Friday, 18 January 2019

Travel policy for 2019

Tightening our belts

`Q1 is always a poor quarter, Gloria. We have to tighten our belts; I want you to zoom in on travel to do a little choppy choppy.` That was the Whatsapp I received from Stan this morning at 0430 AM when I awoke to begin my wellness program before heading off to work at 0450 AM.

Travel has become an awful hassle.Whenever I fly back to Canada to see my mother for the new years, I don`t know what`s worse-having her ask me why I am not yet `hitched` or the trip to and from Moose Jaw, which is in Saskatchewan, which is in Canada.

Instead of putting together my new corporate travel policy based on intuition, I gathered some data from my data mine. I own the mine, and Ms Cynthia Axe is the miner.

Here are the pertinent facts-
1) Red eye flights save hotel costs.
2) Low cost airlines can be dirt cheap, especially if they leave at 3AM.
3) Travel insurance makes no sense, if you stipulate in the employment contract that travel insurance is charged to the employee.
4) Some countries have severe health problems, so food should be brought from home.
5) Many people, I suppose, don`t mind sleeping two in a room. And on the same note, frequent flier miles belong to the employer, not the employee as some Scandinavians would suggest.
6) Bus travel to and from airports is fun, whilst taxis tend to be expensive and not fun, since many taxi drivers do not speak English.
7) Paris airports generally are on strike. 
8) Long flights to Australia are much less expensive if port of entry is Darwin.
9) Many meal portions in the USA are so large that they last for 3 days.
10) La Guardia Aeroport is not the most popular, but eventually and over time, planes take off and land.

These are the facts, or as some brainy people would say, relevant, blockchain-based evidence for decision making. 

In the framework of my wellness program, I need to `sleep on my decisions` before firing off my policy by Whatsapp. But I promised Stan that by Sunday, the new travel policy will be ready to launch.

Btw, I am fully aware that senior management flies on Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines or Air New Zealand, first class. The travel policy is for the plebs.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Wellness Quiz authored by Gloria Ramsbottom consists of five questions

Take 5

Wellness is (sort of) one of the most important issues that an HR lady deals with, the other issues being data mining, sniffing around like a sustainable bloodhound, performance reviews, blockchains, AI and self promotion.

You cannot improve anything without measuring it-that's pretty basic, if you ask me. So drawing on my experience, my expertise and my feline instincts, I assembled the following questionnaire to provide a base line measurement of wellness.

1) Are you willing to text whilst driving when you receive a text message (or Whatapp) from your boss?

2) Are you willing to eat pizza (after 11 pm) and work all night long for 5 weeks straight in order to meet pressing deadlines and wow stretch goals?

3) Whilst relieving oneself in the toilet, are you willing and able to handle a call from an angry client?

4) Do you need to be at home to have intimate relations (aka sex) with your partner?

5) Are your parents dead yet? If they aren't, do they have enough money to care for themselves or hire a Filipino caretaker as they prepare to cross the yellow river, or are they dependant on you?

Saturday, 5 January 2019

On complex organizational announcements- and stress related hallucinations

Such men are dangerous

Our chief nerd, Comrade Carl Marks, was sitting in my office at 730 AM when I arrived this this morning. Were I to be living in Denmark, it still would have been dark and cold outside.

Comrade Carl had a lean and hungry look. He was gaunt, troubled and since I have olfactory capabilities of a bloodhound, I smelt a joint.

Comrade Carl told me that one of his team leaders, Ivan Ivanovitch, is moving onto a new job with better pay, valet parking, Russian food, and Danish summers. His new job starts only in 6 months so we have "breathing time" to find a replacement, perhaps in a refuges ship off the coast of Libya.

As per our CEO's request, all planned departures of engineers who speak English need to be reported to him immediately. When Stan got news of Ivanovitch's plan, he sent me a Whatsapp message, "Fire him immediately. In the six months he remains, he will form a union and spread vicious rumours about our firm. Make sure that this happens today Gloria, and put a positive spin on this. Move your bum, Gloria. Stan."

Before writing the farewell  email, I asked Comrade Carl about Ivan's family status. With all this warm data in my hand, I issued the following missive.

"With great sadness and a heavy heart, we announce the immediate departure of Comrade Ivan Ivanovitch from our midst. Ivan has worked for us for 7 months and led our acute breakdown response team. Ivan sadly is suffering from stress-related hallucinations. He will be spending time with his 4 ex wives and 15 children, both in Boston, Sudbury Ontario, Stalingrad and Marseilles, which is in France. We wish him good luck and I warn all of you not to stray close to him as he is escorted out of the building by Ms Cynthia Axe, my hench woman".

