myHR Partner’s Cartoon Employee Hall of Fame
In recognition of Employee Appreciation Day, which falls on the first Friday of March each year, we induct one new member to our Cartoon Employee Hall of Fame. This is our special way of honoring the workforces that make our businesses great. (We’ve also included expert commentary to make it even more special.) Enjoy the list, and feel free to nominate a new character for next year. We’d love to hear from you.
OUR 2015 INDUCTEE
Underdog (A.K.A. Shoeshine Boy)
Sweet, humble and lovable Shoeshine Boy has a secret identity. He’s a mild-mannered shoeshine until trouble stirs, then he becomes the superhero Underdog. Whenever villains come to town (and usually it’s to menace his love interest Polly Purebred) Shoeshine Boy transforms into the caped canine crusader, then saves the day. Unfortunately, he destroys countless phone booths in the process—but, hey, who uses phone booths anymore, anyway? Even more than his penchant for speaking in rhyme, what we love about Underdog’s work style is his ability to focus on problem-solving over finger-pointing or excuse-making. In the heat of a crisis, he keeps his cool, switches gears and works through the issues until they are resolved. For these great employee attributes, we have selected Underdog as this year’s Cartoon Employee Hall of Fame inductee.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “Underdog is a fearless problem-solver, and that is a valuable employee trait, even for a canine shoeshine service technician,” says Dana Huber, PHR, and HR Manager at myHR Partner. “Granted, he’s a little over-zealous with the costume-changing thing, but we could work on that…”
Her recommendation: Dana thinks that Underdog would benefit enormously from an Extended DISC Assessment and consultation. Managing his two tasks—shoeshine and superhero—can done more effectively if he could learn to identify his common behavioral styles to facilitate more effective workplace interaction, as well as more effectively manage and motivate people.
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by the canine superhero: Take the team out for a nice lunch, followed by shoeshines for all.
OUR 2014 INDUCTEE
Hey, Hey, Boo-Boo! We’ve gone all the way to Jellystone Park from the classic Yogi Bear cartoons of the 1950s and 60s to make Ranger Smith our pick for this year’s honor. Although it is never, ever easy being Yogi’s “manager”, thanks to the bear’s lack of picnic basket self-control in the workplace (not to mention lack of clothing…but that’s another blog post for another time…), it seems as though Ranger Smith always has the tenacity, ingenuity and dedication to fairness needed to save the day.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “Ranger Smith is in a tough position. Let’s face it: you can’t exactly fire a bear from a national park, especially THAT one from JellyStone,” says Michele Kessler, SPHR, HR Manager at myHR Partner. “They guy always finds a go-around that works, given his limited resources. Hats off to him!”
Her recommendation: Michele thinks that Ranger Smith would benefit enormously if he could enlist the support of myVirtual HR Partner to help him resolve his employee relations issues and manage the poor performance and behavior at the remote park location. He’d get all the services and benefits of myHR DirectLink in a completely virtual environment, using current technology. And, boy, could he use that help!
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by the good ranger: Pic-a-nic baskets for everyone!
OUR 2013 INDUCTEE
That lovable, bumbling bionic detective from the mid 1980s battled the evil forces of Dr. Claw and M.A.D. with the aid of the various gadgets built right into his body. Who could forget his roller skate feet, extending arms or helicopter hat? More importantly, who could forget his dismal success rate given all those superhuman add-ons? Inspector Gadget never seemed to let his difficulties get him down or dampen his commitment to fighting crime, though. Luckily for him—and the rest of the world as we know it—that he had his clever niece Penny and her dog Brian along with him on his assignments. The two sidekicks never let on that they were actually there to save the day from Gadget’s blunders, mistakes and general goofiness, and they always manage to save the day.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “This was one of my all-time favorite cartoons as a kid,’” says Kelly Coblentz, PHR, myHR Partner’s Director of HR Partnering Services. “But, I would not want him in charge of any team, let alone a workforce team!” Her recommendation: When organizing your workforce into functioning teams, be sure you understand the kinds of personalities, strengths and weaknesses among the players involved. Design your workforce to accentuate individuals’ strengths—and everybody has them.
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by the Inspector: Rollerskating lessons?
