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not happy with my HR
Old 05-10-2018, 07:21 AM   #1
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not happy with my HR

My 4000 plus employee company has an HR department that is useless. Less than one year ago we merged with another company. We switched our 401K from Principal to Vanguard . When that happened I asked the HR department about the 55 rule. Their reaction? They came back and said we can't do it and that was it. Since I probably won't need it anyway I dropped the issue.


Issue #2 began when I lowered my 401K contribution to the lowest % to still get the company match. I did this to maximize cash to refurb a house that I am selling (closing in 6 days). Last week I went into the Vanguard site to increase my contribution % to ensure I meet the 18.5K authorized by the IRS (already maxed catch up). For some reason we can only contribute up to 15%. If I contribute 15% going forward for the rest of the year I will finish up about $1900 short. I called Vanguard. They said the problem is with my company and the way they set it up. I sent an email to HR. No response. I went into see the local HR person. She said she would look into it. That was 4 days ago. I just found out that her last day with the company is tomorrow. Lovely.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:25 AM   #2
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You have my sympathies, as this seems to be a growing concern for large companies. As software takes over in HR, the people seem to be less flexible.

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Old 05-10-2018, 09:29 AM   #3
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You have my sympathies, as this seems to be a growing concern for large companies. As software takes over in HR, the people seem to be less flexible.

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The credo of HR departments everywhere-- "We're not happy until you're not happy".
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:42 AM   #4
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Reading your anecdote reminds me of how glad I am to be out of the game, so to speak, after 35+ years in org. leadership with a health system mega-corp. Sadly, the lack of responsiveness to your particular concern on the H.R. side is not uncommon.

I recall back in the day when H.R. was referred to as the "personnel" dept. That at least provided a modicum of humanity. Nowadays, not so much, IMHO. The cynical side of me can't help but think that the name change to Human Resources was a very deliberate use of language to communicate a message to all.Employees are viewed as merely resources that are to be used and once they're used up, put unceremoniously out the door.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:56 AM   #5
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No sympathy here.
While I hold all and any HR in utter disdain, the issues listed in the OP result entirely from the poster's doing.

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Originally Posted by Bigdawg View Post
I asked the HR department about the 55 rule....
One does not "ask HR" about this. The role of the HR department is to protect the company from the employees, not to assist the employees.
Instead, one goes to their 401(k) Plan Administrator, request a copy of the Plan, reviews it, and learns whether or not the Plan allows "the 55 rule", plus a bunch of other important details.

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I lowered my 401K contribution to the lowest % to...
The right time to review whether or not the percentage of contributions could be increased later on (and if it could - to what extent), is before and not after one's reduced their contribution. The decision to lower one's contribution for a temporary cash flow improvement is to be taken only after evaluating the consequences and weighing all pros and cons.

The OP is essentially an outcry of the sort of "I shat my pants, and am thus very unhappy with the pants' tailor!", which is not even funny enough to be shared here on the forum.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:56 AM   #6
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I recall back in the day when H.R. was referred to as the "personnel" dept. That at least provided a modicum of humanity. Nowadays, not so much, IMHO. The cynical side of me can't help but think that the name change to Human Resources was a very deliberate use of language to communicate a message to all.Employees are viewed as merely resources that are to be used and once they're used up, put unceremoniously out the door.
Absolutely.
At least they're being more honest nowadays.... You're a resource, just like this toner cartraige.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:58 AM   #7
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If you get classified as a Highly Compensated Employee, they might now be imposing contribution limits they didn't before.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:15 AM   #8
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Absolutely.
At least they're being more honest nowadays.... You're a resource, just like this toner cartraige.
+1

I knew it was getting bad when they started calling people resources. That's truth in advertising.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:16 AM   #9
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I worked for a large multinational IT company.

Over the years I saw our HR group migrate from a true HR group to nothing more than a Personnel dept. for each of the business units. Over time staffing was reduced, the good people exited, and we were left with very few of what I would call HR Professionals.

So this is nothing new. In my view the company is the looser in the long term. I think that it is all about short term gains, quarterly goals, and market share price.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:36 AM   #10
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Most of my interactions with HR are through chatbots.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:48 AM   #11
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Most of my interactions with HR are through chatbots.
Probably less frustrating (no delusion of caring) AND you at least have the possibility of a record of the discussion.
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:26 AM   #12
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No sympathy here.
While I hold all and any HR in utter disdain, the issues listed in the OP result entirely from the poster's doing.

The OP is essentially an outcry of the sort of "I shat my pants, and am thus very unhappy with the pants' tailor!", which is not even funny enough to be shared here on the forum.
Maybe I didn't read enough into the OP, however, it doesn't sound to me as though he's gaffing off the responsibility for his predicament on to the HR dept. I read his complaint about H.R. to be a lack of responsiveness.

Contrary to your statement, HR departments do, at least ostensibly, exist to assist employees (I'd bet the OP's company HR mission statement has that language in it). The fact that too often they don't, at least in practice, is what has led to their department's title being viewed as an oxymoron.

