Simple Pleasures Top List of HR's Favorite Things

By SHRM Online staff Dec 30, 2008

Reaching for a cold one usually translates into a soda; iPods still rock; and “Grey’s Anatomy” is the fave TV program, according to an annual survey of HR professionals’ favorite things.

Any type of soda is the beverage of choice, followed by wine, spirits and iced tea, but one HR professional opts for a vodka martini—dry with an olive—and another is transported by an extra hot, non-fat double-shot toffee nut latte with no foam.

Settling back with a book is the favored activity for the fourth straight year. Watching TV, a movie or sports comes in a distant second, trailed by shopping.

“If there’s an outlet mall in the vicinity,” said one unidentified HR professional, “I’m there. I’m not sure it’s a leisure activity, more like a power sport.”

Still another chimed in for a preference to dancing “to really loud cheesy rock from the ’80s,” adding “long live Poison!”

Polled by Halogen Software in December 2008, approximately 300 HR professionals from North America also weighed in on their:

Favorite gadget: Although the iPod fell slightly as the top choice—22 percent chose it in 2007 vs. 14 percent in 2008—it’s still No. 1. Other popular gadgets included the BlackBerry, the iPhone, remote car starter, cheese grater, wine bottle opener and martini shaker.

Favorite food: Cheesy pizza leads the way, although one person noted his/her choice was “comfort food of any kind, the unhealthier the better.”

Favorite TV show: Although reading is the favored activity, “Grey’s Anatomy” is the favorite show for the third straight year. They also can’t get away from “The Office,” which repeated its place from 2007 as HR’s number two choice.

Other favorites included “NCIS,” “CSI,” “Lost,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Survivor.” Most of those also were among the 2007 favorites.

Some interesting choices included “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Young and the Restless.”

“I’m too old for it,” said one person, “but my guilty pleasure is “Gossip Girl.” That Chuck Bass gets me every time.”

Favorite TV or movie personality: Oprah was the favorite celebrity in 2008, followed by Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. President-elect Barack Obama received an honorable mention.

Tina Fey portraying vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also got a mention. Another HR professional named William Shatner, noting “and I don’t even like ‘Star Trek’!”

Favorite team: When it comes to cheering on a team, baseball garnered more support in 2008 than football, with the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox scoring high as favorite teams. Football teams receiving the most mentions were the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks.

In college sports, Purdue University, University of Arizona and University of Connecticut were popular teams.

Another gave a shout-out to the Bears—not of Chicago, but the school where a daughter attends.

Favorite dream car: The BMW is the favorite for the fourth straight year, although its popularity seems to be waning slightly since the poll began in 2005. Jaguar and Mercedes were in the top three in the wishful thinking category.

The Winnebago got the nod from one HR professional; another voted for “one that comes with a driver;” and someone else said the preferred car was “red, FAST, [with] wide tires and, oh yeah, a Lamborghini emblem on it.”

Favorite travel destination: Hawaii is the top pick for the third year, followed by the Caribbean. Many other beach destinations also were named; non-beach choices included Las Vegas, Peru, Thailand, Geneva and New Zealand.

One person chooses “anywhere there is a NASCAR race!”

Resolutions: There was no word on whether the respondent kept his/her New Year’s goal “not to strangle our employees” in 2008, but there was an even split between those who did and did not keep their HR departments’ resolutions, the survey found.

“We did our best,” said one respondent and another noted they did “as much as we could in this market.”

Among resolutions for 2009 were to have fun with everything they do, not drive each other crazy and to stop feeling like the “complaints department” by gaining more respect from other groups.


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