Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Festivus to everyone

or whatever holiday you may celebrate. I'm more of a "Ill celebrate anything where I can cook and eat" kind of guy no matter what a holiday might or might not signify. The only catch is that if I have to include my inlaws, there must be enormous quantities of high proof adult beverages on hand so I can self medicate and not go all Dr House on them. (The only time I drink them)

On a lighter note.

EvilHrLady has a funny post regarding inane questions here.

Since it is near year end and a time where many people like to look at "best of" lists I would like to take this opportunity to nominate my most inane/dumb$$$ question of the year

There are many inane questions, but this wins in terms of inanity and frequency.
It has many variations, but this is one example of

Can you provide an answer based on... nothing?

Regional Branch Mgr: Umm, the branch mgr in the Tulsa office left and I want to call a guy I had work for me in my area a few years ago and see if he might want to come back

ok, what is his name?

Mgr:John something?

are you asking me?

Mgr:, I think it was John, or Jack.

Was he in the Tulsa branch?

Mgr: I don't think so, but he was around that area.

When did he leave?

Mgr: a few years ago

Ok, Ill look for a John that worked somewhere in the Tulsa area a few years ago. Ill get back to you on that, in the meantime, see if you can find a file number or a name.

Mgr: ok, let me know if he is rehireable.

Will do, oh, it may take a while so don't wait by the phone.

(I had thought of telling him to wait by the phone, but sarcastic understatement won over evil)

Well, In-laws over for Xmas so off to do some "food" shopping

A Merry Xmas and happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

HRIS applicant questions

Evil HR Lady forwarded me a question put to her by an HRIS manager regarding some advice on questions for HRIS applicants. Thanks for the reference EHRL!

..I am an HRIS Manager (with a tech background) and need some advice on excellent HRIS questions for possible applicants...

Ok HRIS manager, I will try to answer your question with as little evil as possible (my coworkers gladly throw resumes at me to opine on anyone who claims to have HR technical skills, but rarely subject them to my interrogations er.. questions)

Here are 5 basic areas that I would touch on(and have been "subjected to")

1) Besides HRIS/technical experience How much functional HR experience do you have and in what areas?

The past few interviews I have had were more concerned about how much HR knowledge I had and less interested in how technical I am or am not. To quote one HRVP "I can get a dozen techies in here tomorrow, but none of them will have a clue about HR" My compensation and benefits background really helped me in this situation. "Great! someone I don't have to explain what a compa ratio means"

2) I would ask about implementation/upgrade experience--how many systems/types; what role did you have etc/how customized was the implementation

Even if you do not intend to implement a new system, you will be upgrading the one you have. A major upgrade it can be as demanding as a new implementation especially if you have complex custom processes . If the choice were between an applicant who was versed in my current system, but no implementation exp vs someone who implemented any HRIS system, I would lean towards the implementation background.

3) Give me some examples of how you provided excellent customer service.

Yep, as you know, HRIS is a service organization---and even if you are evil, you still need to be professional and make the customer think you are not evil.

4) Have you any experience with outsourcing, or dealing with a SaaS vendor?

Chances are your senior management is going to read a trade rag or buy into the groupthink that outsourcing saves money at all costs and you are going to have to deal with outsourcing. If you have, tell me about it and how you would deal with a vendor with poor support?

5) On a scale of 1-10 rate how technical you are---with 1 being "what's a computer?" to 10 being I wrote my own operating system because Vista was a memory hog.

You want a 5. This can be fun---get a partner in IT (or do it yourself if you have a tech background) and get a feel for how really technical they are. I remember one interview where the IT director came in and asked me some basic questions about SQL; database keys; effective dated tables and the issues involved in querying data tables; inner joins vs outer joins etc.

Oh, I was offered the job(s) in my examples above, but didn't take them for work/life balance reasons. (didn't want the commute, nor the travel)

Anyone other suggestions (I'm tempted to throw in "how long have you hated Payroll", but that's a given)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why I Shop at Best Buy

Yeah, Ill be there on Monday , by the way, can I have the key to the stockroom?

At least the ones who do come back should be reinstated, (assuming they offer any benefits/vacation etc) to have the service time count for anything.

There would be a few queries I would set up right now---look at the % of hosed people who actually did come back and then an analysis of shrink numbers before and after.

Im guessing that the good ones are already working and the ones that you do get back, you probably do not want.

Maybe Jim Collins can write a sequel---Good to Great to Laughable?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Best Business Blog award

Go vote for Evil HR Lady here
Then vote again tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


EvilHRLady has a great follow up post to comments on 8 hours &lunch and HR Capitalist about overly family friendly workplaces.

