Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recession or Depression?

How is the economy treating your workplace these days?

Some of the report requests and projects we've been working on make me think there will be a lot of "depression" around here in the coming year.

It will be a very interesting annual review period this January. Increases may be very easy to calculate.

edit: more signs --not looking good folks. Ive got a major system update scheduled for 4th quarter. If that gets postponed or canceled, then it is time to clean out the desk (just in case---can't stand having to come back and pack up at another time)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy T-day everyone!

Best wishes for a happy holiday for all. We can all find something to be thankful for! (hopefully!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Need Some Suggestions

Granted, I am not the best communicator in the world. In fact, I'm rather terse and misanthropic so I would not be insulted if I'm not on our succession planning path for Communications Director or Manager.

I was asked to create a survey for our employees to rate our recent benefits changes/offerings. It is completely anonymous and they had two weeks to complete the survey. About 1.5 weeks into the survey they asked me to send out a reminder.

Here is what it read:
Reminder: Benefit survey.

If you have already completed the survey, thank you for your feedback. There is no need to reply or take further action. The results will be shared by the VP of Benefits in the next newsletter.

However, if you have not completed the survey, please follow the link below and complete it.

Within a few moments of sending it out, I get multiple replies/phone calls to the effect of:


My boss gets phone calls asking similar questions, some border on hostile.

So apparently, I wasn't clear with my reminder. Any suggestions of how to word my email differently? I have a few, but my much nicer and wiser boss won't let me put them in.

I have several new entries for "THE LIST"

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's July already?!

Ah, tropical heat, mosquitoes, and good ol' mid year reviews.

Im really liking survey monkey these days. It has more than paid for itself in quick mid year 360 surveys that department heads want to do because, well, the other department head did one!!

One of the first things we ask is "What are you planning to do with the results?" The response is usually another sound of the summer. "cricket" "cricket"

Most of the supervisors requesting that we adminster a 360 survey about one of their direct reports want it for gossip and juicy comments. (That is until we suggest that one should be done on them by their peer group!)

I just wish our hosted performance management was as easy to use as surveymonkey. It used to be one of the best places to deal with--call them up with a request and they responded fast and accurate. Then they were bought out. Then they outsourced their support to India. Now when we call our support rep we get a soft talker whose command of the English language is not exactly impressive. I never know if our issue is going to be solved or Ive just agreed to wear a puffy shirt.

I wouldn't look too good in a puffy shirt.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Adding a data field to the end of an existing interface file

1. Competent in-house programmer - 30 min $50.00

2. Outsourced hosting center - 6 weeks; $3,500

3. The look on Sr Management's face when they see their "outsourced savings" - Priceless

Monday, May 5, 2008

Nothing in = Nothing out

Here's a little tidbit for those of you who have to deal with us evil HRIS types:

If you screwed up your entry on self service, (or didn't bother doing it) it is not our fault.

There are many things that may be our fault, but your belief that thinking about a change actually makes it happen or terminating the wrong employee is not one of them.

There is no HRIS system that I am aware of that will change records from brain wave input transmitted across the ether.

So if you get a report with something that doesn't reflect the self service change that you didn't make, please don't give the HRIS team a ration of expletive deleted before bothering to find out all the facts. (or worse, go whining to the VPHR about how HRIS is incompetent and careless)

The first thing that I will do is to make you look foolish.
The second thing I will do is to put you on THE LIST.

What is THE LIST?

It's an unpublished list of annoying users that will be shared amongst the HRIS team (and sympathetic HR dwellers*).

Membership in this exclusive club will entitle you to the following:

Exactly what you ask for. I mean EXACTLY.

Automatic placement on the bottom of the priority list for non-urgent requests. (non-urgent meaning not specifically granted urgent status by VPHR, SrVPHR or higher)

Poked with soft cushions (no, not really, but I had to pad out the list with something)

*i.e. those HR dwellers that are not on THE LIST. Unfortunately, there are a few. (ironically most from employee relations)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Been a while

since my last post---I've been impressed into service with my local little league as a tball coach so my limited free time has been more limited. (somewhat ironic since I have almost no interest in sports--I do like baseball, but haven't watched a game since the 1986 Mets won the world series)

One thing I have noticed about herding a yammering gaggle of 5 year olds is that it is not much different than dealing with my much older (i.e. physically) user population.

Except for one thing---these wee lads are a heck of a lot more fun* and much more amusing.

*unlike performance appraisals

Monday, April 7, 2008

Some good observations

Over at HRagitator about HRIS and ERP. I'll have more to say on this when I have a chance.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's a GOAL!!!!

Yep, it's that time of the year round these parts---setting your goals for the next fiscal year!
We have to set some goals and send to Sr Management for approval.

Any guidelines? nope

Any detailed dept/company goals to align too? nope.

Am I confused or should goal setting flow down from Sr management instead of the other way?

I have one goal in life: Get out of bed in the morning, the rest is incidental.

Anyway, I think Ill submit this to them

funny pictures
see more crazy cat pics

My primary philosophy for goal setting is:

Avoid anything that requires someone else to get something done in order for you to get your goal completed. If that cat has to wait for another department (or outsourced vendor) to do something first, he/she is out of luck!

