Let's talk about some of HR people's favorite things: rules.
HR gets a bad rap for being the policy police, and sometimes rightfully so. Why do we love rules so much? Does it make us feel safe at night? Does it make us feel like we're actually doing something?
Some rules are just plain stupid. Let's talk about some stupid rules.
In Colorado for instance, you are not allowed to catapult anything, you are allowed to own a catapult, but you better not try to discharge it. Also flaming arrows are illegal.
In Connecticut, pickles must bounce by rule of law. You cannot sell a pickle unless it bounces. Connecticut's Food and Drug Commissioner proclaimed that a real pickle "should bounce" when dropped from the height of one foot, which is state law.
Part of the joy of human resources is dealing with situations where somebody thinks that a rule should be put into place. Whether that's a rule related to attendance, a rule related to cell phone, or a rule related to a pickle.
My guidance here is that rules are important sometimes, but we should actively search out stupid rules. We should make every effort to get rid of them at all costs.
One of my favorite tactics when somebody comes to me and says we have to have a policy for this, we need a rule for that. If I don't have a clear cut policy with 17 different steps, and a flowchart that describes exactly what we're doing and every scenario within the situation, my favorite response is: "I would be happy to look into creating a policy for you. But what policy Are we going to get rid of because I'm not adding any more policies into our handbook."
A handbook in itself can be relatively archaic and complex thing. How many people actually take the time during orientation, to allow people to read through an entire Handbook, fully understand, and then sign that Acknowledgement Form at the end of it. It just doesn't happen. If it does happen, that sounds like a terrible orientation experience.
The goal should not be to make more rules or apply more bureaucracy to systems.
Human Resources should be focused on building culture and building systems and structures that build trust. We should allow people to understand that they should not be setting off catapults at work.
As we all know, they should be able to drop a pickle from a one foot height and have it bounce.
That's almost as silly as the sixth iteration of the attendance policy that still did not work.
I'm the Vice President - Human Resources for CPM Holdings, Inc. In this role, I oversees the aspects of Human Resources for 27 domestic and international locations in 11 countries. I've previously held progressive HR roles for Fortune 500 organizations.