Thursday, June 29, 2006


I was reading Ranjit's post on how ridiculous HR was in one of his companies.

I thought I'll share an anecdote that was almost funny.

This happened in a small company of about 100 people in India, mostly engineers and about a handful of HR like people. There was an event being organized that kept getting postponed, and it wasn't clear why. So one day I popped around to the HR cube -- about 5 cubes away from mine -- and seeked to gain some higher knowledge. The conversation, honestly, went something like this.

HR-czar: "Oh. that.. uh.. yeah.. it needs budget planning and PR, and then approval from business, and then finance approval and budget sanctioning, and then only we can do this. It's a long process. It takes time."

I thought at this time that the governing overseas company must be really clamping down now on costs. But something else was bothering me.

Me: "What's PR?"

HR: "Purchase Request."

Me: "Who does that?"

HR: "X does."

I turn to X, "how long does it take?" expecting that this probably needs a lot of evaluation and planning, so maybe a few days.

X: "about 2 minutes. Shall I get it?" "Yeah, let's."

2 minutes later, with a PR in my hand. "Who gives the business approval?" I was getting the hang of it.

HR: (and she's begun to laugh by now.) "Y can."

I walk over to Y, in the next cube. Signed, no problem. I jump over to the HR cube again. "How does finance approve?"

HR: "Well... it's just Z." Z's sitting next to her. Finance signs.

There are some sheepish grins and blushes, but there is joy all around. We had a party to plan. You had to see the sudden rush of excitement in the HR cube.

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