As Ivan left the building, all the Middle Eastern nerds threw rice at Ivan, except one who used a Molotov cocktail which luckily exploded in the toilet.

The first lady of HR

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Ushering in 2019 with the First Lady of the Human Resource

Several years ago, I sent our CEO Stan to a leadership seminar during which he learnt debriefing skills; sadly he even insists on implementing them. 
Today was a good example; Stan held a senior management meeting to "usher in" the new year. Usher is a great word, by the way.

Stan wished us all health, happiness and making the numbers, not in that order. Then he asked each one of us to debrief 2018 and express wishes and desires for 2019, "in a timely manner".

Our German CFO Mister Herr Krebbs told us that in 2018 "ve did not crrreate enough cash, unt az a rezult, I got an Geschwur (ulcer). I hope zat in 2019, Comrade Karl vill release a product zat vill fill ze coffers. Danke. I'm finished speaking".

Stan thanked Herr Krebbs, then added that he should improve his English.

Then it was my turn. I reminded our leadership staff that union activity had been nipped in the bud, there are now more slogans in the air than flies near a horses bum, headcount was down and costs of labour were lower than what the Americans payed the Chinese to build the railroad. As far as 2019, I promised far more happiness to lever horsepower, and much more of the same via blockchain enablement, but far better and data-free!

CEO Stan told me that cost cutting has no rock bottom, and I should strive for constant improvement "like the Japanese do". 

R&D Chief Nerd and Chief Product Architect Comrade Carl Marks spoke next. The Comrade was wearing shorts and beach shoes; his T shirt was engraved with a slogan-"Let's go back to the Good Old Days" and a picture of Lenin. The comrade seized a megaphone and spoke, "The present is hard to make sense of. Our clients have become finicky and spoiled rotten. They don't know a good thing when they see one, and this casts doom upon us. Kibinimat, the average Joe is stupid. Fuck democracy;  market forces are "forces of evil'. When nothing is clear, history trumps physics as an exact science. We need to return to the days of greatness when the clients ate from the palm of our hand. But alas, HR staffs our organization with cheap 3rd world refugees and mediocre engineers. There is only so much I can do. But those of use who love Russia know that cynicism trumps mindless western optimism. Let`s drink for 2019 - and I hope Gloria will allow me to peck her cold Canadian cheek with a kiss. Spasiba."
Forward to the past

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Planning our Global Christmas Party-2018

Leading my team in global challenges, daily
Planning global events like our Christmas party presents a challenge, even to the most skilled HR lady, she or he. This year is no axe-ception.

Ms Cynthia Axe, our downsizer, and Mister Hugh White, the white heterosexual boy who runs Diversity, sat with me all morning planning the Christmas event.

Ms Axe appeared somewhat agitated during the meeting because she will be spending the holidays visiting her father, the Reverend Oliver Axe. 
I noticed that Hugh White had a book with him,  "The Joys of Celibacy", which is understandable since Hugh and his wife Ludmilla have seen happier days.
Four major challenges faced our planning team.

1) 87% of our nerds have ancestry which is not aligned with celebrating Christmas. Miss Axe happened to mutter, "we are in America, so they should do it our way". Hugh White , always the diplomat, said we need to respect everyone.

2) One day before the Christmas party, we are downsizing 2% of our staff, and another 2% as well, making that 4 %. Our estimation is that this is not a big issue, simply business as usual. But we will "factor this in" by providing more alcoholic beverages.

Burning issues

3) Our CEO, Stan, has asked that the party take place in a room without chairs, meaning we all have eat standing up. Stan's hemorrhoids are flaming again, and he wants to avoid being the only one who eats standing on his feet. He also asked to "cut back on the spicy food, for Christ sake". Hugh White noted that the only food that our nerds eat is spicy, 88% of the time, which shows I am data driven.

4) Our Finance Team, headed by Mister Herr Krebbs, has hired lady 2 accountants from Spain, both of whom wear glasses. Their names are too long to mention. They have asked that supper be served at 11 pm. Hugh explained that the Spanish have "different digestive systems, and we need to respect this.

