Halloween is approaching and I am often asked whether HR stands for Human Remains. It doesn’t and I am proud to have been an HR professional for all of my career. In the last 20 years it is fair to say that I have seen my fair share of HR Horror stories, so in this blog, I share just a few tricks and treats.

The ghost employee

From time to time, employees go AWOL. Sometimes this is sinister but usually, it is a result of unclear communication or expectations. My favourite HR ghost story was of a new apprentice; let’s call them Casper. We couldn’t find Casper one afternoon, so we called their mobile and with no hesitation, they explained that they had gone home because they had finished the work allocated to them. This was a clear reminder to ensure that expectations are clear and assume nothing, including the idea that you stay at work for the full day.

BOO’sting induction

Making an employee welcome and planning an effective onboarding experience is key. I meet a lot of employers and employees to understand their experiences and help design a refreshed effective onboarding approach. I met an employee who had a frightful induction experience; their line manager was absent so nobody was expecting them and it took a further three unproductive days for them to be given access to IT systems.

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Torturing interrogations

4 hours, that’s the longest interview that I have endured. It was scheduled for 90 minutes. Candidate experience is key during the recruitment process, and we can help to design an efficient recruitment process with access to specialist assessment tools.

Tangled webs

Many businesses have a tangled web of personal relationships with multiple generations of family and romantic relationships (past and present!). If you are responsible for HR, confidentiality is absolute but quickly understanding the relationships is key to not being caught up in the web because they are not always obvious connections. I will confess to getting close to being stuck on one or two occasions.

In the past I have had two employees with completely identical full names and year of birth – what are the chances? So having robust operational HR processes was absolutely critical to managing the employee lifecycle.

Skeletons in the closet

When supporting businesses, there are often one or two skeletons hiding and as an HR professional, you quickly learn to ask more questions to find them. The relationship with your HR advisor needs to be based on trust and in order to give the best possible advice, we need all of the information, even the bits you are less proud of.

So, if you want to leave Human Remains HR behind this Halloween, why not take our HR capability assessment and give MAD-HR a try to see how commercial and pragmatic HR can make a difference to your business?