University Business - December 2008 - (Page 23)

HUMAN RESOURCES How to Make HR Happy This Holiday Season Wish lists of college and university human resources directors By Carol Patton W hether you believe in Santa Claus, Jesus, or someone else with spiritual clout, this is the season when many people create their wish list for the holidays. Recently I began wondering what kinds of things would be on the wish lists of HR professionals. What would help them like their job better? A designated parking space next to their corner office? Employees who never complain, sue, or quit? A remote office in Maui? I decided to ask HR professionals at colleges and universities around the country to share what they truly want— all the stuff they dream about or even drool over that would make their jobs more fun. H.R. Faculty and staff who understand HR jargon is one wish from the HR director at the College of Notre Dame. tiring. But she does get invited to happy hour, which is a good start. The remaining wishes on her list include a silent phone for just one day, faculty and staff who understand HR jargon—everything from FMLA and STD to OE—time sheets turned in on time, every time, and the ability to make work friends who don’t have ulterior motives. “I always wonder if they just want to be my friend to find out all the good stuff that’s going on,” she says. “Will they still be my friend after they find out I won’t tell them stuff?” That’s obviously an ethical issue that HR professionals face every day. Since Boyer is not the kind to kiss and tell, her request is legitimate. Can her work friends still like her in the morning? As the vice president of HR at austin Community College district (Texas), Gerry Tucker would be happy to have a full-time crew dedicated to kitchen duty Friends and a Green Wall Suzanne Boyer wants employees to continue their conversations when she walks into the room. As director of HR at the College of notre dame in Baltimore, she says conversations abruptly stop the moment she walks through the door. Since Boyer doesn’t have cooties, there could only be one reason for this strange behavior: co-workers believe she’s some sort of institutional spy. Boyer explains, “Conversations stop cold [even though] I may be coming by to just say, ‘Hi, have a great weekend,’ or to invite them to lunch.” Worse yet, she says nobody tells her any dirt. Like most people, she enjoys hearing harmless gossip, such as who is dating whom, who bought a new house or car, or maybe who’s planning on in the employee break room. These individuals would be responsible for keeping the area clean and performing the one job everybody everywhere hates doing— cleaning out the fridge. Maybe if she was extra good this year, she could also request that they possess culinary skills. Who wouldn’t enjoy a personal chef who does the dishes? Still, Tucker says there’s a higher calling, something that would help everyone on campus, not just her own staff. After all, it’s the season of giving. In that spirit, she wants just one wall in HR’s office painted a soothing color like pastel blue or green to help calm employees down who may be anxious, nervous, or upset when visiting HR. Last fall, she got her wish, but it turned out to be temporary. Tucker says she persuaded one of the college’s painters to transform one stark white wall into a very comforting green wall. And no, she didn’t bribe him with any green. It was just one wall. No biggie. Or so she thought at the time. That soothing green wall quickly turned into a source of irritation after she received a directive from above to repaint the wall white. No explanation was given. Now white is not a bad color. It reflects light, matches everything, and is always stylish. Still, it doesn’t help people unwind. Have you ever heard of people relaxing in a white room before they appear on TV? Carol Patton is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer who specializes in covering HR issues. December 2008 | 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - December 2008

University Business - December 2008
Editor's Note
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Behind the News
Sense of Place
Human Resources
2009 Annual Directory to Financial Services
Future Shock
Independent Outlook
Endowment Management
Look Before You Leap
50 Best Branding Ideas
Remedial Nation
What's New
Facilities Focus
End Note

University Business - December 2008