Gloria and Miss Axe

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Unleashing the power of people analytics -using both blockchain and hard evidence

Only the best

“Gloria, the board is concerned about that fact that after receiving a green card, a great many nerds leave our company. This reflects very poorly on both HR and your personal standing. We have a board meeting on Wednesday to thrash out this issue. Prepare your way to wiggle out of this mess, or make a plan to return home to Canada on a one way ticket, in economy class. Thanks and have a good day. CEO Stan”

Reading the above email at 2 pm today changed my schedule. I had planned to go to Pilates at 4 pm and then have my hair done, so I shuffled my timetable. I went to Pilates at 420 pm and thereafter to the hairdresser.

The question may be asked, fairly enough, what I did within 20 minutes? Well, the answer is that I put on my thinking cap and came up with an answer for the board. Then, I emailed Stan the following e-missive and backed up the email with a Whatsapp and text.

Dear Stan,
I worship the ground that you walk on. You are my leader and you deserve only the best. Since I am the best, as it were, here is my retort for the board.
Since too much data is confusing, I have tried to make everything simple, as behooves our board, whom you have in the past referred to as “a bunch of fucking hacks.”
Let’s take three years, 2008, 2018 and 2019, the latter being based on artificial projective intelligence. The average nerd stayed in our company 2 years after receiving a green card. Not included in this statistic are nerds from countries without airports, and nerds whose native language is not English.  I would like to remind you that some green cards are confiscated for safekeeping in the HR safe before delivery, so please “factor this in”.
So, all in all, I don’t see any problem whatsoever from an HR perspective. 
If you want to chat with me, just send me a Whatsapp, text me, or call me, or all three.

Prepares for Wednesday meeting

Monday, 26 November 2018

Bereavement leave

Bring down the numbers

Our CEO Stan noticed that bereavement leave was up 1.09% over the last decade, information which I provided from my new data mine. I own the mine and Miss Cynthia Axe is the miner. 

Stan observed that "HR must be sure that no one fakes bereavement. Bereavement is not an orgasm, Gloria. It needs to be real. Send me your plan how to police this issue in a timely manner, so as to drive the days lost to bereavement down".

I put on my thinking cap and nothing came to mind. I asked Ms Axe and Hugh White (the white heterosexual boy who manages Diversity) what the current procedures are.

At present, a nerd or clerk is entitled to bereavement leave if he (or she for that matter) gives a 2 weeks advance notice, or provides a picture of the grave or the stiff, signed by a notary and a man of the cloth, as long as he is not a child molester. In case of a legitimate death, we provide a Greyhound bus ticket to the funeral, one way, and a phone charger. The leave itself is 4 days for Canadian and Americans. And five days for other more remote locations.

I reviewed this policy, which seems quite fair. The only change I made is that "only 2 deaths per quarter are permissible, so as not not to make too much of a good thing. Killing the same relative twice is subject to the death penalty."

I smsed Stan about the policy change, and then I called my 140 year old mother, who was feeling down in the mouth with sore knees. She is a ballet teacher.
Compassion is my middle name

Friday, 16 November 2018

Comrade Carl travels on British Airways

Our chief nerd, Comrade Carl Marks, returned from a trip abroad which included a visit to a key client, who is unhappy about the delivery delay of our new release. The goal of the Comrades' trip was to announce yet a further delay.

Comrade Carl flew British Airways, business class. The comrade texted me from the flight that "BA hires cabin crew who don't speak English, kibinimat". Later he corrected himself-the cabin crew are Glasgow based.

Comrade Carl sauntered into my room and plopped down on the couch. I never shared the fact that I have a couch in my room. The couch is for nerds who have  a "well-being" crisis.
More on that later.

The comrade asked me,"Gloria, HR is the grand yarn master of them all. How would you announce such a delay of delivery if you had to do my job? What cock and bull story would you tell"?

I was about to answer when Carl continued. "No one dares tell the Brits that there is no solution for Brexit, which was voted in by the peasants. No one tells the world that Gaza and Israel will be at war for at least another 300 hundred years, or more, if you ask me. No one except yours truly has the balls to manage complexity!"

I asked the Comrade how he broke the news to client. Comrade Carl replied, "I used a Russian solution. We told them that we had delivered the solution twice yet their staff was too ignorant to install it. They asked for proof, and I told them that the proof is in the mail. Then we smoked a joint, I gave them a thick manila envelope, and came back home, spoiled rotten by those Scottish lassies on BA".

