Another update from the Jungle….
Dawn is the HR manager for her company. Five years ago, her title was HR Director. Then it was changed to Chief People Officer before changing again to Chief Talent Officer. These days, she thinks her title ought to be Chief Therapist.
Dawn is seeing a steady stream of employees who are agitated by the impending election. She’s investigated several complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment as everyone becomes hyper-sensitive in response to the latest election news headline. A recent example is Monica who complained of a hostile workplace and named Steve as the perpetrator.
Dawn’s investigation findings are underwhelming. It turns out that twice in as many days, Steve drank the last cup of coffee and didn’t start a new pot brewing. Monica thinks he did it deliberately to disrespect women by forcing a woman to brew a new pot. Steve says he was in a hurry and simply forgot. He says Monica hates him because he was promoted before her. Dawn tells Monica and Steve in polite HR-speak to grow up.
Dawn’s investigation at least broke the monotony of listening to Helen, the Voice of Doom. Helen comes to Dawn’s office every morning with a coffee mug the size of a soup bowl, plops down in the spare chair and doesn’t leave until she needs a refill. Helen is a worrier. Her latest worry is that the political arguments among co-workers will degenerate into fist fights. She says she doesn’t feel safe walking around the office.
Helen could hide in her cubicle actually doing her job and ignoring the political fights around her, suggests Dawn. Helen explains for five minutes exactly why that wouldn’t work for her. Dawn asks if Helen wants to use accrued vacation days to stay at home. Helen says she doesn’t have enough accrued leave to stay home for the next three weeks and drifts away for a refill.
Dawn’s sick of hearing about sex scandals, email scandals, and who’s fit for what office. She hates both of the presidential candidates and their negative ads. She can’t wait for it to be over.
What should Dawn do for the next three weeks?
- She can lock her office door and refuse to talk to her co-workers.
- She can try to ban political discussions in the work place.
- She can treat all employee comments about the election as white noise and tune it out.
The good news is that presidential elections are a 4-year phenomenon. Normal types of HR complaints will re-surface in three weeks.
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