OUR 2012 INDUCTEES
With famous quotes like “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers,” and “I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I’m around,” how could we not recognize Homer’s influence on legions of employees who seek to improve their work habits and have been encouraged to realize that at least they are not as bad as that guy.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “When I watch Homer Simpson at work, I think ‘Who the heck was that guy’s hiring manager?'” says Tina Hamilton, PHR, myHR Partner president and CEO. “Can you imagine what kind of antics would have turned up on his background check? The show’s writers are missing out on comic gold by not covering that in an episode. Talk about a company in need of help with its hiring process!”
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by Mr. Simpson: Donut buffet
SpongeBob loves his job as a short order cook at the Krusty Krab, and he’s good at it, too. We salute his positive attitude and work ethic, although his mannerism and overly outward personality can at times feel like an assault on the senses. What he lacks in workplace etiquette he does make up for in song-and-dance routines, however. Because he doesn’t ever intentionally mean to annoy anyone, it’s funny to us. For Squidward, not so much.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “Could you have a more energetic or optimistic employee?” says Deanna Foulke, HR Assistant. “That type of enthusiasm in the workplace is definitely needed—in moderation, of course. When it begins to become a distraction to his coworkers, that’s when a constructive conversation should occur.” Deanna has recently developed some excellent training materials on how to conduct difficult conversations at work. Maybe Mr. Krabs should test those tactics out 2,000 leagues under the sea?
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by the square-pantsed one: Karaoke and line dancing lunch hour
In a world where monsters generate their city’s power by opening random doors and scaring children, the Monsters Inc. team of Mike Wazowski and Sully are the undisputed company champs. They always bring in the most screams and are hailed by management as the greatest thing since sliced bread. They are good guys and dedicated workers, and deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their achievements, including induction into our Hall of Fame.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “Mike and Sully rock, there’s no doubt,” says Michelle Kessler PHR, HR Manager, “but I can see how their rock star status might have inadvertently worked against the larger team they belonged to at the company. Even putting creepy, evil Randall aside, when team leaders focus too much on just the brightest shining gems in the company, they miss out on the diamonds in the rough. Missing opportunities to build up the rest of your team can really stifle growth, create internal resentment and discourage other talented employees.”
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by Monsters Inc.’s most famous duo: Door prizes, of course.
The world’s most famous prehistoric “bronto crane operator” (we believe the more politically correct title “geological engineer”) is anything but your typical quarry employee. He works at Slate Rock and Gravel Company, and even though his boss Mr. Slate has fired him on many occasions, Fred’s better work traits always seem to win him his job back at the end.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “I love Fred Flintstone,” says Barbara Berger, Business Development/Hiring Manager, “but he is definitely the kind of employee who needs help keeping his emotions in check on the job. I’m thinking, if you have a lot of Freds on your team, you probably should have training for managers on how to work with ‘drama queens’ and other distracting personalities, as well as some team training on how to communicate more effectively.”
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by our favorite caveman: Company bowling tournament
He works at Spacely’s Sprockets turning the Referential Universal Digital Indexer (R.U.D.I.) on and off. It’s reassuring to know that in the future a nine-hour workweek full of button pushing may be the norm. We must also admit that the we like the idea of someday being able to come home from the office to find that housework consists of pressing more buttons, when it’s not being done by a robotic maid, of course.
Our HR specialist weighs in: “More than 50 years after ‘The Jetsons’ first aired on TV and there are still so many workplace communication issues in those episodes that are relevant,” says Bonnie Levitt, MSW, PHR, Director of Hiring Management Services/HR Manager. Email, texting, social media and other technological advances haven’t cured the problems. “In some cases these modern conveniences have actually made the communication problem worse. One accidental reply-all email or ill-worded voicemail can make you want to just scream ‘Jane! Stop this crazy thing!‘”
(FULL DISCLOSURE: Bonnie named her dog Astro, and the resemblance is uncanny.)
Employee Appreciation Day idea inspired by the Mr. Spacely’s star button pusher: This is a tough one. Maybe a 60s inspired lunch theme and serve moon pies all around?
Did we miss anyone?
If you didn’t see your favorite cartoon employee inducted into myHR Partner’s hall of fame today, please tell us who you would nominate and why. We’d love to hear from you!