#SHRM18 Speaker Spotlight: A One-on-One interview with Jonathan Segal

Jonathan Segal is a Partner at Duane Morris, LLP. He has been cited as a national authority on employment issues in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, to name just 3. Jonathan’s many accomplishments are listed on the SHRM18 Conference page.

As an HR professional, I’ve always attended various employment workshops. Jonathan is one of the lawyers I followed on Social Media and I often retweet him or share his articles on LinkedIn. When we were assigned to pick a speaker to interview, I knew I wanted to interview him. You can also follow him on Twitter.

I am thankful that he was willing to share his personal thoughts on HR matters, sexual harassment training, workplace culture, and leadership. This interview will surely encourage you to sign up to his sessions at SHRM18.

GT: As a lawyer, how did you decide to specialize in Employment Law?

JS: I decided to become an employment lawyer because it focuses on people and the relationships between them.  I also think employment/HR issues are both interesting and incredibly important.

I have a particular passion for issues involving equality. As employers, we can do a lot to make equality a reality and not just a policy.

My passion for equality is a natural outgrowth of my upbringing.  My parents—and my grandparents—were both role models and messengers that there is nothing you cannot do because of your gender and nothing you must do because of it

Most of my family was killed in the Holocaust, and my grandparents were proud and productive immigrants.  These facts also inform how I see the world and the role I want to play in it. 

HR is the bridge to compliance and culture

GT: Your topics at SHRM18 are all related to Sexual Harassment, do you think with the #MeToo movement, training will be taken more seriously, and harassment claims will be better handled?

JS: We hear a lot about compliance and culture. Some suggest it is one or the other. I think we need to marry the two.  Our compliance must take into account our culture and our culture must reflect the values underlying our compliance obligations.

I love your term “bridge,” and I agree that HR is the bridge between compliance and culture.

GT: Many companies have used videos for sexual harassment training and 70% passing rate. It’s one on one and not really interactive. Do you think that’s enough? 

JS: I agree a lot of training programs are deeply flawed. That does not mean training of leaders is not important.  We just need to take a look at our training and ask how we can make it more effective.

At a minimum, it must be interactive and customized. If it is canned, it belongs in the can.

We need to provide examples of specific behaviors that leaders must avoid, even if they don’t raise to the level of illegality. Remember: power magnifies wrong.

We must provide leaders with guidance on how to respond to complaints they receive and how to deal with bad behavior that they see or hear, even if no complaint.  Leaders, and that includes everyone in HR, cannot be passive bystanders.

Differential treatment is not a solution to better training, don’t ignore the fear.

GT: Many employment laws are not new, like Title VII, sexual harassment, ADA, etc. Why do you think companies don’t enforce compliance more to protect themselves?

 JS: We must provide guidance on how to navigate the gray areas, such as when giving a hug or compliment on appearance may be okay.  We don’t need to implement sterility as we strive for greater workplace civility.

It is important that we talk about how to work human. I fear some men may be so scared of harassment claims they that will or already are avoiding women.  There’s a word for that: discrimination.

Don’t discount the fear, although I think it is overstated. Take people where they are and hit the fear head on and provide granular advice on how to ensure there is equitable inclusion.

GT: What advice would you give HR professionals about having courage in the workplace?

JS: Sometimes we need to stand up and fight for what is right, as Johnny Taylor, Jr., the CEO of SHRM, has emphasized. It is not risk free. That is why they call it courage. If there are no risk, then there is no courage.

I think of the VP of HR who spoke with his CEO about another executive who had engaged in serious sexual misconduct.  His message was, “one of us will not be here by the end of week”.  He’s there, but I am not sure the termination (which was the proportionate response) would have happened if he had not spoken up.

When speaking up, look for an ally. Going at it alone is harder. Try not to attack. Give the other party a chance to save face and agree.  Influence based on values and not threats. 

I think HR has done so much more than that for which it gets credit. We don’t hear about all the times HR pushes to do the right thing and gets results.  This makes me very proud to be a SHRM member. 

Click on the link to sign up for Jonathan’s Sessions:

#702: Investigating Harassment Claims

Sexual Harassment 2.0

Male Allies and Sexual Harassment

 

#SHRM18 Speaker Spotlight Mark Fogel, Founder/CPO

Mark Fogel is a former CHRO and currently consults, teaches MBA courses, and blogs for SHRM, FistfulofTalent.com and Recruitingdaily.com. He has been a regular speaking at SHRM national conferences on a variety of topics for more than a decade.

Here’s a sneak peek into his background, his thoughts on the gig economy, and talent acquisition, well as his upcoming topics at #SHRM18, and thoughts about courage in HR.

GT: What made you decide to start your own company, Human Capital 3.0? What does the 3.0 signify?

MF: When I was the CHRO at Leviton I used to go to SHRM chapter meetings on Long Island with my head of L&D throughout the year. We would always get hit up for our opinion or advice. We did a lot of pro bono advising. We always said when we left Leviton we would join forces and start a consultancy on the side of our day jobs and we did. In the beginning it was a hobby and it turned into a business. We kept it going for almost 4 yrs. as a side project until I took it to another level in 2016 after leaving my role as CHRO at Success Academy Charter schools.  The 3.0 was a play – off everything being “2.0” at the time, we said that we were the next generation of consulting and used 3.0 to signify being a step ahead.

GT: How do you juggle working for Signium and Human Capital 3.0 and still teach at Adelphi University?

MF: I think of my work as being a senior executive in the new “Gig” economy. I do high level Retained search and large talent project work for Signium, Training and one-off small projects for HC3, and I have a steady gig teaching a couple of HR classes in the MBA program at Adelphi. It’s easier than a full-time job most of the time. You just must be rigid and organized about scheduling. TIME MANAGEMENT is the key…

GT: As a talent acquisition expert, what do you think is lacking in the talent acquisition industry these days?

MF: Empathy for the candidates, especially the ones who do not ultimately get the job. We all need to do better on this topic.

GT: What is your advice to someone who is new in the talent acquisition role?

MF: Be a sponge, listen and ask questions, but don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. And don’t be average, be daring and different!  Create your own brand and be authentic every day.

GT: One of your topics at #SHRM18 is “The Performance Review Dilemma: To Continue, Change or Eliminate – What’s an HR Practitioner to Do?”.  Some says Performance Reviews are dead, what do you think?

MF: I think they are far from dead, and probably will always be around. Organizations need processes to keep folks in check regarding promotions, compensation, and evaluating quantity and quality of work. Personally, I would like to ditch them, or make them simple enough to do on the back of a napkin. Giving regular feedback is the key. I will expand on that during my presentations in Las Vegas at the SHRM Talent Conference and Chicago.

GT: Your additional topic at #SHRM18 is “The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Side of HR Part 2”.

MF: It’s about standing up to senior executives and dealing with unethical and illegal scenarios.

GT: Do you think HR folks who lacks courage should step out of HR?

MF: I don’t fault folks who lack courage, sometimes you must put your job on the line and I mean that literally. I have a couple of times in my career and even left an organization when I couldn’t change the situation. We all need to remember its work, not life or death. You need to be able to do the right thing and sleep at night. You also need to pay the bills. Sometimes that is the bigger issue, not being brave. So, we all need to live with our decisions. I personally am comfortable with mine. Everyone needs to answer that for themselves, no judgement here…

Links to archives:

https://blog.shrm.org/author/1101

http://fistfuloftalent.com/author/Mark-Fogel

http://recruitingdaily.com/author/mfogel/