A New Year Means Reflection, Renewals, and New Goals

I’ve been called an influencer and a thought leader, these past few months. This still sounds surreal to me because I don’t really consider myself to be either. When I looked back on 2011, when I created my Twitter account, I realized how much things have changed. I considered Twitter boring, and my Facebook community was limited to close friends and family members! It wasn’t until 2017 that I took a more goal-oriented approach to Twitter. I focused on intentionally connecting with HR Pros who are willing to share their insights on #NextChat, #JobHuntChat, #HRHour, #HRSocialHour, #DisruptHR. I started following blogs that were inspiring, thought provoking which finally got me started in blogging. In 2018 I began to see the potential for applying social media to my personal life and started adding fellow HR pros on Facebook. Twitter and other social media platforms are now part of my daily routine. A way to connect and engage with a broader world, especially fellow HR pros who continue to inspire me, inform me, and provide me a deeper understanding of evolving trends and attitudes that affect our common calling.

2018 Reflection:

It’s been a while since my last blog post, which means that I’ve already failed to achieve one goal in 2018 – publishing at least one blog per month. That said, the goals that I did manage to reach were beyond my expectations, so I can honestly and proudly say that 2018 was a great year!

Professionally speaking, being chosen as one of the #SHRMBloggers was about the best 2018 birthday gift I could have asked for. And while I wasn’t able to maintain a pace of at least one blog per month, I did publish fourteen blogs entries in total. Thanks to being a #SHRM18 blogger and #SHRMDiv18 blogger, I also became a blog contributor for Workology and a guest spot for #DriveThruHR and #HRSocialHour podcasts. I enjoyed every minute spent at SHRM18, meeting the HR bloggers who I’ve admired online and I enjoyed many post-conference adventures with them – Talk about “Expanding Our World”. The experience helped shape and merge my personal and professional brand in a constructive and holistic way. What you see online is who I am in person, and I’m grateful that so many of the individuals I followed online turned out to be genuine, unpretentious, no-BS people after my own heart!

I had the opportunity to speak at two DisruptHR events, Sioux Falls, ND, and Brookings, ND. It was awesome to connect with so many HR professionals and entrepreneurs who found that my topics resonated with them. (HR is not for Lazy People and Is it the Skills Gap, the Pay Gap, or both?). In April, I launched the #DisruptHR event in Omaha. Some considered the venture overly risky—the kind of event that wouldn’t be well-received due to the conservative nature of the local HR community. It was a sold-out event! It turned out that there were many HR pros who were hungry for disruption!

The SHRM Diversity and Inclusion Conference was an eye-opener for me! The sessions I attended were phenomenal! The speakers were passionate about diversity and inclusion, and though I consider myself knowledgeable on these subjects, I still learned many valuable lessons. Attendees shared a litany of experiences that illustrated how far we have to go as people and as employers. I highly recommend it as one of the best conference to attend!

2018/2019 Renewals:

Before the year ended, I renewed my SHRM-SCP Certification and my SHRM Membership. I consider this a necessary personal/professional investment. Though I don’t always align with SHRM’s marketing and leadership (who does?) the organization has done a lot for my career growth. The ability to update and monitor the accumulation of CE credits towards my recertification has served to make the process considerably easier than it once was. I look upon my HR Certification as an individual necessity, not a social statement. If I let it lapse, it will be me who has to shoulder the consequences, not the community.

I also renewed my license to hold DisruptHR events in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.

2019 Goals:

My 2019 goals are coming along nicely! I’m attending #WorkHuman2019 in March. I’m always excited to visit new places and am looking forward to learning, meeting new people, and spending time with online connections in real life.

Planning for DisruptHR events in Omaha and Lincoln is well underway. I can’t wait to host events in both of these awesome locations!

I am also looking forward to attending #SHRM19 to spend time with old and new connections in real life, and hopefully I get to attend #SHRMDiv2019.

I hope to work on my blogsite and have time to blog more often. I won’t commit to one blog per month, because I don’t consider this practical.

I guess you can say that my 2019 goals aren’t any different from 2018, except perhaps I want to be able to contribute more in the HRTech landscape and the future of work. I’m thankful for UltimateSoftware for including me in their white paper on my thoughts about AI in 2018 and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and hands-on experience in various HR Tech.

I hope that whatever your goals are for 2019 that you will include getting more involved in networking, engaging, and providing positive impact to the HR community, the world of work, and your local community. I am fortunate that many in my #HRTribe helped me in achieving my goals, if I can help you in anyway in achieving your goals, lets connect!

