My husband and I are preparing for an extended vacation and made a quick trip to the store to pick up a few things for the trip and a few basics for the remainder of the week we are here.
We were barely in the store when the call to prayer sounded. (Which means that for the next 30 minutes we are free to wander around the store, but we can’t receive any assistance from the staff or checkout.)
After gathering all that we needed we joined a group of families in a semi-circle around a produce weighing station, which was already surrounded and now three layers deep.
As a western woman, I still struggle to understand the rules of engagement in these settings. (Whatever you do -don’t look the men in the eye and don’t smile at them. And although the women may make brief eye contact and are gracious, they don’t always speak the same language.)
So as I looked for a place to focus, a little girl with enormous brown eyes and tiny pigtails spotted my husband and I. (She reminded me of Boo from Disney’s Monster’s Inc. movie.)
This is the third post in our series: What does HR Really Stand For: Human Resources or Human Remains?
As I thought through this series, I reached out Kevin Kennemer because I knew that he had both the passion and the data to make the case that Great Workplaces enjoy a significant competitive advantage over their competition. Kevin is a Great Workplace Advocate, and the founder of The People Group, a firm dedicated to transforming companies into winning workplaces. He works with CEO’s of small and medium sized businesses to create work environments built on trust, respect and dignity. Kevin holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management. This is what Kevin had to say:
Over a year ago I met with a group of people about an upcoming speaking engagement. As we discussed the focus of my presentation I said, “it’s about putting the Human back in Human Resources.”
Immediately one of the men in the group got really quiet and after a few minutes he said,
I have been in HR for several years, I’ve attended tons of seminars and I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about the HUMANS.
In the past few months as I’ve been publishing stories and lessons in an ongoing series about “The Real Housewives of Expat Men”, this subject has come up again.
The examples below are real and come from people employed with several different organizations.
- Organizations that notify their people of life-altering changes with a two-sentence email with no details and no timelines, let alone any discussion, questions or answers.
- Annual reviews that are delivered over a computer instead of by a live person, evaluating the recipient on objectives they were never told they had and leaving no opportunity for discussion.
- Bosses that make decisions about their employees lives, don’t communicate those decisions and when they are asked about them, then play the blame game pointing fingers at the titled leaders above them.
- Families that are days away from finishing their time overseas and have sold things, packed, said tearful goodbyes to friends, and have families at home excitedly waiting for them, that are notified two days before they are scheduled to leave that they won’t be going home now. And as each day goes by their expected departure date continues to change.
- HR never responding to emails or phone calls and then one day emailing the office and getting a response that says, “Today is my last day, I quit.”
- Companies that emphasize that their policy is to make sure that EVERY exiting employee receives a survey when they leave the company – no matter why they leave. However, when a boss fears the information an exiting employee will share, that survey is never given to the exiting employee even when they ask HR for it.
- HR admitting that the exit surveys that are received are rarely looked at or used to evaluate leadership and organizational development opportunities.
Those stories make my heart ache. So I reached out to friends with HR Backgrounds that are Consultants, and Leadership Experts and asked them three questions:
Chery went above and beyond for us and our students. Her presentation captivated our students and teachers. (While sharing personal experiences and current information about life in Saudi Arabia, she emphasized critical life skills. Which motivated them to consider the limits of their comfort zones, think critically, solve problems and recognize the humanity of others.) […]
We’re in the midst of waiting. Months and months of waiting…
- In September – We knew we were moving back across the ocean to the land we call home
- In October – The move was stopped and from morning to night and from day to day, what we were doing and when we were doing it changed, as things changed within the company
- In early November – we were moving again and it looked impossible not to be home for Christmas
- Then week after week and weekend after weekend – through Thanksgiving, and Christmas, our Anniversary and New Years we would do what we could do and then wait – on the company, the movers, the government and Harley Davidson
- 11 days ago – all of our household things were loaded into a container for overseas shipment
- 7 days ago – our motorcycle was crated and taken to our container
- It’s almost mid-January and we’re still waiting – for paperwork to clear so we can leave
The emotional roller coaster has been intense: