Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shelter Me!

Hoping to add a second dog to our family, I stopped by a local shelter at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon. I had no obligations until a 5 p.m. family birthday party, so I thought I had plenty of time to submit an adoption application.

I was wrong.

A cute Chihuahua mix caught my eye. I waited for slip to visit with him. Then I waited at the kennel for the introduction. When I decided the pup wasn't right for us, I had to start the process over for the scrappy little black and white terrier mix.

He was perfect; I immediately decided I wanted him! But not so fast, Bucko: after waiting to meet him, the next step was to take a number, deli counter style, and wait for 45 minutes for an application. (The kennel staff apparently aren't trusted to give them out?) When the worker reviewed the application instructions, she stressed that I couldn't just leave the form; my signature must be witnessed by shelter staff.

Long story short, at 4:55, 20 applicants were ahead of me. I gave up, thinking I didn't want to adopt from a facility with the apparent philosophy that applicants aren't "pet-worthy" unless willing to jump through multiple hoops, withstanding considerable, needless inconvenience. I've stopped by pet store adoption shows with a more consumer-friendly approach. Applications are displayed for the taking; better yet, you may submit one online for pre-approval. Animals are freely accessible to visitors. What a different experience!

I've been thinking of the needless rigmarole at the animal shelter as it may parallel HR and employment processes. While I understand doing the best one can on a shoestring budget, it highlights the dangers of not stopping to evaluate processes and ask whether each step assists--or hinders--one's goals. And I wonder: Are there ways in which we as HR professionals unknowingly construct unnecessary obstacles to employment? Are we (God forbid) displaying that attitude that you're not job-worthy if you won’t put up with needless and annoying bureaucracy?

I hope not. But to be sure, let's all audit our own hiring processes and eliminate unnecessary steps, delays, and other inconveniences along the way.

image by katsuma, flickr

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