#SHRMDiv 2018 Sponsor Spotlight

IBIS Consulting Group is one of the major sponsors of the sold out event 2018 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shilpa Sherwani, CEO and Principal. She was one of the speakers last year. Shilpa started as an intern at IBIS when she came to the US to further her education. She is an Organizational Psychologist by training and pursued a master’s in Organizational Development.

GT: What inspired you to specialize in Diversity and Inclusion?

SP: As an immigrant and a woman of color, I wanted to help organizations build inclusive environments and address systemic disparities. I wanted to apply the principles of organizational development to address the issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I believe that to help organizations and communities move the needle, the focus needs to be on both individual behaviors/skills as well as systems.

GT: What are some of things that give you an edge over the competition?

SP: We created the IBIS Inclusive Organizational Framework Tool that looks for systemic bias in 14 key organizational areas. This diagnostic tool assesses how well Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices are embedded in the policies, procedures, and programs of an organization. Our trainings also help organizations keep their focus on individuals and systems, so they can see sustainable changes in behavior. We provide various training modalities: instructor led, e-learning, and interactive theater. The scenarios are client specific and represent real-life opportunities and challenges.

Click here for more details: IOF Diagnostic Tool

GT: The past several years, hiring managers/recruiters were taught that hiring for “culture fit” is better for retention. How do you help organizations unlearn the practice of hiring for “culture fit”?

SP: Looking for “right fit” or “culture fit” is often rooted in unconscious bias. Fit means like everyone else, fit could be what you don’t have. Look for what’s missing on your team – if you primarily have baby boomers, consider diversifying by adding millennials. Think of sales leads you may be missing because your team is made up of members of only one part of your community. Don’t hire people from the same educational institutions. By analyzing what’s missing and what you need, you widen your search to all potential candidates, not just the ones who fit an earlier prototype.

GT: What are companies getting wrong about diversity and inclusion?

SP: Many organizations don’t align their diversity efforts with their business strategy. For sustainable efforts, it is critical to hold leaders accountable and focus on metrics and measurement. There are no quick fixes, and diversity training should not be seen as a “check the box” or standalone solution. Organizations need to move beyond diversity and recognize that providing equitable opportunities to disadvantaged groups will help address imbalances in the workplace.

If you are attending, make sure visit their booth!

Follow them on Social Media

Twitter:@IBISDiversity

LinkedIn: IBIS

 

 

Spotlight on Lona Smart and Revela

I first met Lona Smart at the very first #DisruptHROmaha in April 2018. She was one of the speaker and her company, Revela was one of the Ultimate Sponsor. For the record, I am doing this voluntarily and was not asked nor paid to do this endorsement. I just really dig their staff and their business model. Their community give back is also something I admire in an organization.

As a #HRPro and new to Omaha, Nebraska, I wanted to learn more about the organization and at the same time learn more about Lona. I wanted to share my interview with her and some information on Revela so that anyone who is looking for leadership development within their organization can get a glimpse of what they have to offer.

Lona Smart is a Facilitator and Organizational Behavior Specialist at Revela  located in Omaha, Nebraska. She has experience in leadership positions, private-public partnerships, business ownership and managing complex teams. Her analytical approach and strategic-thinking make her the go-to person in the area of organizational change and leadership development. Lona has her Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. She has a passion for helping organizations, communities, families and individuals reach their full potential which explains her time spent volunteering and her background in behavioral health.

Lona Smart will be one of the breakout session speakers at #SHRMNE18. She will talk about how to “Create the Employee Experience” on Thursday (August 23), from 11 am to 12 pm.

GT: You’re speaking about how to “Create the Employee Experience” at the SHRM Nebraska State Conference 2018. Is this your first time speaking at that conference? Who should attend your session?

LS: It’s my second time as a speaker for SHRMNE. My session is for people who are looking for a different way to look at the employee onboarding and retention process.

GT: Briefly tell us what is Revela?

LS: We facilitate conversations with leaders so that they can more clearly articulate their 3-5 year picture, where the company is headed and how they can support the anticipated growth in terms of number of employees, revenue, organization structure, etc.  Then help align the organization to execute on the plan.

GT: Why did your company choose a squirrel as part of your branding?

LS: Sometimes leadership teams can feel like they are chasing the squirrels when running their business. At Revela, we help leaders to “focus on working on the business, not in it”.

GT: What is the most memorable feedback you’ve received from your clients?

LS: After working with a leadership team for several months, as we were wrapping up, a manager shared with me that I not only helped him communicate better with his co-workers and staff but also with his wife; improving his marriage.

GT: What do you think is lacking in many leaderships training these days?

LS: Connecting the development to how it applies to the long term strategy of the organization. It’s important to know “why is it important to be better today than yesterday.”

