… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

HR and security blankets

This is my teddy bear. His name is Sven. I’ve had him for 20+ years and yes, he does travel with me. Don’t judge me. Sometimes you need something familiar and comforting. You could call him my “security blanket”. And I know I’m not the only one. Security blankets are objects, behaviors, or concepts that make you feel safe. But as nice as all that is, it’s only an illusion of safety. And that can sometimes be a problem.

Human Resource professionals have their own security blankets too. They come in the form of employee handbooks, compliance training, or even a plethora of forms. They do serve a purpose and they make managers and human resources feel safe and protected. I mean, surely employees won’t violate policies or be involved in sexual harassment, right? They know better now; we have a signed form and everything. But in reality, people will be people, and that means they’ll do stupid things. But man, having that form just makes you feel so … secure.

I’m not saying that these aren’t necessary things; they most assuredly are important and critical. Just like my teddy bear. However, they can also provide a false sense of security that a company is better protected than they may be. Despite thorough sexual harassment training, you may still have a senior leader have an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. And no employee handbook can possibly address every issue you may face. So while security blankets are comforting, and sometimes fuzzy, don’t buy into the illusion. Being effective requires vigilance, ambiguity, and is often full of conflict. But it’s worth it.

5 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 @BenjaminMcCall :

    Gosh this is true. I think templates are the security blankets for me. Just having a “starter” will help me create a lot more.
    The tried and true method sometimes is doing your best, learning and failing miserably to succeed extrordinarily in the future!

    Website: http://ReThinkHR.org

  • 2 Molly :

    I love this. What a great post.

    We all have security blankets in so many different ways.

  • 3 Shauna :

    Ben – Great point about templates, they totally are security blankets!

    Molly – Thanks!

  • 4 Kat :

    This is a very fresh perspective on some of the things we hold dear in our “security” zone. Our security blankets will not prevent bad things from happening in good companies, however handbooks, training and forms are not only meant to prevent actions but to also give us the tools we need to “address” the bad actor’s behavior and protect the company from liability for his/her actions.


  • 5 Shauna :

    Kat – Good point about them being tools to address problems too! I couldn’t think of a parallel to my teddy bear so I didn’t talk about that. 🙂