When it comes to poetry, where there's a quill there's a way. Photo: Shutterstock

Friday 20th November 2015

Prime rhymes

The winner of our HR poetry competition revealed

And so to the results of our poetry competition. Entries flooded in, like the ‘tremulous cadence slow’ of the waves hitting Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But if you can’t use poetic license in a poetry competition article, when can you?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cynicism loomed large in a number of entries. In this notable effort, ‘Megan’ attempts to define the profession, bleakly:

Human resources, human resources:
Unwitting third wheel in messy divorces.
Armed with tissues in one hand, rulebook the other,
No longer sure the normal number of grandmothers.

Always the one cleaning up the debris,
Keeping secrets enough to start World War Three.
Now what was it you said about that cup of tea?
Two sugars please, and hold the sympathy.

Thanks Megan. And we understand why you didn’t submit your surname. If our meter was as bad as yours, we probably wouldn’t either.

Next, and focused on the term ‘Human Resources’ itself, comes John49. Knowing what we do about how online names are generated, we suspect you might be a bloke nearing 70, so well done on being able to email.

What’s in a name?
It’s not always the same –
The favourite today
Is ‘HR’ all the way.
Before, ‘Personnel’
Never went down so well,
And before all the faff
We were called plain old ‘Staff’.
And now, in an era when irony reigns,
More often than not we’re called ‘Human Remains’.

Pretty decent, John49, but we could have done with a fresher gag at the end.

‘I appreciate that a limerick is arguably the lazy person’s poem,’ writes Richard Elliot, ‘but it’s been a long week.’ Fair enough – we don’t all have the time we’d like to put quill to parchments nowadays. Richard offers us a limerick that also pays attention to functional nomenclature.

An HRBP from Dunblane
Tried to think of the new function name
‘Corporate Zookeepers’ a scoop
‘Cos we shovel the poop
And to work here you must be insane!’

Thank you, Richard. But after much debate (well, not that much actually) our deserved winner is Mandy Fox, who provides a long lyric piece worthy of Wordsworth at his finest.

An Ode to HR Departments Everywhere

It’s Monday morning, 9am
And James from Floor 5 is off sick again
“What to do?” the Manager cries
“I’ve seen his Facebook status – it’s lies, all lies!”
By 10am, it’s full steam ahead
Disciplinary notes for an employee who saw red
She had some choice words with another
And got into a rather a lot of bother.
11am? How can that be?
Best stop quickly for a nice strong coffee.
Annual leave queries, a return from mat leave
A department head who thinks I have all the answers up my sleeve.
Interviews next, a quick bite to eat first
And another coffee to quench my thirst
The interviewee has turned up late
(Tardiness is something that I do really hate)
Her CV read well, but now her in person
What was a reasonable impression has just started to worsen.
Back to my desk, and a message to say
“I have been off sick, and this month no pay!”
The HR system tells me why
They are now in zero pay. I let out a sigh…
Some references to send for, and requests too
I need to escape to go to the loo.
On my return, a manager is there waiting
With a staff issue needs a LOT of notes taking.
Back to admin, a resignation letter or two
Indicate that there are issues on Floor 2.
It’s just past 3, where has the day gone?
Off to a grievance hearing (I hope it’s not too long).
Return to the office, 5pm is now here
But first a contract to finish I fear.
Desk cleared, I’ve shut down and I’m out of the door
I wonder what tomorrow will have in store.
Although life in HR can be quite hectic, it’s true
I wouldn’t work anywhere else, would you!?

Congratulations, Mandy. A (very) modest token of our appreciation will be winging its way to you soon.

About the author

Andrew Baird

Andrew is the CEO of HRville. He is also Employer Brand Director of Blackbridge Communications, Editorial Director of Professionals in Law and an associate of The Smarty Train. Previously, he was the MD of TCS Advertising.