31 Oct

5 Tricks & Treats Halloween Can Teach HR Managers


Halloween is here and so is our Friday blog post. So we combined the two and got a result as marvellous as Frankenstein’s Monster:  5 quick HR tips that Halloween can teach us.


It’s Halloween today, which means several things. It means children’s teeth are in for a tough 24 hours, that glitter, sellotape and face paint sales will rocket and that horror movies will dominate the weekend’s TV listings.

It’s also a time of year to learn something and we thought we’d help you do exactly that with this blog post. So we have 5 lessons that Human Resources Managers can take from Halloween which can help them in their everyday work.


1 – It’s so much easier when you’re prepared

Leaving your Halloween costume to last minute is a nightmare as most of us know. The shops are empty and only the worst costumes and decorations are left leaving you going out to a Halloween party in a Spiderman costume two sizes too small (believe me, I know this happens…).

But a little bit of preparation can turn your Halloween from a failure to a prize-winning success and the same rule, unsurprisingly, applies in business. HR departments can certainly benefit from being prepared, whether that means beginning recruitment processes extra early, getting some employee benefit advice well in advance of the annual review date or simply keeping records up to date in preparation for when they’ll be needed.


2 – That things aren’t necessarily what they seem

If one thing is certain at Halloween, it’s that there will be costumes. This can spell all sorts of confusion when it comes to recognising people and it’s important to remember that things aren’t always what they seem when it’s Halloween.

HR managers should keep this in mind too on the other 364 days of the year, especially in job interviews. The best HR staff and interviewers do this anyway, but it is never a bad idea to take everything that somebody says in an interview with a pinch of salt. People may not put on a mask or face paint for a job interview, but that doesn’t mean they show their true selves either and top HR professionals can test interviewees well enough to uncover the truth.


3 – That the end of the month always creeps up quickly

There is plenty of creeping about at Halloween, but worse than a villain creeping up on you is the day itself creeping up on you. The end of the month can always arrive so quickly and looking back today it seems like just a couple of days ago that the Halloween cakes started appearing in the bakery and the fake blood started popping up at the stands next to supermarket checkouts.

Particularly in HR, the end of the month is a deadline for many things and Halloween’s swift arrival can teach us to always be aware of the month end deadlines. Whether that’s for adding new starters to the pension scheme or ironing out issues with payroll, the end of the month is always closer than you think.


4 – That it is possible to always improve year after year

We all have that one friend who comes to every Halloween party with a costume so complex yet simple and professional yet cheap. Everybody at the party is in awe with those in the two sizes too small Spiderman costumes (yes, that would be me...) quickly congratulating them while the other partygoers who made an effort look on, jealous but impressed. And the whole room remembers what the firend's costume was last year and thinks “They’ve gone even better than last year yet again!”

The lesson here is that it is possible to out-do yourself time after time. Nobody is ever perfect, no matter how talented at their job or how great at making Halloween costumes. There is always room for improvement, which is why training is such an important aspect for companies and why smart HR departments put such effort into their training programmes.

It can be hard to pin down what kind of training each employee needs, but a little bit of effort and research can produce tailored training programmes which improve staff’s skills year after year just like our costume maker gets better and better.


5 – That knocking on the right doors can be fruitful

Trick or treat? Every house you went round as a kid was hit or miss. Some would pour more sugary sweets into your bag than you’d be allowed in a year, while others gave you nothing (or worse, they gave you fruit!).

The point is, though, that it’s important not to get discouraged. Just because the first door knocked on wasn’t fruitful (i.e, you got fruit rather than sweets) doesn’t mean the rest of them weren’t. When it comes to the internal politics of a company, HR departments know better than anyone else how important it is to ask for the resources you need again and again.

Eventually one of those requests will be fruitful. And that perseverance will have paid off.


Photo credit goes to Robert S Donovan

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