The good, the bad and the ugly – talking politics at work

General advice holds that on a first date, you avoid politics, religion and whether you still live at home with your mom. The same can probably be said of the workplace, although in the current economy, the live-at-home choice will most likely be viewed as a fiscally responsible alternative (and she probably cooks better to boot).

Should you limit the political banter?

  • Where – in the lunchroom, private offices?
  • When – after hours, breaks?
  • How – written policies, a simple “no”?

Check out these four perspectives:

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Employee handbooks – just when you thought it was safe . . .

. . . to finalize what you have spent months reviewing, revising and beautifying, the DOL wants to make a teensy change and extend leave for military families. And to think, you were minutes away from sending it off to be leatherbound! To read more about the proposed FMLA changes, check out this article from our partners at Jackson Lewis – “DOL Proposes Revised FMLA Rules for Military Families and Airline Flight Crew Employees.” But at least you caught it ahead of time, which is more than these guys can say.

Aside

A little more t…

A little more than three months ago we introduced our first HR column – Hanna’s Recipe. Today, we are bringing you our second – Helpful Read – that will highlight books we think are worth your time. If you have any books you think we should share with everyone, shoot us an email at hru@accr.biz. And without further ado, Helpful Read number one.

Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

If practice makes perfect and the only constant in life is change, why is it so hard to make changes last? Because your brain is ruled by two different systems – the rational mind (wants the great body) and the emotional mind (wants the entire sleeve of Oreo cookies) – and those two systems don’t easily co-exist.

How do you make them play nice? One way is to ask the simple question “What is working, and how can we do more of it?”. Another is to follow these three steps:

  1. Motivate the elephant
  2. Direct the rider
  3. Share the path

Need help with your elephant? Check out the review of Switch in Forbes (SPOILER ALERT: they call it a “must-read”).

Brainstorming – collaboration feeds innovation?

Um, nope.

At least if you believe Picasso (“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”), psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist (how do you argue with people with names like that?), Roy Williams from the MondayMorningMemo (this newsletter continually bends my mind, in a good way), Susan Cain in the New York Times, or John Steinbeck (“the group never invents anything.”).

How much of corporate America works in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all? Probably a lot.  Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.

Or is it?  Let us know your take here or twitterpinion us.

Aside

Lettuce help you with your social media policies . . . again

The NLRB is still cracking down on social media restrictions and – SPOILER ALERT! – employers may need to check their policies . . . again. Our partners at Barran Liebman have broken down the NLRB’s most recent memorandum regarding what employers should include in their social media policies. The gist is: you need to be more specific. Incidentally, that’s a lesson I learned long ago after sending my boyfriend to the grocery store for lettuce.

Check out “The Latest and Not-So-Greatest Updates Regarding Social Media Policies”here, and the differences between common types of lettuce here.

Another new HR column – Helpful Read

A little more than three months ago we introduced our first HR column – Hanna’s Recipe. Today, we are bringing you our second – Helpful Read – that will highlight books we think are worth your time. If you have any books you think we should share with everyone, shoot us an email by clicking here. And without further ado, Helpful Read number one.

Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

If practice makes perfect and the only constant in life is change, why is it so hard to make changes last? Because your brain is ruled by two different systems – the rational mind (wants the great body) and the emotional mind (wants the entire sleeve of Oreocookies) – and those two systems don’t easily co-exist.

How do you make them play nice? One way is to ask the simple question “What is working, and how can we do more of it?”. Another is to follow these three steps:

  1. Motivate the elephant
  2. Direct the rider
  3. Share the path

Need help with your elephant? Check out the review of Switch in Forbes (SPOILER ALERT: they call it a “must-read”).

Pawn Stars – questions for a job interview

Old Man: [to the applicant] “Are you married, son?”
Rick: [to his dad] “You’re not allowed to ask that kind of stuff.”
Old Man: “Why not?”
Rick: “That’s just the laws. Do you understand that?”
Old Man: “I just want to know if he’s got kids running around, if he’s responsible.”
Rick: “You can ask him questions but they have to be pertinent to the job.”
Old Man: “If he’s got kids it’s pertinent to the job, for he needs to feed ’em.”
Rick: “You’re not allowed to ask them if they’ve got kids.”
Old man: [frustrated] “Well, why are we even interviewing him if I can’t ask questions?”

Touché!

We all know there are questions we can and can’t ask during an interview, but don’t always remember what they are. Check out Chapter 3, Recruiting and hiring, of your Human Resources Manual for a list of can and can’t ask questions and click here for a good overview article by our partners at Fisher & Phillips.