Stupid HR Tricks…

So I have this friend who works for a software company that is trying to find new and innovative ways to locate potential employees (mostly developers). She’s not a geek, so she asks me for some suggestions on how to attract the attention of my fellow geeks who might be looking for a job.

Naturally I say… start a blog!! of course. There aren’t all that many female geek bloggers (in comparison) and the ones I’ve seen on GWB tend to be fairly well received. We’re a mostly courteous bunch after all.

I go on to tell her about how it would be cool to see a blog from someone in recruiting, talking about the various challenges they face in trying to get quality people. What a cool company she works for… miscellaneous geeky stuff, etc.

So she mistakenly takes my advice, starts up a blog, cranks out all of ONE post and gets slammed by her employer because some VP saw it and was *concerned*. Her HR department tells her she has to remove it due to some archaic policy forbidding blogging. These are the very same people she was trying to help, by finding new and innovative ways to do her job.

So I’m wondering… what kind of HR idiocy have other folks faced in their careers?

When I was at {previous company}… idiocy was rampant. I’ll go into mucho details in a later post.

Share your horror stories in the comments section, but try to not name names unless absolutely necessary.

When I was at {previous company}, they used this system called 360 degree feedback. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, a lot of companies use it with varying degrees of success. So what’s the big deal, you ask?

go ahead and ask, I’ll wait…

ok, well {previous company} may have called it 360 degree feedback, but it resembled the actual process in name only. Every company I’ve ever been at (and there have been a few) that used “360” did it the same way. You get reviewed by 2 or 3 of your peers, and by your boss and (sometimes) by yourself. All of this get weighted appropriately and the result is an aggregate score of how you are doing. The purpose of having input come from so many sources is so if one person doesn’t like you they can’t totally wreck your performance review out of spite (or ignorance).

That’s all fine and good, and it works pretty well when implemented properly along with some sort of system of merit increases… the better you score the better your raise or bonus. If you’re higher on the food chain than I am, it works even better because not only do you get reviewed by your peers, your boss and yourself, but you also get reviewed by the people under you. It’s almost like 720 degree feedback. (Tony Hawk would be proud!) Making it nearly impossible for one person to wreck you, but also making it damn hard to scam the system… if everyone hates you there is OBVIOUSLY a problem.

Unfortunately, {previous company} didn’t implement it that way. Here is their version of “360”:

1. write your own review.
2. submit it to your boss who either rewrites it (YOUR SELF-REVIEW) completely, or copies and pastes it into his review of you and adds his name to it (because he was too hungover to write one himself).
3. then they skip the peer review entirely. At this point, it’s down to your review and your bosses. Which may or may not be the same (and even yours might not be intact).
4a. your bosses boss, who is completely out of touch with what you do on a day to day basis, and often gets your name wrong then adds her “input” to the mix.
4b. if by some miracle of fate you manage to get a perfect score, they arbitrarily lower one category by one point because (and I quote) “nobody is perfect”.
5. They inform you at the beginning of the process that you can earn up to a 10% merit increase (a fancy word for a raise) based on how good your review is. (Noting that 10% is now impossible, because… and I quote… “nobody is perfect”.)
6. Then, after wasting HOURS of company time and the lining of my stomach, they completely disregard performance reviews and award raises based solely on one criteria…   are you ready for this?

They look at how much you make currently, and the max you can make at your paygrade and give you a percentage increase based on how far you are from the middle of the grade. (So if you are at the bottom of the scale you get a “huge” raise, but if you are near the top or middle you get almost no raise.) At no time were the performance marks ever factored into the formula.

Naturally, this means people who performed poorly (are you ready for this) had the potential to get bigger raises than the folks who worked their asses off. In case anyone was still in the dark about why I left. There ya have it.


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