From the Archives of Make HR Happen – Those Times We Bowed to Administrivia

I have been accused of making up the term “administrivia” probably because I have a habit of making up words that are better descriptors of the way things are than the usual boring terms we have learned. Kids are cute when they make up words for things they don’t know or understand, but about the time we give up being cute we also begin to conform to the way everybody else uses words. According to Wiktionary the word administrivia is a combination “administrative” and “trivia” and is loosely defined as those dreaded administrative tasks that we are forced to do before we can tackle the really cool and interesting stuff. It is synonymous with red tape, menial tasks, and brings to mind a word picture of mounds of unnecessary paperwork. There are some occasions in which this is the only term that adequately describes the situation at hand. The tyranny of administrivia is that it grows like weeds among other productive duties and brings a sense of urgency that can crowd out the life of things that are more important. Three articles from the archives are presented here, not because they challenge the existence of administrivia, but because it creeps into just about every process involved in business.

Image credit: nomadsoul1 / 123RF Stock Photo

Lather, Rinse and Repeat - I read a very cynical article last week by a man protesting the instructions on his shampoo bottle. Perhaps he is forming an OWS (Occupy Wall Showerstall) movement. According to his account, he violated the cardinal rule of lather, rinse and repeat with no noticeable difference in his hair. He did not elaborate on the tests performed to verify his opinion, but an unfounded claim can still be true.  – more –



Performance Failure or Performance Appraisal Failure – Part II – The five core issues addressed earlier are: having reviews scheduled annually, broad unmeasurable objectives, lack of timing flexibility, subjective evaluations, and tying pay raises to performance reviews. Other system enhancements have added their own degree of difficulty in fixing what is wrong. The following is a logical extension of the first five points. – more –




Giving Good Reference – It is an uncomfortable moment of truth. Someone you know has asked to use your name as a reference for employment. If this is someone that has earned your endorsement it is still not an easy thing to do. If this is someone that you don’t know well enough to recommend it is not easy to say no. In spite of the temptation to always say yes and then offer lukewarm support, this does nothing to help anyone including you. – more –