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HR by the Numbers

May 26, 2000
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Related Topics: The HR Profession, Featured Article
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It's safe to say -- and we say it all the time -- that HR has changed, even since 1998. I give myself this time frame because two years ago is when Workforce first published the "Day in the Life of HR" survey. Former editor-in-chief Allan Halcrow understood that every day in human resources is a hectic one, and he was right. So we found the statistics to prove it. Now in our third celebration of a day in the life of HR, one thing is clear: You aren't stopping, not even for a breath. HR is evolving as a profession, but you're also changing to keep up with business altogether, not to mention (gasp) your personal lives. You juggle this on top of recruiting, compensation, benefits, training, labor disputes, retention, regulations, HR technology, diversity, legal issues, your own career -- I could go on. It's no wonder this survey is an annual event. So I'll let you speak for yourselves.

 

What time do you usually wake upon workdays?

In the pre-dawn pitch black

6:30

6:30-7

7-7:30

7:30-8

After 8

44.1%

34.8%

12.9%

6.5%

1.1%

07%

Indicate all the following you usually do before work:

Are you kidding? It takes all I have just to get to work

33.6%

Make lunch for yourself

33.4%

Get the kids ready for
school/day care

23.9%

Watch TV

23.8%

Read the newspaper

18.9%

Exercise/jog

18.2%

Drive the kids to school/day care

16.4%

Run errands

9%

Make lunch for the kids

8.9%

Work on office tasks brought home

6.8%

Attend work-related function (e.g., breakfast meeting)

6.6%

Check in with the office

5.8%

Care for parent or elderly relative

1.1%

What do you usually wear to work?

Business casual

54.6%

Business attire other than a suit
(e.g., shirt and tie without jacket)

23.9%

Complete business suit

16.5%

Beyond casual

5.1%

How much coffee do you drink per day?

None

2-3 cups

One cup

4-5 cups

So many that the employees at the local Starbucks rejoice when I arrive

37.3%

27.5%

21.5%

10.5%

3.2%

How do you commute to work?

Drive alone

Drive in a carpool

Bus or subway

Train

Walk

Telecommute

Bicycle

Chauffeur-driven limo

83.8%

6.2%

5.4%

2.3%

1.5%

0.4%

0.2%

0.1%

Do you use your cell phone while you drive?

Only if it's an emergency

42.6%

No, I'm supposed to be driving

39.3%

Yes, that's how I do a lot of my work

18.1%

What time do you usually arrive at the office?

Between 7-8

Between 8-9

In the dark

After 9

Whenever I please

52.3%

32.9%

10.4%

3.2%

1.3%

Do you have to pass through security at work?

No

Yes

Depends which part of
the facility I enter

64.5%

31%

4.4%

What is your office space like?

Private office with door

68.7%

Open workstation

24.2%

Share an office with door

6.3%

I have no assigned workspace

0.8%

How much time is spent in your workspace?

Most of it

About half the day

All of it

Only a couple of hours a day

Almost none

57.9%

29.1%

9.5%

3.3%

0.1%

Whom do you report to?

Senior HR officer

President/CEO

Other

CFO

Plant/site manager

COO

(Among those who chose "Other," responses included vice president of HR, HR director or manager, and controller.)

33%

30.8%

17.8%

7.1%

6.5%

4.8%

Do you have any direct reports?

Yes

No

57.7%

42.3%

What's the first thing you do at work?

Check e-mail

45.7%

Check voice-mail

35.9%

Get coffee

8.4%

Get right to work

4%

Talk with co-workers about work

2.4%

Use restroom

1.9%

Talk with co-workers about the weekend, TV shows, the news, etc.

1%

Check snail-mail

0.6%

Read the newspaper

0.2%

How often does your computer system crash?

Almost never

46.5%

Once a month or so

23.8%

Once a week or so

16.3%

Only when I am depending on it most

7.7%

At least once daily

5.6%

How many e-mails do you get per day?

6-25

26-50

1-5

More than 50

None

I stop counting when the
computer overloads

54.1%

24.1%

11%

8.7%

1.5%

0.6%

How long do you spend answering e-mails?

31-60 minutes

16-30 minutes

More than an hour

15 minutes or less

It has become a full-time job; I do the rest of my work after hours

32.1%

27.2%

23.6%

15%

2.1%

How much non-work e-mail do you get?

Some

None

About half

Most of it

You mean, I'm supposed to
use e-mail for work?

72.7%

16.7%

8.1%

2.5%

0%

What percentage of your day is spent
on routine or administrative tasks?

Some
(two or three hours a day)

40.9%

About half the time

25%

Very little
(less than an hour a day)

16.9%

Most of the time
(five or six hours a day)

16%

All the time

0.7%

None

0.4%

How much time is spent on strategic issues?

Some
(two or three hours a day)

41.8%

Very little
(less than an hour a day)

38.8%

About half the time

13.6%

Most of the time
(five or six hours a day)

3.6%

None

2.1%

All the time

0.1%

How much time do you spend on consultative
or developmental projects?