She touches on one of my favorite topics---Choices and consequences. Every choice has some sort of consequence even if it is simply the "loss" of the road not taken. (Opportunity cost in economic jargon?)

Every day I say to the young offspring. "You are making your choice right now!"

They are beginning to get it---they choose to keep doing what they are doing at the moment (tormenting a sibling, jumping on the bed) and they will suffer the consequences. (cue evil laughter) It is usually enough to deter them.

Now I only wish that I could imbue the same conditioning in some decision makers who decide that simply choosing to change a policy or process in a vacuum can have some interesting consequences on an existing system.

"Ive decided to change the sick policy, we are changing the policy from an hours per hour accrual to an accrual that will accrue based on the lunar cycle and display in roman numerals!"

"You realize that it will take a wee bit of customization to do that, and since you chose to outsource all your system hosting and development it will probably take a few months to implement, test and put into production. Not to mention it will cost about 100K."

"Well, we've already published the policy"

"Good luck with that"

I wonder if a wooden spoon would work for them too?

Here's a bad choice in progress---I suppose overconfidence can lead to all sorts of interesting consequences.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I was at a local Starbucks ordering a large regular coffee. I may have confused the barista: a non-complicated order and I was not on a cell phone while I ordered (don't own one).

I may be evil, with numerous flaws (my wife will corroborate), but rudeness* and self-importance are not among them.

Anyway, after I paid, the barista handed me the receipt with information on completing a customer service survey.

I like surveys.

I like designing them, I like reading them, I like completing them, and I even like analyzing them.

What I do not like is when well-meaning, but clueless management types decide to “do a survey” and do not consider what they are going to do with it once they get the results.

In the rare case they do ask me before they have written them and sent them out, my first question is: What type of reports/analysis are you looking to see once you get the results.
Yep, that’s right, think about the final process first.

You know you are in trouble when you get a stack of returned surveys with all free form questions like. (yep, its happened more than once at more than one place)

Tell us how you like working for PEBKAC Corporation? ________________________

What do you think we could improve at PEBKAC Corporation?____________________

Instead of
I like working for PEBKAC Corporation: strongly disagree, agree, strongly agree, ambivalent

Then the next question, “When can we get an analysis of this?”

Define analysis---- Your only option is to get a list of the answers. We can sort it by question though.

Well, off to complete my Starbucks survey. There is a chance at a cash prize, but the price is supplying personal information on “where to send it”. Sorry, but you will have to buy that outright!

*Note to any potential HRIS converts---you really can't be rude as an HRIS person; never forget that you are a customer service provider. Therefore, one of your core competencies will be to master the art of passive-aggression.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still here

My posting frequency is not what I was hoping, but we have been acquired and Ive been busy with the assimilation. (resistance is futile).

Hey, who knows, I soon might have PLENTY of time to post. (and play with the kids all day--- that doesn't sound so bad until they actually want to eat and have a place to live. Demanding little urchins eh?)

One of our SaS providers also was acquired so now I get to play "educate the account rep of the week" on how their own system works for us.

Nothing is more fun than telling someone how our setup works on their service and then having to do it again in a week or three when a different developer or whoever is assigned. (then again, it is job security!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fight or Flight

I apreciate the insight into HRIS / HRMS implementation. ....I would like to add my perspective to this.We have a Human Capital Management Software product - Adrenalin

Ok, your pespective is a sales pitch, but I can accept that---sales/marketing people have to make a living too, and they provide quite the entertainment for my EVIL questions when making me sit through a presentation or demo.

I sat through a 4 hour demo today and since I was in a good mood so I didn't draw too much blood, However, they did leave with their usual list of "Ill get back to you on that". Try bringing a tech person with you next time, (although I know why you don't)

My current favorite question: You've shown me quite an impressive array of features and eye candy, what are the biggest complaints you get from your users about what it can't do?

I am somewhat intrigued by the name of the product----Im not quite sure if a stress inducing hormone is the best choice, but then again, it does have the ring of truth about HRIS products.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The inevitable (but my second favorite topic) what kind of HRIS?

Although I am not an HRIS person, but as luck would have it my company is going through the motions of selecting an HRIS. The funny part is I am the person who is going to be on the implementation team from the HR side and I am very seriously thinking of moving into the HRIS side, since I also love technology and playing with new gizmos. What are your thoughts on different HRIS systems available in the market for a small (200-300 employees) company?

