Tag Archives: Facebook

The Rules of HR


Not all rules are created equal

No More Rules
No More Rules (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human society is based upon laws and rules.  Rules put the civil in civilization. Rules also put the profesh in professional..or something like that.

Most professionals, including HR professionals also develop a personal code of ethical conduct that helps guide our conduct in the workplace. Personally, I have found this to be useful.

Let’s look at both sides of this coin.

Professional Rules

SHRM has a code of ethics for HR professionals that were published in November 2007.  I’m excerpting highlights, but you can find the click on the link to find the full SHRM Code of Ethics.




Core Principle

As HR professionals, we are responsible for adding value to the organizations we serve and contributing to the ethical success of those organizations. We accept professional responsibility for our individual decisions and actions. We are also advocates for the profession by engaging in activities that enhance its credibility and value.


Core Principle

As professionals we must strive to meet the highest standards of competence and commit to strengthen our competencies on a continuous basis.


Core Principle

HR professionals are expected to exhibit individual leadership as a role model for maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct.


Core Principle

As human resource professionals, we are ethically responsible for promoting and fostering fairness and justice for all employees and their organizations.


Core Principle

As HR professionals, we must maintain a high level of trust with our stakeholders. We must protect the interests of our stakeholders as well as our professional integrity and should not engage in activities that create actual, apparent, or potential conflicts of interest.


Core Principle

HR professionals consider and protect the rights of individuals, especially in the acquisition and dissemination of information while ensuring truthful communications and facilitating informed decision-making.

Personal Rules

Good stuff really, filled with high minded principles and professionally appropriate jargon that we should all take to heart as HR professionals and practice inn the workplace on a daily basis.  The problem with high minded principles, for me at least is that they don’t answer real world questions very well.

I’m talking about a question like: “Is it appropriate to be personal friends with professional colleagues?”  

This question was always a personal conundrum for me, especially early on in my career.  I had a hard time reconciling how I could be friends with people I saw every day in the workplace because I was afraid it would compromise me professionally if I ever had to participate in a disciplinary action, or a termination action involving one of them.

Early on in my career, I took the coward’s way out, electing not to establish any type of personal friendships in the workplace.  This was one of my first personal rules of HR conduct.

It was a terrible error in judgement.  It hurt me personally and professionally. Co-workers perceived me as aloof and unfriendly.  It took me a few years in the profession to figure this out, and a few more years before I learned to correctly balance the personal and professional aspects of workplace friendship.  I’ve been a much happier and complete human being since I gave that personal rule up.

Another question I still struggle with is “When is it ok to give a professional colleague a personal compliment?”  I’m not talking about compliments like “great job on the Spacely Sprocket acquisition!”.  I mean stuff like “great dress”, “Nice shoes”, and “You look mahvelous.”  I’m not talking about creepy stuff here, just sincere heartfelt compliments. Every time I say something like this to someone, especially someone of the opposite sex I begin to question myself, and the appropriateness of the action.

I experienced this again recently when I saw a really good picture of Rayanne Thorn with her kids. She looked so happy and radiant, it was just wonderful. I sent her a DM on Facebook that I thought she looked gorgeous (which she did).  Then I apologized for sending her a compliment.  Kind of like giving a  Christmas gift and telling someone they are going to hate it when they open it.  Rayanne reassured me it was a nice thing to hear.

One of the personal rules that has stood the test of time is “Refrain from sharing your personal religious and political beliefs” with your co-workers.  People hate that.

I’m still defining my personal rules of HR.  Which ones do you struggle with? I’d love to hear from you.






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The True Joy of Business Travel

The Story Behind Geriatric Happy Hour

This week I headed out on my first business trip of the year, an overnight jaunt to Deerfield Beach FL to deliver a update on developing labor relations trends to a management team.

A room with a king bed at the Hampton Inn.   Lunch at Taco Prince.  Dinner on the way home via the Publix deli. Sounds glamorous, right?