You may not have empathy for the OP's situation, however, the fact remains that he reached out to his company's HR dept. with legit questions and was essentially given the brush-off in one instance and a vacuous response in another. Was just a bit of helpfulness too much to ask?
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:40 AM   #13
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As I learn through my wife on a regular basis in her dealings with HR, HR does not exist for your benefit. They are there for Megacorp's benefit alone.
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:46 AM   #14
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My interactions with HR were generally quite positive. I worked at a large multinational, high-tech Megacorp. We had a central (corporate-level) HR department that dealt with policy issues, legal issues, compensation research, M&A, etc. I rarely had interactions with them.

Each business unit had one HR professional who was part of the management team for that BU. These people were generally quite good (not always... but that's the same with any profession). Their focus was more operational, like organizational development, talent retention, issues unique to that particular BU, and supporting supervisors/managers with HR issues.

For benefits issues, we generally didn't contact either of those groups. Rather we had a dedicated staff of people at a 1-800 number who could answer any type of payroll or benefits questions. They were quite helpful and always very efficient. I still interact with them from time to time since I'm on the same group health plan I had when working.

I realize that a 4000-employee company is going to have less HR resources. So depending on level of experience, they may not be as efficient or knowledgeable in answering all questions. Just wanted to provide an alternative perspective.
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Old 05-10-2018, 01:40 PM   #15
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I worked for Ford Motor Company for 24 years. At the time, we had a defined pension program and I also had a 401k where they would match my 401k investment 50% up to my 10% of base salary. We were max'd out at 14% on base salary withdrawals--while Ford was paying 5%.

We were told that government regulations held us to putting the max. 14% because of the incredible amount Ford was paying out on subsidized life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance and other benefits. All together, employee benefits were approximately 40% of our base salary.

I would assume companies of the time not paying out so much in employee benefits could allow higher employee 401k contributions.

Now the defined pension has been withdrawn and Ford like most other companies just had the 401k for a retirement plan. I do long for $2 prescriptions and $5.00 office visit deductibles for white collar employees--obtained for us by the UAW contracts of the time.
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:27 PM   #16
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The cynical side of me can't help but think that the name change to Human Resources was a very deliberate use of language.... Employees are viewed as merely resources...
This use of language ("human resources") always seemed unfortunate. It's the reason why, in budgeting and staffing meetings, never used the word. Always simply said "people" instead. It's a word that recognizes folks' dignity, rather than trying to enhance one's own stature by stripping away the stature of others.

Also, the world is full of folks straining to sound more polished and more corporate than each other, striving to outmaneuver each other with posturing or putdowns, subtle or otherwise. Even if this behavior weren't ethically offensive, it is so drearily common that there is simply no distinction to be gained from it. It always seemed that what is more rare is not to try to excel at that sordid game, but rather, to be one of the folks who strives for candor rather than cleverness, courtesy rather than condescension, genuineness rather than image, and a certain sensibility in which everyone is presumed to be worthy of being treated with dignity unless they prove otherwise. It is possible to do this and still succeed. And in that world, a person is a person, not only a resource.

As far as HR... although there's some humor and some truth in the saying that HR exists to protect the company rather than the employee, the reality often seems a bit more layered. HR does have obligation to the company, but also to personnel. And it's necessary to make a distinction between a system, and the people in that system. The HR "system" may be tilted more toward helping the company in some cases, but the people in that system are still people, and may skew toward helping individuals. And because they're people, they exhibit the same range of attitudes as people in any field. Some are obstructionist when they should not be, and some are surprisingly helpful, even when it might not be in their best interests.
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:58 PM   #17
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....a person is a person, not only a resource.

And it's necessary to make a distinction between a system, and the people in that system.
+1
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:09 PM   #18
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"The IRS Rule of 55 allows an employee who is laid off, fired, or who quits a job between the ages of 55 and 59 1/2 to pull money out of his 401(k) or 403(b) plan without penalty." As long as your assets were transferred to a 401(k) and not an IRA, the rule should apply, but you'll have to resign or be laid off to take advantage of the rule. Once you do this, the account is yours (the rule is per the IRS, not your company). The 15% limitation might have to do with your 'highly compensated employee' status, which may limit your contributions to the 401(k).
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:35 PM   #19
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I recently corresponded with a fellow employee who was surprised I haven't come around the mine to socialize with fellow co workers before the shift. I have no reason to visit HR as they provide no economic input to me; no health insurance, no pension. Yes I miss the camaraderie, but I ain't getting up at 6, driving 45 minutes, to co-mingle. I was never the social butterfly with the workers, I have a benevolent dictatorship reputation to uphold. I am meeting the challenge.
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:40 PM   #20
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Because they're people, they exhibit the same range of attitudes as people in any field. Some are obstructionist when they should not be, and some are surprisingly helpful, even when it might not be in their best interests.
I remember being told there are 2 kinds of Quartermasters; one who will find a reg so you cannot have it, another will find a reg so you can.
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