You know how they say behind every successful person is their supportive significant other?
Well, behind every seasoned HR professional is about a dozen ridiculous stories that most people would not believe actually happened in the workplace.
Treat yourself to a few of those horror stories below contributed by our friends in HR…
Office Bathroom OMG
I worked in an office where the Receptionist’s desk was in between the men’s rest room and the ladies’ rest room.
For unknown reasons, the Receptionist was relieving herself in both restrooms with no rhyme or reason. She would, as expected, go into the ladies’ room and close the door. But then would sometimes use the men’s room, even when both were available!
I guess when she used the ladies’ room other people could see her walking over, but when she went into the men’s room in the other direction she could sneak by so no one would see her. The problem with that was, male employees would walk past her empty desk and approach the men’s room only to hear the telltale sign that the single toilet was occupied.
They could see in enough to know it was her but luckily they all managed to walk away quickly to avoid an awkward situation. By the way, this was before any gender bathroom issues were prevalent and, for what it’s worth, she was an extremely feminine girl.
Now imagine trying to have this conversation with an employee, “Everyone has been noticing that you sneak into the men’s room, and they can actually see you while you’re in there…”
Luckily, business needs allowed me to avoid questioning this bizarre behavior. I was able to hire an Office Manager to supervise her and that prompted the Receptionist to resign.
But the mystery remains unsolved!
Employees Behaving Badly
I had an assistant once who, putting it lightly, had poor writing skills and was not completing her work.
She delivered her daily assignments in an empty folder labelled “Melissa Stuff’s.”
I would ask her to pull an employee file and she would email me back immediately, “File does not igsist,” without even getting up to look for it (I had a direct view of her desk).
I’d look myself and of course, it did exist!
I wanted to document these errors as part of her performance measurement, so our IT department blind copied me on all of her company emails.
She was not aware that I saw every email she sent, including emails insulting me. My personal favorite was filled with irony,
“Melissa is so dam dum.”
Needless to say, I wasn’t the dumb one and her employment ended.
HR 101: Align With Company Goals
I worked with a very junior HR/payroll person who didn’t seem to understand that the company pays into state unemployment and we never wanted to be charged unnecessarily.
A few cases came up where I felt the state had determined eligibility against our company’s favor so I started to look deeper.
Turns out he would participate in Claims Examiner interviews in a manner that was advocating for the former employee to receive unemployment benefits.
We reviewed some HR 101 – a successful HR department is one aligned with the company’s goals!
A decision was made by the CEO, myself, and the Department Manager to terminate an employee.
The Department Manager seemed to be completely onboard with the decision. The two of us went to carry it out together. I advised the employee that today would be her last day and the employee became combative.
I was fully prepared to explain there would be no negotiation and escort the employee from the building.
But instead, the Department Manager started to cry!
She cried and blurted out apologies and sympathies. The Manager insisted on going back to speak to the CEO to rescind the termination.
I attempted damage control by trying to carry out our original decision to terminate, but it was impossible with the employee’s manager begging me not to.
We had to go back to the CEO and re-strategize. We ended up downgrading the termination to a suspension and the Manager was demoted.
This huge fail still haunts me!
Want to avoid these horrors at your company?
Free yourself of the burden and responsibilities associated with the process of HR so you can focus on the strategic side.