There are some fun parts to business travel for me.

I love taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with people, which I did on this trip by having lunch with an HR colleague.   That’s great stuff for personal and professional networking.

What I love the most though is the opportunity to find ways to watch people and find fun stories.  On this trip, I had a tremendously fun experience.  I went to Duffy’s Sports Grill to watch a rebroadcast of the Women’s Hockey game between the USA and Canada.  This was during Happy Hour, which was 2 for 1.  The bar was packed with local senior citizenry, many of whom I would bet congregate there on a daily basis.  They were drinking and carrying on like grade school kids, cracking jokes and cackling.  They literally had me rolling off my bar stool in laughter.  I shared some of the gems on Facebook as I heard them.

I present them here for your amusement.

Overheard at geriatric happy hour

I just had my second knee replacement.

it’s 2 for 1, right? I’d like a red wine and a white wine. I like to live dangerously!

I’m so old I can remember when a cigar was just a cigar, and you were actually allowed to smoke them.

She was going to divorce him, but then he died.

That kid Reagan, he turned out to be a good President after all.

Canada, Is that near Cuba?

I told my wife to order me an Old Fat Bastard, and she said WTH would I do with two of you?

Somebody is putting the shit we say on Facebook! Wtf?

2 for 1? Johnny Walker Black, Double it up and make sure I get another one before happy hour ends!

Is there anything better than hanging out at a geriatric happy hour in South Florida?

Only one thing, seeing a guy wearing driving gloves while cruising in his NIssan Versa on the Florida Turnpike


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WhatsApp with all the chat apps

 I chat, you chat, WeChat

WhatsApp (Photo credit: abulhussain)

I was astonished to hear that Facebook was going to pay $16 (or maybe $19) billion dollars for WhatApp.  It’s an incredible amount of money for a messaging app.  I read somewhere that the price translates to something like $43 per user.  I mean, wow.

I was slightly less surprised (but not that much) at how many people had never even heard of WhatsApp, including many  people who are socially well connected early adopters.  Personally, I had downloaded WhatsApp, but didn’t really find it that useful since only a handful of my friends were using it, and we were already connected on several other messaging platforms.  None of us were using the biggest networking tool in the world.

Check out the data in the Slideshare deck embedded in this post.  According to their data, WhatsApp surpassed even Facebook as the leader in mobile messaging.  And it’s not just WhatsApp, there are a bunch of WhatsApp alternatives out there that are rapidly becoming the preferred method of communication for many.

If you’re interested in learning more about  this technology, check out the much cheaper to acquire app  Viber, Kakao Talk, Line or WeChat. You can learn all about the wonderful world of stickers.


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Labor Relations Round ’em up, head ’em out…Rawhide! #NLRB

Labor Relations Roundup

Chicago (Photo credits: www.roadtrafficsigns.com)

I’ve been on a roll with NLRB posts this week, so it makes sense to finish up a few more tidbits from the wonderful wacky world of the National Labor Relations Board.

Voting at Volkswagon ends tonight

We’ll know late tonight whether or not the UAW has finally achieved their long cherished objective to organize an automotive plant located in a southern state here in the US.  At least, we’ll know the outcome of act one, the legal curtain won’t drop on this one for a long time.  Polls close at 8:30 PM. stay tuned.

NLRB hearing begins in NU football players’ quest for union

Then there’s the football union thing…

The Chicago Sun-Time reports that the NLRB conducted a hearing regarding the effort by student athletes at Northwestern University seeking to organize a union to represent their interests as football players for the school.  The hearing was held at the NLRB’s Chicago office.

An attorney representing the College Athletes Players Association, which the Wildcats players started, said CAPA is not alleging that Northwestern University has violated NCAA rules.

Instead, he said CAPA intends to “demolish the myth” created by the NCAA that student-athletes — who receive scholarships, bring in “billions of dollars of revenue” to their schools and spend more than 40 hours a week in their sports training and activities — are not employees.