Some
(two or three hours a day)

48.4%

Very little
(less than an hour a day)

31.7%

About half the time

10.9%

Most of the time
(five or six hours a day)

5.2%

None

3.9%

All the time

0%

How much of your time is spent responding
to a crisis or problem presented to you
by someone else in the organization?

Some
(two or three hours a day)

44%

Very little
(less than an hour a day)

34.7%

About half the time

14.7%

Most of the time
(five or six hours a day)

4%

All the time

1.3%

None

1.3%

With whom are you most likely to share strategic ideas first?

Co-worker in HR

President/CEO

VP of HR

Co-worker not in HR

CFO

My dog or cat

30.4%

24.9%

19%

13.4%

8.6%

3.7%

Do you enjoy being an HR professional?

I love it

53.2%

I would like to do more
than I take on

20.8%

I enjoy some aspects of the job

22.3%

I could be doing better things

2.8%

No

0.9%

Which age group do you mostly deal with?

Baby Boomers

Gen Xers

Net Generation

WWIIers

60.8%

33.7%

3.8%

1.8%

Would you encourage others to pursue a career
in HR/workforce management?

Only if they're still interested after I explain "Real HR"

35.3%

Absolutely

32.9%

Only if I knew that individual were committed enough

30.1%

I wouldn't wish it for my worst enemy

1.7%

Which HR guru do you most identify with?

I don't follow one guru but take good ideas from many resources

32.5%

Dave Ulrich, author of Human Resource Champions

29.5%

Other

18.8%

Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute

15.8%

Jac Fitz-enz, believer in "tough love" HR

15%

Bob Nelson, the motivation master

13.6%

Bob Pike, trainer extraordinaire

7.3%

(Of those who chose "Other," responses included Stephen R. Covey, Ken Blanchard, Lou Adler, and Daniel Goleman of Emotional Intelligence fame.)

How many meetings do you attend each day?

1

2-3

None

4-6

More than 6

46.2%

41.4%

8.6%

3.7%

0.1%

How long does an average meeting last?

31-60 minutes

1-2 hours

15-30 minutes

More than 2 hours

58.7%

20.6%

19.2%

1.5%

How would you characterize these meetings?

Necessary but disorganized

34.9%

Necessary and efficient but uninspiring

28.2%

Well-organized, compelling, and productive

18.1%

Largely worthless, with scattered moments of value

17.5%

A complete waste of time

1.3%

Mark all things that occupy your
mind during meetings.

Listening carefully

67.8%

Considering how best to make my point

40.7%

Thinking about the work that isn't getting done while I'm in the meeting

34.1%

Talking

19.2%

Thinking about personal things (e.g., tonight's dinner)

12.7%

Doodling

11.5%

Playing buzzword bingo

1.6%

Whose numbers are in your speed dial?

None; phone doesn't have speed dial option

33.1%

Home

23.6%

None; I don't know how to use speed dial option

22.6%

Others in my department

21.1%

My boss

14.7%

Corporate insurance carrier

8.3%

The corporate labor attorney

7.9%

My secretary

5.6%

How do you usually spend your lunch hour?

I work through lunch

Eating

Running errands

Reading

Working out

In a meeting or business lunch

41%

34%

12.4%

7%

3.2%

2.4%

How many voice-mail messages do you get on
the average day?

1-10

11-25

None

26-50

More than 50

60.4%

28.1%

7.2%

4.2%

0.1%

How deep is your in-box stack right now?

Between 1/2" and 2"

1/2" or less

2-6"

6-12"

More than 1"

It's taller than my children

32.6%

24.9%

24.2%

12.2%

4.2%

2%

How often do you give a formal business
presentation to a group of at least 20 people?

Once or twice a year

Several times a year

Never

Monthly

Weekly

Several times a week

31.4%

30.1%

18.1%

14.9%

4.1%

1.4%

How often do you travel for business?

Once or twice a year

Several times a year

Never

Monthly

Weekly

41.3%

29.3%

16.9%

9.3%

3.2%

Why do you usually travel on business?

To visit corporate subsidiary/satellite office

28.1%

Training

25.2%

To attend trade show or conference

23.7%

Other

11.2%

To visit corporate headquarters

10.5%

To visit vendor/supplier

1.4%

(Of those who chose "Other," responses included recruitment, visiting customers, to provide or receive training, and to attend conferences.)

How long is your average trip?

2-3 days

Overnight

4-5 days

Longer than 5 days

48.8%

41.6%

8.3%

1.3%

How often do you telecommute from home?

Never

A few days a year

Once a month

Regularly

Once a week

65.2%

23%

5.3%

3.7%

2.8%

How long a vacation do you usually take?

A series of short (2-4 days) vacations

40.9%

1 week

35.1%

2 weeks

15.2%

3 weeks

3.8%

More than 3 weeks

3%

I don't take a vacation

2.1%

Where are you most likely to go on vacation?

Recreation more than 100 miles away

29.2%

Other major U.S. city

23.9%

Recreation (e.g., ski resort) nearby(within 100 miles)

15.8%

My living room

13.2%

Tropics (e.g., Hawaii, Caribbean)

12.2%

Major city outside U.S

5.8%

Which fringe benefits would you most want?

