.

I like that HR is a big softy. The best human resources leaders are sharp, data-driven and willing to make tough decisions. But they do it with compassion and understanding.

I like that business leaders are first to gripe about HR but also first to knock when they have a problem. Somehow, HR manages to be both underappreciated and vital.

I like that HR proudly owns its stereotypes but isn’t confined by them. As business moves faster, so does HR, making and enforcing rules but also breaking them when it’s needed.

HR, will you be my Valentine?



Benefits administration technology company Businessolver Inc. decided to do things a little differently at the HR Tech Conference & Exposition in October. Instead of spending money on giveaways, it took a charitable approach, donating $5 on behalf of each attendee that helped complete the life-size Lite-Brite wall. As a result, the company raised $2,000 for Habitat for Humanity and re-created a Vincent van Gogh masterpiece.



Regarding columnist Jon Hyman’s blog post “Wage-and-Hour Issues Continue to Confound Employers, With More Looming,” reader Sue Dickerson commented:

If employers don’t know what they are doing when it comes to paying employees correctly, then they have hired the wrong individuals who oversee this process for them! I have been in HR for over 20 years, and the laws are not too complex for an HR professional to understand. However, many employers voluntarily choose to ignore them, and pay a penalty if they get caught rather than pay the employee. If that’s not stealing, then I don’t know what is.

The online story “Time-Off Policies: Leave Well Enough Alone or Go PTO?” elicited this comment from reader Philip Hamm:

PTO encourages employees to come to work sick and spread the flu or whatever they have to the other employees in the office.

Several readers discussed Jon Hyman’s post “More on Marijuana and Off-Duty Conduct Laws.” Hawk_82nd Abn said:

Jon Hyman writes, “It appears that Ohio’s proposed off-duty conduct law is a whole lot worse for employers.” I’m sorry, but why is it worse for employers? If I follow your reasoning, you’re saying it’s worse because it prohibits them from taking adverse action against a person who “exercised a constitutional or statutory right.” Drats. Foiled by that pesky Constitution and those darn laws!

While Mark added: Would you want someone who exercised their “constitutional rights” to get high to come to work the next day to drive a school bus, operate dangerous equipment or do your Lasik surgery? You put his “right” to get high over your and society’s safety? Let alone the employer’s liability (and all the affected former employees he lays off when he gets sued and goes bankrupt). All so Johnny can have a doobie with no accountability? Wake up, Amurica.

And Donjo concluded: How is an employer to tell if the positive test was from off-duty or on-duty anyway? Is testing that specific? Not that I’m aware of, so they would not even be able to differentiate when the use occurred which makes this O-HI-O bill even worse.

The online story titled “Social Employees: An Untapped Recruiting Engine,” drew this comment from Vinay Johar:

HR personnel? Celebrity endorsers? No. Employees are the ones most qualified and trusted by outsiders to give information about their company’s culture. Add the all-encompassing power of social media, and you have a foolproof recruitment machine! This strategy has to work; as long as companies take care of their current employees, they can keep attracting talent fairly easily.

Mike Prokopeak is Workforce’s editor in chief.

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