Northwestern University’s attorney, Alex V. Barbour, argued that the players are students first and foremost and that their scholarships provide an educational experience. He cited a 2004 NLRB case in which graduate-student teachers at Brown University were deemed to have no right to unionize.

NLRB Says Union Not Responsible For Member Facebook Posts

and there’s another NLRB Facebook thing in which the Board says it’s ok to call your fellow union members “scabs”.  The Board  ruled that it would not require a union local to take down negative Facebook comments on a union Facebook in which some workers directed negative comments towards co-workers who crossed a picket line during a strike.


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What’s open on your Smart Phone?

Image representing Spotify as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Every once in a while, I see a travel web site or an airline in-flight magazine will run a story featuring what essential items some semi-famous traveller takes along in their briefcase or purse.

Today, I’m going to do the same thing except it’s going to be about what apps are always open on my iPhone.

Today these include:

• Apple stock market app
• Safari browser
• WordPress app for iPhone
• Hilton Hhonors app
-• Delta Airlines app
• LinkedIn app
• Facebook app
• Twitter app
• Radian6 app
• Kindle app
• Yahoo Fantasy Hockey 2014 app
• Gmail app
• iTunes
• Spotify app
• Trello app

No wonder my battery is dying all the time!

What’s open on your Smartphone?

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Leadership lessons from the Yellow Brick Road

This is the funniest thing I saw on Facebook this week.


From the archives 8-8-2010


Leadership Archetypes in the Wizard of Oz

I am convinced that an archetype for almost any life situation can be found reflected in the film “The Wizard of Oz”.    I know, that sounds  weird, but go with me on this for a moment.

For example, here is everything you need to know to be successful in leadership,  framed in the archetypes that are found in the Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy, the Ingenue, is young and endearing, dewy-eyed and innocent.  She is pretty much lost in the new environment of Oz, relying on the kindness of strangers to help her find her way around.  According to Wikipedia, this term comes from the French adjective ingénu meaning “ingenuous” or innocent, virtuous, and candid. The term also implies a lack of sophistication and cunning.

You will not survive long in Oz or as a leader if you stay in this state, but it is a good starting place, heading bravely off down the virtual yellow brick road trying to get where you want to go, just like the plucky Dorothy.

The Cowardly Lion, or Courage, is a strange combination of confidence and cowardice.  Ostensibly, the King of the Forest, the Lion turns out to be a coward, until he confronts numerous trials and challenges, learning self-confidence and bravery along the way.   By delving into the mysteries of work, spending some time dealing with people, you will become more confident and brave in your approach.

The Tin Man, or Heart, is the emotional archetype.  He embodies the things that we are passionate about.   You can be passionate about people, or work, or your career, but that is not enough by itself.

The Scarecrow, or the Brain is the archetype for knowledge and learning.  This should not be confused with expertise.  The scarecrow becomes smarter as he travels through Oz with the group, but he is still physically challenged and frail.  His brain is only part of the total story, just as expertise is only one part of the total equation of leadership.

The Wizard of Oz, or the Answer Man, the guy who can solve all problems turns out to be just a guy who got lost when his balloon malfunctioned.  He has no real magic, and no super-powers.  He is just a dude who can talk his way around the room, selling snake oil.   He may be the perfect archetype stand-in for the social media guru of today, but he is not sufficient to lead an organization successfully.

The Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, the Good Witch of the East, a pair of counter-balancing characters who do have magic powers, but are still unable to to effectively accomplish their goals, or deliver a simple complete solution.  They represent the villian, and the guide respectively.  These are factors in leadership, but not solutions.

Toto, or the faithful companion, who stays at Dorothy’s side through thick and thin, providing comfort, loyalty and support.  This is another important archetype as a support figure.

So, here we have eight characters representing eight archetypes, none of them able to lead with their singular style or strength.    So what is the lesson of the film? It’s simple.  The ability to accomplish the goal, or overcome the obstacle is found in the combined strengths and skills of all the archetypes working together towards a common goal.   This is the true lesson found in the story of the Wizard of Oz.

