There’s barely a dull moment in my working day as an HR Writer. If I’m not reading about the latest bust-up in Parliament as MPs argue about the rights and wrongs of 90-day trial periods, I’m deeply engrossed in an employment case transcript.
Employment and human resources are all about people, and where you get people, you get romance, conflict, intrigue, arguments, acts of idiocy and the occasional hissy-fit. Sometimes all in one transcript.
My job is to serve the cases up on a plate, ready for easy digestion, so that our readers can learn from what others have done wrong – or right – in the eyes of the employment institutions.
But cases are only a part of what’s in the HR portfolio – a series of looseleaf books and an online library, People Management Plus. There are plain English explanations of the relevant legislation, sample policies and forms, best practice ideas, and compliance advice.
The topics covered are as varied as the characters that fill our workplaces. There’s the people issues, of course, things like conflict, bullying, privacy, email, and the strange things that some people do on the internet. But there’s also the ‘nuts and bolts’ of HR and its peripheral functions – employment agreements, recruitment, payroll, holidays and leave, KiwiSaver, and that old chestnut, a fair disciplinary process.
Most days I start by finding a story for our Alert24 People Management daily email news service. This can be anything from government proposals for job schemes, to new safety guidelines for crane operation, to predictions about the labour market, to tips for motivating staff, to employment cases such as the one I wrote today that involved an accidental buttock brushing incident.
Once the daily news is out of the way, I move on to the reference products, where I update the commentary in line with the ever-changing legislation. I might write a sample policy, say on providing immigration advice to prospective overseas employees or on pandemics, to give our subscribers ideas for wording policies of their own. Or create an example calculation for first-week compensation for injured employees.
Every now and then, I help with marketing or new product development, and I’m always happy to help when a customer phones to ask where to find something in our products.
But at the end of the day, it’s the cases I find most fascinating and informative. Sex, drugs and violence are only the beginning.