Author Topic: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies? UPDATE #73  (Read 21428 times)

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Morty'sCleaningLady

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How to get Human Resources to provide supplies? UPDATE #73
« on: July 11, 2014, 11:34:03 AM »
I work in a smallish company.  I'm one of the 25-30 employees at headquarters, while we have another 25 - 30 working at client sites and from their homes.  I repeatedly ask HR for some supplies and if I get them it takes days in the best scenario.

Yesterday, I stopped by the HR person's desk.  The ladies' room on my remote wing of the building was basically out of soap.  There are only two women that use that facility.  The other female employee is the daughter of one of the owner's but they are on a family vacation currently.  I did get a new bottle of soap today, but only after the HR rep whined that she'd just given me soap.  (I checked the calendar and it was at least six weeks ago.)  The HR rep suggested I just purchase a bottle, but the company won't reimburse me for that. 

All my pens are ones I've found left in the conference room or picked up at hotels when picking up new remote employees who are in for training.  I'm just about done with my legal pad and know it will take at least a week to get one, once I show her my cardboard bottom.  (I take paper out of the copier or printer to make due until I get another.) 

From conversations with others, I've learned that the HR rep doesn't just do this to me.  Other women and lower tiered men have the same problem.  My boss is useless about this. (He's a remote employee and when he does come to the office, he only associates with the officers (or if he has to, his staff).  In fact he thought my repeated request for a highlighter was hysterical.  He actually laughed at me.  I audit about 500 call center tickets a week for finite data encapsulated in prose, so a highlighter is a pretty useful tool.)

I'm not asking for soap hand milled by French nuns, Moleskin notebooks, or highlighters that dispense gold filigree.  I've already purchased my own highlighter, scissors and notecards (which live in my purse, so they don't get mistaken for corporate property) and not been reimbursed a penny for them.

Can I get some advice -- should I go to the HR lady's boss?  The HR lady has been here 10 years and gets the partners anything they want.  Should I suck it up and buy my own supplies until I can find another position?  (What kills me is that the office has regular outings that are far more expensive than soap and highlighters - frequently cocktail hour out, mostly on Tuesdays.  I go about once every three outings because I really don't want to spend my personal time on work stuff.  My point is that the company is very generous at outings (no drink limit for adult beverages) but won't get me soap for the washroom unless I beg multiple times.) 
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 02:19:44 PM by Morty'sCleaningLady »
Formerly Mrs.Bart

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 11:44:02 AM »
I'm anxious to hear the other eHell answers. 

I would submit a written list of items needed; dated and keep a copy.  After three days submit it again with 2ND REQUEST written clearly across the top with the new date.  I think this will probably solve the issue, if not it's time to mention it to her supervisor.

Part of the issue here is, how much do you love this job?  Is this the fight you want to have for the next month, five years, ten years?  Are you new here, maybe someone knows the "secret" to getting what you want.   

This is ridiculous ! I've always heard watch your pennies and the dollars will follow, but if you're so busy watching pennies you lose dollars, you've missed the goal.   

Why would you want to buy your own office supplies?  That's one of those - Why would I want to do that?  Crazy how some workplaces work. 
 

Phoebelion

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 11:51:03 AM »
Sort of had the same problem here til I took over ordering supplies.  We'd get one ream of 500 sheets of paper for 3 printers - and two printed customer invoices.  Didn't last 2 days.  We took turns asking for paper and going thru the inquisition.  Until the day I was so frustrated I lost it.  Left work for an attitude adjustment. 

The owner has me buying cheapo pens ($ .99 a dozen).  I buy (from my own pocket) gel pens as they are easier on arthritic hands.  I have to physically hold on to them as everyone wants them - even the owner.  I actually had to show him the receipt for them.  Just made me hold onto them tighter.  Woe is the person who plucks it right out of my hand. 

 Sorry - no suggestions outside of just plain rebelling.  Put in for what you need and just wait them out.  Can't do your job without supplies, can you?

Sorry - got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.


Cannonade

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 12:05:03 PM »
I wouldn't go over her head yet.  Try keeping an Excel sheet with your supply requests, that way you'll have easy access to the dates you last ordered when she gripes.  Also you might try ordering a week or two before you're out of a particular supply.  And maybe gradually upping your orders at some point to include a back-up.  i.e. you want two soap boxes.  One you use and one unopened.  When the first runs out, order a new one.

Can you raid her office for supplies?  Go to talk with her, forget your pen or pad.  Grab one off her desk.  Keep it when you leave!  >:D

Mergatroyd

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 12:10:09 PM »
"The bathroom needs soap. Is there some in the supplies room or would you like me to order some and have it charged to the company?"

Soap, pens, paper, whatever. Don't buy anything and expect them to reimburse you, if there ends up being lots in wherever its been hid, they'll tell you it was not required and refuse to pay you back.

I would think about bringing it up. "It's becoming very difficult to get supplies lately, even for the bathroom. Is the stock room running low or something? I've been writing on the recycling paper all week while trying to get a notepad. HR says I should supply my own, I was wondering if company policy has changed?"  Or some variation of. 

GreenBird

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2014, 12:15:56 PM »
I like the idea of formalizing your requests on paper and/or email (whatever you think might be taken more seriously).  Written requests are always harder to ignore.  I'd make the request look pretty much like an order form with a list of what supplies are needed - don't bury the list of what you need in text.  And I also like re-sending it with "2nd Request" after a few days of no response.