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Just like Jelly roll

 Jelly, but no crunchy peanut butter

There are probably a bunch of posts out there on this already, but I haven’t read any yet.  Here’s a quick take on Jelly, the new crowd-source driven search app from Biz Stone.

Gratuitous song lyrics:

And it stoned me to my soul
Stoned me just like jelly roll
And it stoned me
And it stoned me to my soul
Stoned me just like goin home
And it stoned me”

Basically Jelly allows you to send a picture and a question out to your Facebook and Twitter connections and get your question answered via the Crowd.

It’s cute.  It’s kind of fun, and it feels like Snapchat, in that “I’m not sure exactly why I need this” way.  I haven’t played with it enough to do it justice yet.  There might be some utility there.  I know of at least one really smart HR social recruiter who is using it, but I haven’t checked out her stuff yet.

Here’s an article with a number of interesting suggestions about how early adopter brands might be able to put it to work.  Are you ready for this Jelly?



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A major milestone and some news


Marking a major milestone and a transition

Today’s post represents the 1,455th post I have published here on the HRH blog since I first created the site on July 14, 2007.  That means I have just 45 to go to hit 1500 posts.  That will happen on March 9th.  It’s going to be kind of a big day.   It’s also going to be the last time I post on HRH.  On March 10th, I’ll be moving my content over to a new site with the unwieldy name of….yeah, you guessed it.  “MichaelVanDervort.com“.

Typically, it’s all about me, and maybe a few other things, old and new.

IN the meantime, you might get a kick out of reading this random scribbling that I posted on July 23, 2007 in which I think very deep thoughts about the social media, the future of HR and the meaning life.   I seem like such an ingenue. and yes, I even published it in that blue script.  It was also the first thing I ever wrote that was seen by double digit readers, 19 people to be exact, according to my blogger analytics.

Social Networking and the Flat World

On April 24th, I was in New Century, KS attending a session on using the SAP HR module, and one of my colleagues from Copenhagen, Denmark asked me if I had ever heard of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn?” I said curiously, “What’s that?”

“I’ll send you an invitation.” My colleague, Nicolai said, and he did.

Since then, approximately 3.5 months has passed. As of 7:42 this morning, through LinkedIn, I have:

· Established exactly 900 connections from all around the globe on LinkedIn.
· Corresponded or talked with a large number of these people
· Found old friends, family members I haven’t seen in years, and networked with a number of former professional contacts.
· I have been contacted by several companies regarding possible job opportunities.
· I have used the site to source experts and vendors for projects for clients

I have also begun to examine the impact my relatively new found interest in social networking has had on me personally, and to ponder the way these tools will affect the Human Resources field in the next couple of years.

I am interested in Social or Open Networking for many reasons. These range from the simple to the complex. The simple question: Who, Where, What, Why, and When can I encounter someone who will assist me or help me grow as a professional and an individual?

The more complex idea: We do indeed live in a Flat World. As a result of this flattening, a convergence of the technological and the sociological aspects of the Internet is occurring that I believe is already vastly influencing and changing the way we do things in our daily lives, as much the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web did in the past few decades.

I am not a technologist or a sociologist, but my professional work is in the field of Human Resources and most of my personal interests revolve around things that involve groups of people. Therefore, I am interested in how this convergence affects my work and my life. I seek to understand how it will work and have jumped into the water with both feet to examine how social networking and Web 2.0 can lead me towards practicing HR 2.0 as a professional, and add value to my personal life by developing networks around the globe for sharing of best work practices, career opportunities, and perhaps even personal relationships in places where they wouldn’t have existed without this medium.

Since April 24, in trying to understand social networking

· I have joined Xinghttps://www.xing.com/profile/Michael_Vandervort

· I have joined Ning.

· I have joined Viadeo.

