Shakira Joyner, HR Consultant from hchr Limited shares her blog with us:
“Being an independent HR consultant has its challenges. It never ceases to amaze me how so many non-HR people assume that our job is all about dusty policies and employment law… in reality HR is a sticky, thorny and sometimes a steamy undertaking!
In any organisation, there is drama; people break rules, have affairs and get into all sorts of mischief, and as HR folk we get mixed up in all of it. I can honestly say that no 2 days are ever the same.
It’s not all sex, drugs and rock and roll but that’s not to say that there aren’t a few stories that I could tell you!.. Obviously it goes without saying that client confidentiality prevents me from doing so…
However, for example, a CEO might call us and say, “I have a Senior Manager who I think has a drink problem…” They are in a bind because of course; they only have a suspicion at this point in time, they are friendly with the Manager and where do they start with such a sensitive issue. They don’t want to ask the employee outright, “Do you have a drink problem?” they want to help the employee and at the same time protect the company, but don’t know how… So they call me.
It’s stressful running an organisation or even a chunk of it. Difficult conversations are a way of life, and somebody eventually has to say “Enough- this cannot be ignored!” You would be amazed how difficult most leaders find it to have those ‘difficult conversations’ and inevitably issues fester and get swept under the carpet.
Real life is a soap opera and HR people know real life better than most. We think of business as a dry and dusty place, but because it is populated by humans, exactly the opposite is true. Some days I am glad to go home, sometimes with my head in my hands, to my quiet house and dog, having had enough human drama for one day.
The good news is that we frail humans are capable of amazing things when we aren’t drinking vodka from a coffee cup or getting busy with a colleague in the stationary cupboard. We are creative and resourceful and can amaze, but you have to prepare for the unexpected — as every HR leader knows.”