Welcome to the Improv Your HR Newsletter

HR manager: This candidate looks good on paper but demonstrated three giant red flags during the interview process. I don’t believe we should hire her.

Hiring manager: But she has a degree from my alma mater! She used to work at Uber! She knows Steve!

HR Manager: I strongly recommend against offering her the job.

Hiring manager: She’s perfect! Hire her!

Have you been through this? You tried to warn against a bad hire, but HR never makes the final decision. So you cross your fingers and hope for the best. But six weeks later, this manager is back in your office asking you to “fix” this “terrible employee” and wondering why you didn’t stop him in the first place.

This is the type of situation we deal with regularly. Someone else’s bad decision becomes our problem. There are three options:

Option one: Quit and find a job where they listen to you.

Option two: Whine and complain about unfixable problems

Option three: “Yes, and” the heck out of the situation.

Option one seems good, but in today’s market, there are far more HR people looking for jobs than there are companies hiring HR people. Whining doesn’t actually make your life better or solve the problem. That leaves you with option three: “Yes, and” the situation.

What it means to “yes, and.”

The first rule of improv comedy is to “yes, and” the situation. If your ensemble member says, “oh, what a lovely cat you are holding!” you agree and from that moment on, you have a cat.

Now, you can put the cat on the floor, pet the cat, offer the cat food, or explain how the cat is named Princess Snugglepants. But you can’t say, “No, I’m not holding a cat.” That breaks the rules.

You have to take the situation you’ve been handed and find a way to make it work.

The same principle applies in HR. You’ve been handed a rotten employee. You can’t just say, “Nope, nope, nope, I refuse.” You have to figure out the solution. You accept (yes, we have this employee) and now you get to figure out how to make the best “and” possible.

I’m looking forward to using this newsletter as a way to teach you how to “yes, and” your HR department and learn the other valuable improv comedy skills needed to make you a better HR person and have fun in the process.

Thanks for joining me!


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2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Improv Your HR Newsletter

  1. Whenever there is a bad hire situation, what should hopefully happen is that during the probation period, that either this person will perform in the role that they are hired for despite misgivings. Or, they will perform as predicted ( poorly) get documented for the poor performance as they should be, get a PIP. Either way, all HR can do is make sure that the paperwork is properly handled and processed and leave the performance evaluation to the supervisor manager who will be working with them. We don’t always choose our team mates at work. I am assuming that this specific hire was not another member of HR but rather for another part of the company.
    If you’re ever stuck with a hire you didn’t want, then make sure that they understand all their job duties in detail before they are put solo in action, Anne document everything you tell them.

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