5 tips from an evil HR director

Dilbert Catbert HR director

Can a comic be educational? Dilbert shows you can improve your HR and management in three simple drawings. Please meet Catbert, and learn from the most evil HR director in the fictional world.

Who is Catbert?

Catbert is a character in the Dilbert comic. For those of you who don’t know the Dilbert comic: it is a comic based on the (working) life of Dilbert. He is a engineer/developer who works for a company which excels in all the bad parts of capitalism, bureaucracy and management. Catbert is the HR director of the company and is mostly designated as the evil HR director.

What can you learn from an evil HR director?

The good thing about Catbert is that he is honest about his evilness. He lives to make the lives of of his employees as unpleasant as possible. While doing so, he shows you the things your employees dread the most about HR and management. If you pay attention, and prevent things that resemble some of his practices, your HR work will be better.

5 Catbert strips you should read

Please read these 5 strips and try to see if you can learn what to do (by seeing what not to do 😉 ) The answers can be found below the strips.

Unfair pay

Dilbert Catbert SalaryHave a honest and fair pay scheme. Don’t offer new people more than your current employees because they negotiate better. Try to pay everyone what they are worth based on objective facts when you hire them. Don’t fool yourself into thinking employees won’t find out you overpay a new employee…. because they will find out and be very unhappy the moment they do. Broken trust is hard to repair.

Mandatory unpaid overtime

Dilbert Catbert OvertimeWork-life balance is important! I know the term is hyped, but that doesn’t mean there is no truth to it. Employees that have enough time for their personal lives will perform better at work as well.

Random policies

Dilbert Catbert PolicyTry to prevent making new policies. I sometimes think the most important part of my job is to prevent and remove useless policies. Only create those that are truly necessary, and explain why the company needs them. Leave the rest open to your employees, who probably know best what to do during their day anyway.

Untrain your employees

Dilbert Catbert TrainingTrain your people! In order to grow your company, you need to grow your people. Stimulate them to learn and develop and it will have a positive effect on your company.


Dilbert Catbert HealthStimulate your colleagues to be healthy. Healthy people tend to be less sick and perform better.


There are a lot more Catbert strips on the Dilbert site; and it has a great search option as well. Just remember; Catbert is always wrong when it comes to HR (except in the very first picture at the top of this blog post 😉 ).

Can you find more funny Dilbert strips which are educational at the same time? Do you know another comic which we can learn from? Please share!


The Secret to Satisfied Employees

A talk on satisfied employees at TedX Delft

The secret to satisfied employees

Remember my post a while back discussing the secret to employee satisfaction? Well I have a great addition I want to share with you. Recently one of our directors, Wolter Smit, was asked to give a presentation at a local TedX event about passion at work and our secret to satisfied employees. During the talk he explains why trust is fundamental to (our) employee satisfaction, and gives more insight on our HR strategy. Enjoy!

The secret to Employee Satisfaction

Employee Satisfaction Survey
Employee Satisfaction Survey

The image above is a compilation of a employee satisfaction survey in the Dutch national newspaper ‘NRC‘.  The company I work for is TOPdesk and is ranked #2 on employee satisfaction in the annual ‘Best Employers Survey‘. We have managed to score top 3 in this survey for a few times the past 5 years. Those are great results, and you might be wondering how  we manage to get such good scores.

The secret to employee satisfaction

Let me burst an HR bubble: It has nothing to do with well written HR policies, or great salaries. The HR team does great work in making sure people are satisfied. But they achieve this by making sure nothing is the way of people trying to do their work, and stimulating people to do even more things they enjoy. This is important,  but not the secret to great employee satisfaction in my opinion.

So what is the secret to a nice workplace? Hire nice people; It is as simple as that. Although, actually finding, recognizing, and hiring nice people isn’t as easy as it sounds. All too often recruiters focus on knowledge and experience, while they should look for great personalities who are willing to learn and grow. If you hire skilled people who are a**holes, your company’s atmosphere will not thrive. If you hire nice talented people who are willing to contribute and make the most out of their job, the employee satisfaction will automatically rise. In my opinion, the employees make the great atmosphere and their own employee satisfaction. HR/Recruitment just have to make sure they don’t ruin it by hiring the wrong people.