Monday, March 10, 2008

You Call it Corn... I call it BOA009.csv

On an average day, we send out/update or monitor interfaces (manual or automated) that can number 10 - 50+ depending on the schedule, requests, outsourced host failures etc.

Am I intimately familiar with each one?
Actually, Yes.

Am I intimately familiar with what each user does with it?
Thankfully, No.

What you do with the provided data is your business. If you modify it, eat it, build a shrine to it, gather your co-workers and collectively mock it, more power to you.

However, (assuming it meets the specs) once it is your possession and you modify it, EHRIS guy does not warranty its fitness for use, nor will provide any support for it.

This includes referring to the file by anything other than the name that EHRIS christened it with.

So if you get a spreadsheet called Throatwarbler_Mangrove.xls and you decide to rename it Luxury_Yacht.xls, don't call me asking why your Luxury_Yacht report doesn't look right.

You can ask me about the Throatwarbler_Mangrove file that your boss Ms. Mazola received before she modified it and renamed Luxury_yacht, but asking me with self-righteous indignation about a modified file and getting bent out of shape when I ask you to identify the original will just relegate you to the infamous EHRISguy "list".

What is the "list"? I'll leave that for another blog (or perhaps for your imagination?)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two Orders of Magnitude.

Here's a neat little tool for your HR surveys.


For approximately 200 bucks a year you can design your own surveys and it does a decent job of collecting, analyzing and providing data. Even EHRIS guy was able to sell this to my penurious management.

I designed a quick 360 feedback that our department heads wanted and had it ready in a day (the wait for "executive final approval" could take weeks, but at least my part is done. ).

Our outsourced provider of eval software gave us a quote of 20,000 to do essentially the same process, but with less flexibility and restricted access to data for further analysis..

Beware the groupthink that says outsourcing always saves money.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Please Try to Understand This Before One of us DIES

I just went through the last three days explaining the same thing about our eval system to the same person at least 15 times. This person is an officer and should know better, but apparently, power and authority results in brain damage so I guess we should grant her some slack.

In consideration of the ADA I did not say to her "please try to understand this before one of us dies"*.
Instead I explained it yet again and then participated in some team building group mocking exercises with some HR coworkers.

I did actually get to use this phrase at a previous job (along with "I could spend the rest of my life having this conversation". )

So the outsourced payroll service we used had a minor snafu which messed up some of the fields in the payroll data. Everyone was paid correctly and on time (whew).
However, some reports which use those fields were not quite correct.
Normally, I wouldn't have cared or even noticed since we had a payroll department to handle such things, but one department head insisted on getting this payroll information from HR.
We ran and sent these reports for the monthly pay period and I get the inevitable email.
To Evil,
Please review the payroll information on this report1, it seems to be missing information.
From Evil
Can you give me an example what is missing, I do not process the payroll and the info looks pretty similar to previous reports so I wouldnt know what to look for.
Is it possible that there was an issue with payroll?
To Evil,Who would I check with?
From Evil,
I would start with payroll, they are the experts. Ive copied them on this reply and perhaps they can assist.
From Payroll to all,
There was an issue with the dates on the last check run, and it should even out on the next month's run. The individual checks were ok, but some accumulators will be off, the next months run will have the correct ytd totals
To Evil
What can you do about this.
From Evil
Run it again next month with the updated totals
To Evil
Ok thanks.
the next day
To EvilPlease review report2, some of the numbers do not seem right.
From Evil
See attached message from PAYROLL that was sent to us yesterday
To Evil
Ok, Thanks.
Day 3
To Evil
There seems to be an issue with the reports we have been getting for several months, these employees are missing from the reports
Evil checks back several months
From Evil
Hi, Ive attached excerpts from the reports going back a few months, as you can see, that cost center with the employees is on there, but I would not consider recent reports because of the problem with the payroll files.
To Evil
As you can see from the last report, that cost center is not on there!!!!!!!
Evil leaves his office and pays a visit; brings a printout of the definition of "recent" and some choice quotes.

The next month's run brought other issues, but my VP told our dept to "ignore the f'ng idiot and refer him to me from now on" (I miss that VP) Actually, I miss that entire company, but it's resting in pieces and that is another tale.

*an official evilHRISguy pat on the back to anyone who can identify the source of that phrase without google.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy New Year

Yeah, well, it is halfway through the month already, but it's the first post of the year for me.

It's performance evaluation time woohoo!!! Not only do I get to do my self-eval, I get to vet the supervisor evals for statements like:

"She's young yet, so she'll get better with time" (I didnt know we had a wine cellar!)

"Fred is a very concientious (sic) employee and works off the clock all the time!" Hello wage and hour audit!

Why is the EHRIS guy reading evals? Well, since we have a web based performance eval system*, management has decided that HRIS "owns" it, but then again, we get involved in compensation, benefit /design analysis and even get hit up to do training (had to decline the training gig---last thing any reasonable person wants is to have EvilHRISguy training anyone---just ask my wife about how much of my training she has to undo with the offspring).

However, it does keep us busy and when the inevitable layoff hits when senior management wants a stock/bonus bump, we'll have a better resume for it. (not to mention the entertaining eval reading)

Well, back to telling my superiors just how great I am. Self praise may stink, but not when it comes to writing your self-eval.

*Some performance eval systems will do some language checking, but ours does not.