GT: In anticipation of AI as a part of future of work, how would this change your business offerings?

LS: We’re exploring how to deliver training in the way people expect it to be delivered. Looking into Learning Management Systems as an example.  Our trainings are already provided on audio recording as well as hard copies, but we want to use technology to improve how we connect and interact with participants between sessions.

GT: 3 Take-aways for those who will be attending your session.

LS: 1) Importance of key moments and how they leave a lasting impression, 2) Assessment of your own employee experience to look for potential pitfalls, and 3) New or different ideas to intentionally make key moments to create a positive experience that employees want to share with their friends and family.

Follow Revela on Twitter: https://twitter.com/revelagroup

 

 

 

#SHRM18 Vendor Spotlight: Ultimate Software

I had the privilege of attending #SHRM18 as a member of the #SHRM18Bloggers Team in Chicago, IL. One of the vendors I wanted to highlight was Ultimate Software. They are one of the sponsors of SHRM #NextChat and was the host for the #NextChat Reception that was held at the conference. I am already aware of how they support the #HR profession and the HR Tech industry, so I wanted to dig in into their product offering. I got the honor of getting my questions answered by Adam Rogers (Twitter: @adamr), Chief Technology Officer, Ultimate Software.

If your organization is in the market for a HCM, hopefully this Q&A will give you some valuable perspectives when considering a HCM vendor. If you’re heading to the #HRTechConference in September, check them out!

GT: How do you differentiate your product/services from other HR Tech companies? If I’m in the market for HR systems, what features would win me over?

AR: There are really three crucial things to consider when evaluating HCM systems: culture, product, and services. I mention culture first because it’s often overlooked during the buying process, but it shouldn’t be. An organization’s culture ultimately determines your long-term experience with them. Ultimate’s commitment to putting people first is paramount, and, in addition to taking excellent care of our own employees, we design products and services that help our customers build the people-centric environments they need to grow and thrive. Ultimate’s also unique because, while most of our competitors focus primarily on either product or services, we’ve always invested equally in both. We introduced UltiPro as the first cloud-based HR/payroll Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology back in 2002, and we continue to leverage Agile software development, Service Design Thinking, and other collaborative processes to pioneer exciting new product advancements. At the same time, we view each and every customer as a partner for life. Offering every customer a dedicated account representative, free training for life, and 24/7 access to APA-certified UltiPro experts is just the beginning of our personalized and comprehensive service offerings. By devoting ourselves entirely to these three key priorities, we’ve differentiated ourselves in a crowded space and are proud of our consistent 96% customer retention rate. Our very first customer, who launched back in 1991? They’re still a valued and satisfied customer today. That’s the sort of lifelong partnership that wins our customers over.

GT: Can an organization just purchase one or two components (i.e., HR, Benefits) of Ultimate, or do they have to purchase the entire suite? If they can be bought a la carte, can they be integrated with other payroll systems or will this require redundancy in data entry?

AR: Our standard UltiPro offering includes HR, payroll, and benefits administration, as well as UltiPro Business Intelligence. Other solutions can be purchased as needed to enhance the core offering, such as talent management, compensation management, advanced benefits tools, learning suites, and more.

Our sentiment analysis survey solution is also available to certain organizations a la carte, depending on company size.

We understand that integration is paramount, so we offer various options to help organizations seamlessly exchange data between UltiPro and other business solutions via timely, secure, and reliable integrations.

GT:  How HR savvy are your implementation/design teams? I found that one source of frustration I had when dealing with HR tech teams involved their lack of understanding of the nuances that we face in HR. This is especially true when it comes to accuracy of data and how to address inaccuracies (human data entry error) in a timely manner. I had a PM who thought correcting SSN and COBRA notifications were not priorities.

AR: Thanks to our incredible culture, benefits, and global recognition as a Best Place to Work, we attract and retain many of the best people in the industry. Many of our launch, implementation, and design professionals have decades of experience and multiple certifications. The high level of collaboration between our product and services teams ensures that everyone has a clear understanding of HR and the features needed to optimize our customer’s experience. Our project teams are composed of experienced industry experts specializing in specific areas of UltiPro, along with technical resources, integration analysts, and a dedicated project manager who personally oversees the entire project. This means our customer’s questions are addressed quickly and they benefit from immediate, proactive assistance every step of the way. Many of our integration consultants are FPC and PMP certified, as well as Certified Experts in SQL Server Development.

Finally, we use an iterative design process, which means our user experience (UX) team conducts detailed, ongoing research and actively partners with customers to truly understand our users’ needs. By partnering closely with our customers, we can ensure that UltiPro exceeds their expectations, not what our developers think they need.