The other benefit of this is that you now have a paper trail of your requests, which puts you in a much more concrete position if you do end up going to HR Lady's boss, or trying again with your boss.  In fact, I'd keep a log of your supply requests, how many times you had to resubmit each request, and how long it actually takes to get each item.  This way you're not just whining "I can't get any supplies!"; you're demonstrating how much time is wasted trying to get the supplies you need to do your job.  Maybe your boss won't think it's so hilarious when you can document how much this problem hampers your ability to do your job. 

Sharnita

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2014, 12:20:12 PM »
lol, the joke is that teaching is the one job where you steal supplies from home to bring to work so I don't have a ton of advice. Could you use their bathroom every time yours is out of soap/TP/etc?

doodlemor

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 12:24:08 PM »
"The bathroom needs soap. Is there some in the supplies room or would you like me to order some and have it charged to the company?"

Soap, pens, paper, whatever. Don't buy anything and expect them to reimburse you, if there ends up being lots in wherever its been hid, they'll tell you it was not required and refuse to pay you back.

I would think about bringing it up. "It's becoming very difficult to get supplies lately, even for the bathroom. Is the stock room running low or something? I've been writing on the recycling paper all week while trying to get a notepad. HR says I should supply my own, I was wondering if company policy has changed?"  Or some variation of.

POD  This is ridiculous.  Stop buying stuff.  I'm PA/cantankerous enough that I would stop bringing my purse to work, and waste time looking for pens around the office to use if I had none. 

I also like the idea of documenting the requests for supplies.  The HR person is failing to do her job properly, and adding unnecessary stress.

Love Sharnita's idea.  Sneak in and steal the soap.

MrTango

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2014, 12:25:43 PM »
A couple things:

1) Stop buying anything yourself that is to be used for your employer's benefit.  That'll only encourage them to keep being cheap.

2) I'd start sending requests by email.  I'd also include a date by which you will need the supplies.  If the supplies have not appeared by that date, I'd forward the original email (from your sent folder), add "2nd Request" to the subject line, to the HR person and my manager stating that you made the below request on Date, and have not received the supplies, and indicate which task(s) you are unable to complete due to this lack of supplies.

The third request (if neccesary) would be copied to boss's boss, and each subsequent request would go one more step up the chain of command.  If that meant I was emailing the CEO of the company because I needed a highlighter to do my job, then so be it.

whatsanenigma

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2014, 12:47:57 PM »
The lack of soap and other restroom supplies might be considered a health issue.  Is there another part of your company that you can ask about this? Maybe phrase it as, we are really concerned about passing around our germs so we make sure to always wash our hands well, but we run out of soap frequently and would like to get a refill more often, how do we do this?

I am sure there are places to find flyers/posters/brochures about proper handwashing procedures and how important they are in the keeping down of illness (and illness-related absences!) that you could use for backup.

Also, it would put your company in a bad light if a customer/client/visitor/whoever happened to use that restroom and could not wash her hands.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 01:05:39 PM »
I absolutely would not purchase things to be used in the office from my own pocket unless I was guaranteed to get reimbursed.

I like the idea of putting all requests in writing, in an email, and giving it 24 to 48 hours for a response.  Then resending the email with 'Second Request'.  And giving it 24 to 48 hours.  And if there is still no response, I'd forward it to the person's supervisor.

Does HR have a storeroom and this woman is the keeper?  Or do things have to be ordered every time you need something?  If it is the latter, I'd create my own storage space in a lockable drawer and when things got escalated to the supervisor, ask to order enough to keep you stocked for a while.  And ask about ordering privileges for yourself, under the guise of increased productivity.  Having to scrounge for pens is ridiculous, never mind the soap, highlighter and notepad issues.
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Ginger G

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 01:08:20 PM »
I've worked in HR for 16 years, I'm currently an HR Director, and I've never heard of providing office and bathroom supplies to employees being a job function of HR before.  OUr maintenance and admin assistants take care of that.  So maybe that's part of the problem - she feels that is something she should not be doing in the first place.  However, if it's been made clear to her by upper management that it is part of her job, she needs to suck up and do it with a smile.  As others have already sad, I would email her your requests and if there's still no response, cc her boss.

ddawn23

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 02:03:56 PM »
I've never worked in HR, Ginger G, but I do work at a company about the size of OP's, and her description sounds about right.  Your title is one thing, but in reality you serve many different purposes.  (And often a title of X Department Director just means Only X Department Employee.)

TootsNYC

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 02:08:56 PM »
Though also, it sounds like you need an Office Manager--why don't you propose that you take that on, and then you can set up some logical systems for it.

mime

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Re: How to get Human Resources to provide supplies?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2014, 02:21:56 PM »
I agree with MrTango: Written request in email form. Then a few days later you send a 2nd request, followed by 3rd, etc.
When you send the 3rd request, cc: your boss on it. If/when you send a 4th request, cc: HR Lady's boss on it, possibly with email text saying something like "if you're not the right person to handle this order, please let me know who is."

If your requests are deemed unreasonable ::) by someone at a higher level, they'll tell you so and you can inquire about proper channels for workplace supplies. If your requests are deemed reasonable, they should start getting attention as you escalate. The others in your office who are having the same problems may also try the same approach. It would quickly bring light to a problem of a non-team-player.