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We asked HR professionals to tell us about their time in HR. Here are their stories.
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Legal and Ethical
While reading the letter to the editor from John Earle ("Scripted Layoffs," April), I found myself nodding in agreement at what appears to be both a legally prudent and humanistic approach to layoffs. How disappointed I was with his final conclusion that the goal of this exercise is to achieve release from claims.
Flipping the magazine a few pages to the HR Update section, I saw a headline stating that there is no improvement in supervisors ethics.
Maybe if we'd stop looking at only the legal ramifications of our actions and start recognizing the value of doing the right thing, we'd have a better reputation both within our organizations and among the general population. How unfortunate that even when we stumble across an ethically laudable practice, we see only the legal perspective.
Terry Buzonik, SPHRFarmington Hills, Mich.
The Cost of Psychotherapy
Although I agree with author Kathryn Tyler that depression can be a real problem in the workplace, I found the May cover story ("Happiness from a Bottle") somewhat unrealistic.
Yes, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the best treatment for depression. But the unfortunate truth is that medication usually is covered by the insurance offered in company benefit plans, while psychotherapy usually is covered only to a limited extent. As a result, employees will find that they have to pay a larger portion of psychotherapy costs than "ordinary" medical costs.
Employees who choose managed care options may find it difficult to locate a therapist covered by their plans, and they are very likely to find that the managed care company will approve only a limited number of visits to the therapist. Managed care may in fact be one of the major reasons that many employees who suffer depression receive only medication for their illness.
Perhaps human resource professionals should look at their companies' health plans to see what options are available to employees facing severe depression.
John F. CallahanHighland Park, N.J.
To Get Diversity, Ignore Diversity
I just finished reading Lin Grensing-Pophal's article, "Reaching for Diversity" (May). What caught my attention was the sidebar on why diversity initiatives sometimes go nowhere.
I firmly believe that the best way to establish a diverse workforce is to have no diversity initiative at all. As an HR manager, I'm interested in hiring folks who are confident, committed and qualified. I'm not interested in what they look like or what their sexual orientation is. I want to know that they're able, aggressive and ready to join my team.
Diversity initiatives fail because they're designed to do so. They're normally nothing more than security blankets for those who scapegoat looks or gender preference as a reason for their lack of self-confidence. Excellence comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and genders. When you truly hire for excellence, you will find that you've not only achieved diversity of race and gender, but unity of ability and attitude. In that initiative, everyone wins.
Paul CarrozaDanbury, Conn.
Hear, hear ...
There was a wealth of good and useful information in the May issue, but the letter from Jack Verhaeghe ("HR at GM") may be the most valuable observation HR Magazine readers will encounter between the covers.
Kenneth A. BurkeDallas
HR Magazine welcomes letters from readers. Submitted letters are subject to editing and are the property of the magazine. To submit a letter, visit our web site at
www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/contact or fax us at (703) 535-6489.
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