GT:  What is the average time spent by an employee doing benefit enrollment?  How will AI assist employees with this process?

AR: Benefits options are quite complex, and employees often aren’t given much (or any) insight to assist with decision making. Many studies show that employees almost always default to selecting the same plan as they chose the year before, including recent research from Aflac that indicates almost half of employees spend 30 minutes or less making benefits decisions. Haphazardly choosing among plans can have expensive repercussions for everyone involved, including employers.

Assisting employees with making more personalized benefits decisions—decisions that help them to save money while ensuring the best coverage to meet their own needs—is a perfect opportunity for AI support.  Solutions like UltiPro Benefits Prime provide step-by-step guidance, educational tools, and personalized plan recommendations. Without ever needing to contact HR or the benefits provider, employees are able to make the best benefits decisions for themselves and their families.

GT:  Are your clients asking you to collect data to determine possible gender wage gap in their organization?

AR: We recently released a Pay Equity report for all of our customers, which allows them to analyze average pay by gender, ethnicity age and disability status.

And while recognizing pay disparity is a great initial step, working to improve overall diversity, equity and inclusion is obviously the ultimate goal. We’re working on a variety of solutions to interrupt and eliminate bias before it occurs, including tools that help improve quality of hire while eliminating unconscious bias, revamp interview guides and job descriptions based on diversity data, and help recruiters and organizations reevaluate their recruiting and hiring processes.

GT: What AI related features are you rolling out in your upcoming releases?

AR: We’re still extremely excited about Xander, which isn’t really a feature but our “People First” AI engine. Xander uses natural language processing (NLP) to digest and actually understand human language, including the emotions that drive the words, coupling analytical and emotional intelligence to analyze all aspects of HCM data and provide decision makers with detailed, unbiased insight.

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of what’s really going on in their company, leaders can take meaningful action to drive positive changes within the organization.

We’ll be leveraging Xander’s enhanced AI capabilities in a variety of solutions and recruiting-based predictive analytics are coming next. Customers will be able to leverage AI and predictive analytics to identify top candidates and make smarter talent decisions.

Building off of our AI-powered sentiment analysis and NLP capabilities, we’re working on delivering a new kind of performance management tool that’s focused not just on managing performance but improving it. With real-time coaching for better quality feedback and team-level performance intelligence, a manager will be able to quickly make sense of continuous feedback and focus on real improvement opportunities.

GT: Have you seen demand for machine learning features from your clients?

AR: Absolutely. Machine learning enables the platform to learn from experience and get better with time, which is clearly desirable—you’d want the same thing from your employees. Ultimate’s machine-learning technology looks at how effective UltiPro’s predictions are and automatically makes adjustments to improve, which means your data from today is even more valuable tomorrow.

GT: You emphasize capabilities that will enable the removal of barriers faced when applying for a job. What are some of the more serious barriers these features address?

AR: Traditional recruiting systems can be complex and burdensome, leading to candidate disengagement and application abandonment. UltiPro Recruiting’s unique candidate-centric design helps engage potential hires with familiar technology they want to use and build successful relationships from the first interaction. We use social and mobile technology for an easy, personalized, and enjoyable experience. Candidates can even use gamified features to find opportunities or import their information from LinkedIn. And with automated candidate match capabilities coming soon, we’ll be able to speed up processes for identifying promising candidates and getting them into the right roles.

GT: Do you partner with anyone on your Learning Management system to make sure that education is centered not just on the employee, but the organization as well? Depending on industry and/or state, there are some statutory training requirements. Are those pre-packaged, or add-ons?

AR: UltiPro Learning enables organizations to build an optimized learning strategy while effectively reaching employees where they are, with mobile and social learning capabilities. Today’s learners expect their learning at work to be much like the learning they do at home – on-demand and snackable.  Think YouTube for the enterprise – where we can easily share what we know with others, as simply as uploading a video from our phone.

Organizations have several options for creating courses and adding course content, including building their own content, converting existing content, or adding third-party content. By leveraging our course marketplace, customers can jumpstart or expand their development content, including best practice statutory, soft-skill and technical training courses and materials.

GT: How much of an impact will the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have on your systems, considering the massive personal data collected from ATS, HRIS, and Payroll?