· I have joined Ecademyhttp://www.ecademy.com/account.php?id=186529

· I am on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=549337373

· I use Plaxo Plus to keep my finger on the Pulse of all of this. http://pulse.plaxo.com/pulse/events/

· This morning I joined Brijj.com which is a social networking site for India.

This represents around 2000 individuals I am networking with around the world at various levels. One of these people found a job through a referral I made. Business relationships are currently being developed through the power of LinkedIn connectivity. I hope to do a live LI event in the Tampa Bay area in October with some colleagues I have met in the HR community to promote these types of tools and the power they bring to your daily life if you learn how to use them.

All of this just scratches the surface.

Oh yes, the other things that have happened in my life since April 24th?

· My company changed hands.
· I became a grandfather.
· I turned 50.
· My wife went to India and back for the second time this year.
· The stock market hit an all time high and then plummeted like someone pulled the plug.
· My daughter went to Mexico for two months and came back.
· Bunches of other stuff too numerous to mention…welcome to the Flat World!


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The #Coffeeshot Project

Discovering Community through shared moments

Gators (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

About a year ago, I started posting a semi-regular photo feature on Facebook and Instagram that I entitled #Coffeeshots.  It was basically my way of a moment from the start of my day.  Since I travel a great deal, it was also a fun way to share where I was working or playing.  I enjoyed it, and it almost always prompts a few responses from the social media sphere, so it was a fun way to say hi to the community. I didn’t really have any higher expectation than that for this little side project, but I have learned a few surprising things along the way as I shared my #coffeeshot moments.

I’m a little bit better photographer than I was a year ago.  It’s really boring for everyone, including me to just run a shot of a cup of coffee every day, so it didn’t take me long to figure out I needed to include outdoor shots or people shots or shots of the barista who made my coffee.  I have tried to stay away from too many candid people shots,  I’ve learned to use angles or the occasional naturally occurring silhouette opportunity.  I’ve also developed a better eye for “good” shots.  I’m not claiming to be a really good photographer like Heather Bussing or Steph Grant, but I do have a better eye for a photo, so +1 on that.

Here’s the #coffeeshot from today, taken at Starbucks in Lakeland Florida.  It’s pretentiously entitled “Ladies of Starbucks”, and the lady in gray reflects the sky as well as the feel of the day here in Florida today. She was also interesting to talk to.  This is the second learning.

Coffee is a community unto itself.  People who drink it constitute a shared global community.  At any coffee shop, Starbucks or an awesome local independent like Black and Brew here in Lakeland, you can easily drop insert yourself into fascinating conversations, find business groups, learn about local events, and generally widen your scope if you choose to do so.  That may sound oddly grandiose, but I believe it.  Coffee shops are my favorite place to work and to people watch.  Starbucks runs their whole business model off of this.

Since I started the #coffeeshot project, I’ve largely focused on sharing picture and places.  I’m going to change the game up soon.  #Coffeeshots is going to morph from just photos into an interview series – some print, some video, maybe even a podcast.   It will focus on the people who hang out in coffee shops, and their stories – probably a lot of work and business, but hopefully more.  More to come soon.  And if you are a coffee company looking for something new to share with your community, hit me up.

Thanks for reading this self-indulgent post. Talk to you tomorrow!




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Cheap Trick Thursday: Old School Social Recruiting Tip

 Invite Good Candidates to Apply

Wait staff w our food
Wait staff w our food (Photo credit: Food-ie Cho)

The title on today’s post is almost as long as the post itself.  Long before Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn came along, I used to utilize a really cheap social recruiting methodology on a regular basis.  Many of the managers that I work with today still use it to recruit new talent at Publix.

Here it is in a nutshell.   If you are out and about in your local market and encounter someone who delivers great service, or shows a terrific work ethic, take note of that and thank them.  Then pull your business card from your pocket and tell them about the great place you work, and how you think they might make a great fit for that organization and invite them to come in and apply sometime.

Talent pipeline.  Boom.  It works especially well in the service industry sectors.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s cheap and effective.  You’re welcome.

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