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My Big Phat HR Department

February 27, 2012

I’ve worked for a variety of organizations and in a vast array of HR Departments.  I’ve been a solo practitioner (several times), I’ve been the HR head honcho, I’ve been a Functional HR Manager in a shop of 30, and I’ve been a cog-in-the-wheel of a ginormous global team with hundreds of HR folks.

My current role has me being the head of HR for a mid-sized organization with a small HR staff.  It’s a good size and one which I enjoy – I’m not ‘alone’ so I have folks with whom to have conversations about all the awesomeness that is HR.  And, of course, I have the greater local HR community so I can easily meet someone for lunch or have a quick phone chat when there’s something I want to discuss.  So it’s cool.  But…

…I do kind of miss my days at the ginormous-global company.  Several times a year we would all converge at a conference center/hotel for 2-3 days of meetings, training sessions, or to plan for upcoming company initiatives.  I got to hang with hundreds of my HR co-workers from across the world – learning about their day-to-day happenings in the UK or Argentina or Mexico or Toledo, Ohio.  We talked about what worked and what didn’t.  We swapped stories about the sites and the management teams we supported.  We talked about what made our locations unique.  Inevitably, one of my sites was featured on a slide deck or two (usually during the presentation by our in-house counsel) and I got to get up and share the peculiarities that lay within the Collective Bargaining Agreement which covered about 200 of my employees.  It didn’t matter that the organization had locations with Teamsters – those CBAs were old news.  My CBA, however, was always a source of constant amusement amazement.

We also had a lot of fun.  We had dinners and happy hours and social activities.  We took over a comedy club one night.  We went nightclubbing.  We went dancing.  Inevitably, some nice HR folks acted semi-inappropriately and wondered if their career was over.  People slinked into early morning sessions just a bit bleary-eyed.  Good times.


It was a change when I moved from a super-sized organization to a smaller scale and for the longest time I thought how about much I missed being part of a large HR group.

But you know what?  I still am a member of a large HR Department.

Over the last several years, relationships which originated in social media and then turned into offline relationships, have brought me into an even larger HR community. And just as with those departmental-gatherings-of-old, several times per year I get together with these colleagues and friends for educational goodness, snappy debates and mind-itching discussions.  We also have dinners and happy hours and social activities.  We go nightclubbing.  We go dancing.  Some nice HR folks act semi-inappropriately and people slink into early morning sessions just a bit bleary-eyed. Like this morning.

Good times.

**** p.s. And no; that picture at the top of the post is NOT my HR posse.  For the story, see what Frank Roche has to say

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