Skip to Main Content
Filter By +
Topic +

4 HR Nightmares Scarier Than Any Movie Monster

Iconic movie monsters like Dracula may haunt the big screen, but seemingly harmless HR office nightmares can prove even more ghastly. From within the overstuffed filing cabinets come terrifying tales of employee-engagement epidemics, dangerous data re-entry and onboarding experiences that leave employees running for the hills (or, at the very least, their cars).

Here’s a look at a four of the scariest HR nightmares haunting workplaces. This Halloween – or any day of the year – don’t let yours be one of them!

The Manual-Processes Monsters

manual process monster

The HR department at one major company had been struggling to catch up on their employees’ updated tax forms and time-off requests, which had become mountains of paper. What’s the cause? Well, the culprit only comes out at night …

Almost invisible, the manual-processes monsters marched across office desks, their backs loaded with stolen time and productivity. It began with a single beast disguised as a simple spreadsheet. With no tool to illuminate the true danger, the creature rapidly multiplied, morphing into a pesky army. Their marching orders were simple: Decrease time-card accuracy, mismanage benefits and disrupt HR’s progress as much as possible.

The manual-processes monsters were successful, leaving behind frustration, exhaustion and a chunk out of the bottom line. With everyone gone for the day, they freely roamed the office in their true, bug-like form. There was no longer any way to stop to the chaos they created.

The Onboarding Ghost

onboarding ghost

As a recent college graduate, Jim had high hopes for his career, and was ready to contribute and climb that corporate ladder. XYZ Corporation’s recruiters were aggressively pursuing young talent like him. They found Jim on LinkedIn, brought him in for an interview and offered him a job on the spot.

Jim’s eagerness to make an immediate impact was for naught. Day one turned out to be a document marathon. Instead of hitting the ground running, he was greeted with pens and paper and left to manually complete his new-hire information. Day two, he returned to his quiet cubicle and sat down to yet another stack of forms.

With each stroke of his pen and with every checked box, he felt more behind and less engaged. The previously exciting company already had failed to meet his expectations. Jim suffered from never-ending onboarding. Now, in full onboarding-ghost form, he was left alone in the dark, destined to roam the halls, forever in search of his purpose. If your new hires face stacks of paperwork and scads of administrative duties, they could be fading away! Jim’s employer could have saved him, had it simply streamlined the onboarding process.

The Employee-Engagement Zombies

Employee engagement zombie

Another company was once an industry leader in customer experience. But it’s now October and things have started to get a little weird, including call-center phones constantly dropping. Something was spreading, but HR couldn’t identify the cause, so the department increased its number of T-shirt giveaways and even upgraded the coffee to a higher caffeine dosage.

Jennifer, the HR manager, assumed that her employees needed a break and started scheduling 15-minute breaks every two hours. But that only made matters worse. She came to work on Friday the 13th hopeful that everything was back to normal, but when she arrived, it was complete madness.

As each employee walked through the door, they became lethargic zombies. As Jennifer scanned her organization’s processes, she realized they had a real employee-engagement disaster on their hands. The lengthy onboarding process, clunky training and outdated employee database combined to form an outbreak of low-engagement zombies, and they were infecting everyone.

The Curse of the Multiple Databases

cursed monster of multiple databases

Steven sat at his desk when his nightmare began to slowly unfold. After logging into his computer, he was prompted once again to “PLEASE ENTER PASSWORD.” He did so, when yet another login request popped onto the screen from a different browser. All of his different databases were logging him out, so he dug out his super-secret sticky note that held all eight passwords and user IDs. After attempting all, he still was unable to access his own system.

To continue his living nightmare, an alert appeared on his computer screen: “WARNING: CRITICAL SOFTWARE UPDATES NEEDED.”

Frustrated, Steven left to grab coffee, only to return to find his computer in complete disarray. Log-in prompts overflowed his screen. Flashing bright-red “WARNING” windows would not close. Steven unplugged his computer, not knowing what else to do. Upon restarting the machine, a new message appeared: “YOU HAVE BEEN CURSED BY MULTIPLE DATABASES. THERE IS NO WAY OUT.”

Steven quickly dialed his HR generalist, but before he could finish a sentence, she said, “I know. We’ve all been cursed.” She had even tried to contact the software vendors, only to be greeted by the dreaded tangles of phone trees. With the multiple-database curse overtaking all of the company’s computers, the entire workforce was helpless. The curse forever fed on and grew from the complexity and chaos of multiple outdated databases.

Worried your workplace may be among the afflicted? Never fear! These scary stories can have a happy ending. Learn how by listening to the “HR Nightmares: Ghostly Office Tales” episode of the HR Break Room® podcast.