One day off every two weeks

Concierge services

Chiropractor

Pet insurance

Acupuncture

Tequila

73.6%

10.1%

6.6%

4.5%

2.7%

2.6%

With whom do you spend most of your time?

Colleagues in HR

Employees

Line Managers

No one ... I work alone

Boss (other than the CEO)

CEO

34.4%

29.6%

17.3%

13.5%

2.6%

2.5%

Which is your favorite news source?

Local or network news

CNN

Other

USA Today

Wall Street Journal

New York Times

Bloomberg

(Among those who chose "Other," responses included National Public Radio, local newspapers, Yahoo!, MSNBC, and The Washington Post.)

45.3%

17.4%

17%

7.9%

7.6%

3.9%

0.9%

How much time do you spend on the Internet
during the average day?

16-30 minutes

31-60 minutes

More than an hour

15 minutes or less

None

31.8%

25.6%

24.4%

15.7%

2.4%

Which search engine(s) do you use?
(Please mark all that apply):

Yahoo

Alta Vista

Excite

Lycos

Other

AOL

Ask Jeeves

(Among those who chose "Other," responses included Microsoft Network (MSN), Dogpile.com, Google, GoTo.com, iwon.com, and Monster.com.)

71.6%

29.8%

26.6%

24.8%

22%

21.1%

16%

At work, how do you use the Internet?

HR research

81%

HR legal tips/advice

60%

Breaking news

32.1%

Posting open jobs

27.3%

Looking for job candidates

23.7%

HR networking (e.g., discussion forums)

22.8%

Research for non-work-related material

20.9%

HR humor, surveys, etc.

20.2%

Purchase HR products and services

18.2%

Just goofing off

14.5%

Looking for another job

10.4%

Which party do you tend to vote for?

Democrats

Republicans

I don't vote

Independent

Green

Socialist

Reform

40.7%

39.2%

9.8%

9.3%

0.4%

0.4%

0.2%

Which associations do you belong to?

HR associations

71.1%

Industry-related professional associations

26.1%

General business/networking groups

21.1%

Religious-affiliated groups

15%

What time do you usually leave the office?

5-5:30

5:30-6

6-7

4-5

After 7

There is no "usually"

Before 4

32%

20.7%

17%

16.8%

6.3%

4.9%

2.3%

What do you usually do on the way home?

Nothing (I go straight home)

48.4%

Run errands

43.2%

Stop at grocery store

34.2%

Pick up food at restaurant/fast food

19%

Pick up children

14.4%

Work out

11.2%

Meet someone at a restaurant

9.3%

Visit elderly parent or relative

2.4%

Which office leash do you use most?

None; I try to keep the office" where it is

44.4%

Cell phone

19.1%

E-mail at home

12.6%

Regular phone

11.2%

Pager

7.9%

PDA (i.e., Palm Pilot or similar)

3%

Other

1.7%

Fax machine at home

0.1%

(Among those who chose "Other," responses included laptop computer and briefcase.)

Mark the activities you are most likely to do on a typical evening:

Eat dinner

Watch TV

Read

Household chores

Cook dinner

Do work brought from the office

Surf the Internet

Care for children

Exercise alone

Pursue hobby

Go to movie/sporting event

Volunteer

Play computer games

Go to a community meeting

Participate in competitive sports

90%

76.8%

67.3%

56.8%

53.7%

30.9%

27.6%

26.5%

26.2%

19.4%

13.6%

11.8%

11%

10.3%

5.2%

What do you do for exercise?

Walk

55.5%

Weightlifting

22.1%

Run/jog

18.5%

Aerobics

17.8%

I don't

16.6%

Chase my kids

13.9%

Swim

7.8%

Organized sports (e.g., softball league)

7.5%

Yoga

6.7%

Which TV show is your favorite?

Other

ER

The Sopranos

The West Wing

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

60 Minutes

Whatever is on PBS

Monday Night Football

VH1: Behind the Music

COPS

Larry King Live

(Among those who chose "Other," responses included The X-Files, Ally McBeal, Frazier, and Star Trek Voyager.)

37.3%

18.2%

9.8%

7.9%

7.7%

5.4%

4.9%

3.9%

2.9%

1.5%

0.5%

Which of these movies would you likely see?

American Beauty

The Green Mile

Who can afford the popcorn?

Snow Day

Scream 3

39.9%

34.3%

17.6%

4.2%

4%

If you were to appear on the game show
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,"
who would be your "lifeline"?

Friend

Spouse

Parent

Other relative

Co-worker

Son or daughter

Boss

31.6%

28%

12.9%

12.1%

5.6%

5%

5%

What time do you usually get to sleep?

10:30-11

10-10:30

11-11:30

9-10

11:30-12

After 12

23.7%

23.3%

20.7%

13.8%

13.2%

5.3%

What is your gender?

Female

Male

75.5%

24.5%

What is your age?

Average

Median

39.3

39

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