Why HR Hates Clip Art
Clip art is evil.
Those seductive images and beautifully rendered graphics are so enticing aren’t they? They lure you in with their sophisticated ways and flashy demeanor. They ensnare you in their web of treachery, debauchery and decadence.
An ill-placed, inappropriately utilized art-of-clip will surely cause mayhem and havoc in the workplace. A misplaced logo will lead to rebellion, misconduct and flagrant employee disobedience.
Or so I’ve been told.
A friend of mine who works in the techie field, we’ll call her Liz, had an interesting clip art encounter yesterday. It’s quite the ‘norm’ in her company for employees to utilize clip art in various in-house communications. They often use the standard Microsoft clip art (**) that adorns many a powerpoint presentation and company memo.
So Liz, being in the festive pre-New Year’s mood, searched the Microsoft clipart gallery for New Year’s images, and, as one would expect, the first image that popped up was of a champagne glass. This makes perfect sense to me. In that part of my brain where clichés reside, tucked neatly away in the New Year’s corner are two distinct images:
- A baby wearing nothing but a diaper, a Top Hat and a “Happy New Year” sash
- Champagne, in either a bottle or a flute, with little bubbles floating above the rim and escaping into the air
So Liz, who apparently thinks very much as I do, figured that the glass of bubbly perfectly captured the essence of the holiday. “I’ll use that as my holiday clip-art, per the company tradition,” she thought.
But it was not to be. For shortly after utilizing this well-rendered graphic in an in-house communication, Liz was chastised by The Boss and asked to remove the spirited clip art. The reason being, per The Boss:
“Cocktail pop art is not good from an HR standpoint”
Did The Boss attend some employment law seminar for managers and executives where the attorneys scared the crap out of the attendees and told them if they allowed pictures of alcohol-related items it would be offensive? Maybe.
Did the HR Director inform The Boss that it’s best if he minimizes his exposure to claims of harassment by removing all references to sex, drugs and rock-n-roll from the workplace? (cuz those things lead to sex, which leads to harassment, which leads to lawsuits… which, well, you know). Probably.
In an effort to make sure no one could be offended by anything at all, has The Boss now chipped away a little further at the withering soul of an American worker? Perhaps.
But I really can’t blame The Boss here. For all I know he thought that picture of a fizzy, bubbly glass of champagne was the greatest thing ever. But as a leader in the company and a titan of commerce, he knew what he had to do – he had to speak “from an HR standpoint.”
And obviously, HR hates clip art.
(**) hat-tip to http://office.microsoft.com for the clip art !