Comrade Carl fell asleep on my couch, and snored like my Dad used to.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Cynthia Axe lodges a complaint after a taunt by Comrade Carl Marks

Comrade Carl

My down-sizer and modern day slave, Ms Cynthia Axe, caught me by surprise in the executive elevator, which she has no permission to use. However our freight lift has been inoperable for a week due to a religious or tribal festival of the technician responsible, hence Ms Axe's presence as I sallied down to lunch.

"Gloria, Comrade Carl told me that the #metoo movement has removed all critical thinking from the western press. Then, he asked me to replace his morning newspaper with something more reliable, like the Morning Star, which I have never heard of. He told me that sent a nasty email to all his nerds, which I think you should read". Then she added, "instead of delegating, tell me what to do".

I informed Ms Axe that I read all my mail only to have Ms Axe inform me that the mail was sent "at this very minute".

I whipped out my phone and Comrade Carl explicit missive hit my eye. "Boys, one of you idiots told Ms Axe that the King of Saudi Arabia is not a reformer, just another crazy middle eastern despot, many of whom chop off fingers and heads at will. The only reason that he is called a reformer is because he allowed a few ladies to drive. Boys, please understand  that Ms Axe is very sensitive as well as not too bright, so don't go blabbing about what I told you. Spasiba. Comrade Carl."

Axe looked at me and bleated like a sheep, "Lead me, first lady".

True, Ms Axe does do my bidding with great dedication. She downsizes our firm with great diligence. But she does need a performance review. I want to introduce her to the idea of stretch goals and creativity.

Moi and Miss Axe

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The five stages of mastering HR

Influential people (some of them with PhD's like me) have approached me about how to prepare their birdies and ladies to succeed in the mission-critical role of HR business partnership.

I don't let people down, especially if they can promote me, and as such, I have acquiesced and agreed to share the five agile modules that I use to teach HR at Stanford, McGill, Harvard and Oxford. 

Module One-Madame Therese Defarge as the ultimate HR heroine: The art of downsizing from a master! As a matter of fact, Defarge was the initial first lady of HR even though she was not an American lady, nor did she own a blockchain.

Module Two-Leveraging Illegal Immigration for Diversity: How to hire illegal immigrants at sea to achieve the double whammy of social responsibility and inclusion.

Module Three-Focus, focus, focus: Juggling between transgender toilets, engagement programs, ethnic food day, and the happy hour.

Module Four-Data Mining for the HR lady: How to maintain aesthetics and personal hygiene whilst mining for data. During this module, we visit a data mine in Germany. As time and weather permit, I will bring my blockchain to the mine.

Module Five-Men in HR: This is a short module, void of content, yet provided to be fair for the soon-to-be-extinct HR male.

To register one of your birdies, or if you yourself are an interested birdy, please press 8 followed by the number of the module, then wait for an attendant.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

The end of white privilege

The ever so unreliable Hugh White

When I opened my email this morning, I almost died. I stress almost. I'm still around.
There was an email in my inbox from Hugh White, the straight white boy who manages Diversity and Inclusion, addressed to our CEO Stan. 
Stan is what you would call a white boy, as white a sheet, who studied at Yale to boot. Voila, here is what he wrote.

From: Hugh White
To: CEO Stan
CC: Gloria
BCC: all


I have been watching the Kavanaugh hearings. Suddenly, I feel a strange sense of empowerment. I hear God (or one of his assistants)  telling me that the end of white privilege is upon us.

Since I was hired, I feel like a fig leaf, hiring a few disabled people here and there, and training our staff to show respect to one another, even if they eat smelly oily food. But now, I feel that my time has come to make an impact.

Isn't it time that we hire members of the management team who don't speak good English? Isn't it time that people of colour were hired not only  in development teams, the parking lot and facilities? Isn't it time we close down for Jewish holidays in September so we can have vacations like the French? Isn't it time that all managers bring their report cards from school and prove how smart they were?

And I want to be honest with you Stan my boy. Gloria is my boss and I am fine with that. But just as easy, I could be her boss. HR is dominated by very assertive females like Gloria; even though Gloria herself is white, this too must end. My wife Ludmilla told me it must end rather quickly. She means business.

Finally Stan, just to be clear. I was a virgin until I was 14, then I had a mishap. A minor one. I drank Canada Dry at home and Heineken at parties. And on occasion, a Labatt Blue, Brewmeister or Stella.

Thank you for taking the time to read this epistle. Looking forward to a bright future, free from the chains of oppression.

Hugh White