Wednesday, November 29, 2006

HR = Incompetence

Last month was our open enrollment month for benefits at work. I had no real changes to make to my benefits except for one--I was going to enroll in our legal services benefit for next year. I've been thinking of buying a house and real estate legal services are covered in our company's legal services benefit. For only about $180 on the year, I'll have access to all the legal services I need, which is way cheaper than if I went out and had to find a lawyer to work with for setting up a mortgage and preparing housing purchase documents.

Oddly, the sheer amount of time I had to waste to get into the benefit at work was ridiculous. I was first informed by the HR department that the legal benefits were not available to opt into on the benefits interface that we used on our company intranet. I'd have to go through the actual legal services website and sign up. No problem, right?

I ended up searching through the legal benefits website for about an hour going through just about every page that was ever created on it and found no way to sign up for the services. I eventually found a cryptically worded form that sounded like it might be used for signing up, so I filled it out and submitted it. This form, indeed, was used for signing up, but upon submitting it, I was presented with a page that told me they were glad I was trying to sign up for the service, but I needed to do it through my company.

So I called our company's local HR team to get this figured out. I asked for cost, if it was pre- or post-tax, and where it was exactly I needed to sign up. They told me they had no idea and forwarded me on to the national HR team. The national HR team then informed me they did not have the information and I needed to find it out from the legal services site.

At this point, I decided to take a day off from pursuing this because I was about to murder someone in a blind rage. The next day I told the national HR team that I did go through the site of our legal services benefit provider only to be directed back to my employer. I left a message telling the person I was contacting to call me at home as I was out of the office for the day.

So what does she do? She calls my office and leaves a voice mail. At this point, I decided that it must be a prerequisite for working in HR that your IQ must be lower than 80. I called the lady who incompetently couldn't call me at the right number and asked her to get this figured out. She informed me that she wasn't paying attention when directing me in what to do and let me know that the benefit was available on our HR intranet website. And because I had been told the wrong information, she told me she would in turn take time out of her day to show me how to sign up for the benefit. How nice of her, eh? Seriously, she screwed up and shouldn't think twice about helping, but instead she tried to make me feel guilty for wasting her time that she could have probably been better spending playing Spider Solitaire on her computer or chewing gum and seeing how big of a bubble she could blow.

Thankfully, I finally got everything ironed out. Now I just need to wait for my benefits package confirmation to see if everything went through correctly. If not, the entire HR department should expect to catch hell like they've never caught it before.

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