First, sorry for not addressing this sooner (Ill go into more detail in your email), but things have been busier than even I might like (and I don't like it when Im not overly busy--too boring). Second take a long introspective look and see if you have the evil antisocial soul that is such a core competency for HRIS. (I transitioned from finance so merciless evil was no big deal)

Quick answer:
My experience with HRMS/payroll implementations is for 10,000+ employees. It is the realm of the big players like Peoplesoft; ADP enterprise/peoplesoft; SAS; etc. Choosing from them is really a process of "who is going to charge me the least for the most features on my RFP and "what salesman lied the best to my senior management"

The smaller market for HRIS/payroll is out of my direct experience, but the same should apply.

Do you have an RFP? My last employer thought they were a waste and is still probably paying for that mistake. If not, do one, or get someone who does it for a living to do it for you (my recommendation).

Do you intend to own in house or asp? In-house is my preference, but for smaller employee populations, outsourcing may be the way to go since you may not have the IT infrastructure.
However, if you forsee many customizations or expansions, your cost savings can evaporate rather quickly.

Any other readers have any experiences with the smaller market?

It would be kind of neat to do HRIS for a small population (especially if all located in single state*), but then again, do many small operations actually have dedicated HRIS?

*California excepted

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Darkside of HR

I received a thank you note from an HR colleague for contributing towards a gift or some other thing I must have done in one of my less sinister moments.

I normally toss such things directly to the recycle bin, but considering the fact that I actually like this person (yet another weakness) I read it.

This quote caught my attention:

"I really look forward to the times when I work with you and the darkside of HR. "

I have some thoughts on why HRIS might be considered the darkside (other than my sarcastic tendencies giving it a bad name), but that's another post.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Aren't we all? :)

However, several projects have landed on my lap and being that time of year, our painfully low headcount in HRIS is even lower.

I'll try to post a bit more frequently, but it may be a week or four.

Coming soon---my favorite topic: turnover calcs and the people who misunderstand and misuse them.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A few HRIS axioms/observations

1) We provide what you "request", this is not necessarily what you "want"

2) We do not know what you want if you do not know what you want.

3) Explaining the purpose/reason behind your request can reduce the number of times you have to refine it. We are not being nosy when we ask "what are you going to use this for?" (well, maybe sometimes!)

4) Yes, we have access to everything, and No, you cannot have access to everything

5) I do not know what your password is, and Yes, I can reset it as many times as is needed for you to pick one that you remember

6) A large data file transfer over a slow connection will not process faster if you call and ask about it every 5 minutes.

7) The system does not change design limitations because you wish it so, getting angry at us and calling us "negative" will not change that fact.

8) Yes we are in the HR departement, but no, we probably are not familiar with your workers comp issue or if a decision has been made on your hire application.

9) Our tinfoil mind reading hats do not work, so the special deals made by the hiring manager will not be reflected in the system if they do not tell us.

10) We are NOT payroll.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

When Outsourcing Turns on You

A former co-worker now retired on the NJ coast who knows how much I just LOVE the idea of outsourcing your HRIS and payroll forwarded this to me.

Looks like many businesses are going to be writing big checks to the IRS. (and if I remember from my previous life at the IRS, those employees are still on the hook for their own payroll taxes).

True, it is a rare case, and even I realize the advantage of small business outsourcing admin functions, but she also knows that I'll eat up any outsourcing news that feeds my irrational bias. (more on that later)

As an anonymous Wall Street IT manager once said :

"The people who love outsourcing the most are the people who don't have to deal with it"

Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh no, we missed Nevada?

Minimum wages

It can be quite a challenge to keep up with the myriad of state minimum wage changes if you have low wage earners in multiple states.

There does not seem to be any simple way of finding an up to date list of states that are changing and when they are scheduled to implement the new wage.

I have been using
Wikipedia and google news, but some still slip through (and there are those that have COLA adjustments that:

1) you have to remember to look up and

2) hopefully publish the information early enough that you can adjust the system in time.

Federal change is in a few weeks, but that is an easy one. (except for compression issues for slightly higher earners, but that's another blog)

Friday, July 6, 2007


Actually, my main job at the moment is "Daddy", but when Im not doing that, Im experiencing the wonderful exciting world of HRIS.

I now enter the blogosphere.

Im fairly new to the blog world so bear with me as I figure this stuff out.

I noticed that there are a lot of HR blogs out there with great information, but not many focused on the system side of HR.

About me---I am essentially a boring person who wishes to remain anonymous in the cyberworld, however I do like to discuss HRIS issues/comments/complaints etc

If you have specific HR system questions fire away and Ill do my best. I am no programmer or coding expert so I cannot tell you what is wrong with your SQR or C++ routine

However, if you ask me "What HRIS system should I get?"---be prepared to discuss!

For general HR questions, I would suggest the Evilhrlady (Yes, her excellent site is the inspiration of this one, and no, I do not personally know her and no, she does not know me).

I am truly evil though