Saturday, November 6, 2010

Technological Devolution in the Corporate World of HR

(Written several years ago)

Automated phone systems suck.
I’m talking about the automated/voice activated/touch a number/never-talk-to-a-human type of a system. We have one here at work in our E-HR department, which, by definition, is not really a department but a web-site.
The overall concept of Electronic Human Resources (aka ‘Personnel,’ the 1980 term that absolutely repulses some of the left-behind-carbon-based-units) is an oxy moron. Our HR department is a web-site with a few nerds that keep the content up to date. If you want to know about your benefits, you go to a web site. If you want to fire someone, you visit another website.
Nary has a human entered into the equation.
To make matters even more insulting, our E-HR now has a automated phone system interface, which now settles the even slightest possibility of encountering a carbon-based-unit (CBU) with even the most drastic “life-changing event.” If you die, you are suppose to let your significant other know of these websites such that you can be properly removed from the payroll and deleted from all PDLs. You can automatically program the website for a “level on non-activity period,” which will make the assumption you’ve croaked. “if you are dead, press or say 9…if you are dying, press or say 911…if you have to fart, press your butt or say PPPFFFTT…if you are suicidal, please hold for the next available agent. Your call is important”(unfortunately not to anyone here).

The other day I was having one of those potential “life changing events” (severe pains in my chest) from navigating my arse off trying to find out if my prescription hay fever medication was covered under my e-insurance. After around a half an hour trying to navigate the 1,000 layer deep web site, I finally tried the “contact-us” button and got this ominous looking 1-800 number. I called it and ended up in another phone system from hell for another 38 minutes. I never did reach a CBU and finally ended up putting the call on hold and going to bed, hoping to screw their system somehow.
For about 2 years I had this method of simply hitting the pound key multiple times until something happened to kick me into the waiting arms of a CBU, but they’ve now disabled that functionality and it drops you back to the main starting menu asking your sex, mother’s maiden name, passwords and sperm count. If you miss anything, then it gives you a cryptic website where your profile may be updated. Problem is, you need the same logon and pw to weed through the web site.
This is progress or, said another way, technological devolution.
And what happened to the “rotary phone question?” This was another way around these idiotic systems; pretend you have a rotary phone, don’t do anything, and then they have to talk to you. They’ve disabled that function on our E-HR automated phone system as they believe no one really has such an antique.

So I’m fed up with our fancy technological lunacy that is seeking to substitute human contact with electrons. E-HR is stupid, yet it saves a bunch of money so I guess it’s the right thing to do. After all, if we paid people to talk with other people, that would be a real waste of money and, therefore, be an excellent candidate for being “cheap-sourced” somewhere else in the world, with more lost jobs...
Press 5 if you are feeling lucky. Press 3 if you just robbed a bank. Press this, press that. I'm not IM-pressed.
"If you wish to speak with a humanoid CBU, we are sorry, but there are none left. Please visit our website where you can solve your own stupid problem. Have a great day!"

I give up.

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