Panic Buttons & HR

After my first week on the job, I sat at an Executive Committee meeting and asked about whether or not there had been a panic button installed in my office. The incredulous looks on their faces and the laughter that ensued informed me that, no, there were no panic buttons in the office and why in the world would I ask such a stupid question.

I did a brief survey of some of my colleagues in the local area who confirmed that they did indeed have panic buttons in their offices too.

If you’ve every been in a hotel and tried to find HR – you’ll notice that we’re usually put down in some basement or back area. We’re usually located near the dumpster or security office or both. The walls in hotels are pretty strong and made with steel and other things that make cell phone reception impossible. So – my screaming for help will probably go unnoticed if there were an emergency.

Finally, an alarm system was installed in the two offices located within HR. They also made sure to test the buttons at the front desk – where most robberies happen at a hotel. (like it did to me way back in 1994 when a 9mm gun was pointed and cocked in my direction – so, admittedly, I’m a wee-bit sensitive to these issues.)

I will say that I have never had to pull my panic button in HR. I have accidentally bumped into it – but I like to think of those moments as “dry runs.”

Over the years in HR, I’ve been tempted to pull that button… like, when you have an applicant who constantly insists that they should be hired & starts to get all in your face & aggressive. Or when you have to terminate the person who is about three times the size of you and who is known to have quite the temper… and I think I’ve had all of those things happen to me at every hotel I’ve ever worked at – including this one.

There have been plenty of stories on the news about employees coming to their job and seeking revenge on those who have done them wrong. It’s scary.

I’m sure people don’t usually think of these things during the course of their day. I do. I try my best to maintain a respectful dialogue with all applicants, employees, and ex-employees..not only because I believe it’s the right thing to do… but because I want it to help prevent things like that from happening to my employees.

Even with that you still have people who think that it’s *my* fault they don’t work there anymore. Just this week I’ve been called ‘racist’ and that I’m preventing this person from getting another job… (I’m not doing any such thing & I’m certainly not, nor ever will be, a racist) I’ve also been told that a former manager would like to run me over with her car if she ever sees me again.

Nice, right? What other job offers those kinds of perks?



About jensmack

Non-Profit HR Director, Scrapbooker, Reader, TV Lover, and Crafter. Also, Neurotic, Sarcastic, Anxiety-filled Mom of Three.
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8 Responses to Panic Buttons & HR

  1. islandjen says:

    gee…does it count that i have a staples “easy” button in my office?

    and we won’t talk about what kind of “perks” i get at my job!! 😛

  2. HR Wench says:

    Holy crap. Remind me never to work as HR in the hotel industry. At companies where HR does the firing, I always require the employee’s soon to be ex manager to be in the room with me. I don’t give bad news by myself – I consider it an OSHA safety issue! 🙂

  3. RMSJr says:

    Always helpful and useful when the self-select themself out of further consideration, “when you have an applicant who constantly insists that they should be hired & starts to get all in your face & aggressive”. Given your sector’s situation, along with what I perceive your hiring pool demographics to be, along with the spinelessness of the hiring managers to accept their companion role of being the firing managers – the pairing is complimentary – the panic button is appropriate.

    Get an “easy” button too. I have one too – the easy button, no panic button. Firings do not occur in my office, which is located off of the lobby in direct eye contact with the receptionist – her eye contact with me is her panic button. Firings are done by the hiring manager, in the neutral small conference me, with me, as God, as the witness for both parties.

    When will you get your ‘hot’ button installed?

  4. Julie Martinez says:

    Princess…I feel your pain, but my office is in a warehouse that has been partitioned into various offices (yes with doors and windows, but walls that don’t reach the bottom or top) and is NOT soundproof! I’m sure if things got out of hand, I’d have help, lol.

    Although, thankfully, I haven’t had to term yet.

    And, RMS, jr, whomever you are…I adore your erudite and multi-faceted vocabulary. Surely you are cognizant of Princess’ penchant for befuddlement at words containing more than two syllables and her immediate reaction of investigating such verbiage on, for you are a man after my own heart.

    And that is, in no way meant to be an insult to my dear Princess, merely an ode to her quirks…which I adore.

  5. Rhonda says:

    Amen sister! I think we teachers should have them, too, especially those of us who teach in tough, urban schools…so next time I’m threatened by a fifteen-year-old SEVENTH GRADER [this happened a couple of weeks ago], I don’t have to sidle past him to the front of the room to use the phone to call the office–the phone that often goes unanswered!

    I cannot believe you were threatened at gun point!!! Girl!!!!!!!!!!!! How scary!!!!1

  6. jensmack says:

    Jules – it’s not that I don’t know the words… it’s just that my Word ‘o the Day Calendar hasn’t gotten that far along yet.

    (just kidding – I don’t have a Word ‘o the Day Calendar)

  7. RMSJr says:

    Jen is well aware of, cognizant, and experienced with obvious obession to obfuscation 😉

  8. Julie Martinez says:

    I took a four hour seminar today on workplace violence. I learned when terminating a difficult employee or having any potentially confrontational situation with an employee, you should always take the seat closest to the door, so that the “terminee” can’t control the door.

    Other than that, by hour two I was ready to start poking the facilitator with a sharp pointy stick to have him stop telling war stories of his days as a security consultant and stick to the power point presentation. You know, the one we were on page 7 at three hours in and there were ten pages to go. (We never did finish)

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