AR: The GDPR has specific requirements for data processors like Ultimate, regardless of whether the organization operates within the boundaries of the European Union. Ultimate already has all the key practices in place to align with our responsibilities as a data processor to allow for an employee’s right for data portability or erasure. Additionally, we’ve added the ability for customers to capture or withdraw an employee’s consent in UltiPro and have a team of subject matter experts available to guide our customers through the new regulations.
Adam-Rogers-head-shot1

Adam Rogers began his career in 1997 as Ultimate Software’s very first intern and quickly became a leading innovator in the field. In 2002, Adam led his team to deliver the very first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud Enterprise solution, redefining industry standards by bringing HCM to the cloud. Today, Adam serves Ultimate as CTO and holds the unique distinction of leading both product innovation and corporate IT strategy. His teams are routinely recognized for their industry-leading innovations and Adam’s thought leadership work is regularly published in Forbes, InformationWeek, and a variety of online blogs and publications.

 

Hold Your Judgment!!!

Hold Your Judgment!

It’s only been a few days since Starbucks(SBUX) held their company-wide training on racial bias, but many seem ready to write it off and dismiss any positive effects as transitory! Some of these individuals are HR professionals – but none seems to have actually participated in the training!

As a person of color and an HR practitioner, I am hopeful. I have a daughter and a nephew who work at Starbucks, and they have had nothing but positive things to say about their employer—even before the unfortunate event that prompted this training. I am optimistic about continuing this conversation, and thankful to Starbucks for taking action. They never claimed that this training was the ultimate solution. On the contrary, the company has made it clear that this is part of an ongoing initiative. They know that lasting improvement will require a sustained effort, and that it may be necessary to tweak the training over time. And I appreciate their express willingness to share the materials they develop with other organizations.

Given the company’s positive reputation within the global community, it didn’t have to proceed on this scale, but it did!  Those who consider this a PR stunt may need to check on their own bias. It was more than a PR. It was an investment! If other organizations invested in their employees so generously, we wouldn’t have so many compliance issues in the first place. I was appalled when people moaned about missing their coffee runs. Is that more important than a grand gesture focused on building a better community and tackling racial bias? Let’s think about the fact that on the day of the training, people were showing disgust for Roseanne Barr’s racist tirade. This led to innocent coworkers losing their livelihood–on stage and behind the curtains—but some still defended her. Isn’t this a climate in which fighting bigotry takes precedence over our daily cappuccinos? If you still aren’t convinced, think about the actions of our president, who spews hatred on People of Colors (African American, Hispanics, Middle Eastern, etc.). When it comes to combatting racial bias, there’s no time like the present.

Rather than writing off Starbucks’ effort, why not help promote it? They planted the seeds, let’s nurture them so that they will take root, grow, blossom, and bear fruit. What would have happened if we listened to naysayers when the “Do Not Litter” and “No Smoking” campaigns were launched? It’s easy to forget that these attempts to change American society produced their share of scoffing and cynicism. It took time, but society did change and changed in recent memory. Sure, there are those who still litter and smoke, but at a vastly lesser scale than in decades past. Remember the business owners who thought that smoking ban would be bad for business? The opposite turned out to be true.

We all know that we are not born racist. Racism is learned, much like smoking. As someone who grew up with smokers, many of my family and friends (myself included) do not smoke, and our children aren’t hesitant to announce to someone that smoking can kill them! We are also of mixed race and multi-religion, making it important to be respectful of our differences, and those of others. Education is a big step. We all learn at different pace. So, before we judge Starbuck’s effort and write it off, let’s give it some time. Perhaps, if we just hold off on being judgmental, and instead practice open mindedness and patience, our world will be a better place… who doesn’t want that?

#SHRM18 Vendor Spotlight: Quantum Workplace

Quantum Workplace will be one of the vendors at the #SHRM18 in Chicago, IL. They are an employee engagement software company designed for a manager-driven work culture. Quantum Workplace is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska (my new home town).  I had the opportunity to tour their new location where I conducted this interview.

Quantum Workplace is the survey engine for the “Best Places to Work” contests nationwide.

I Interviewed Natalie Hackbarth (NH), their Inbound Marketing Manager. 

GT: In an elevator pitch format, what is Quantum Workplace?

NH: Quantum Workplace is an all-in-one employee engagement software that gives managers the tools they need to increase team engagement and effectiveness.

GT: How do you differentiate your product/services from other HR Tech companies?

NH: Our software differentiates in two key ways:

1) First, it’s built formanagers. Our engagement software fits right into their existing workflow, it coaches them on how to be better managers, and it transforms the way lead and engage their teams.

2) Second, it’s provides organizations all the tools they need for measuring and improving engagement in one place. It’s the only of its kind, offering survey and pulses, recognition software, goal setting and tracking software, feedback, one-on-one conversation, ideas and alerts, as well as team and company-wide analytics.

GT: How did your company decide to hold the “Best Places to Work” contests?

NH: Listening to and acting on employee opinions is crucial. Quantum Workplace wanted to honor and showcase companies that valued employee voices and treated people as the most important resource.

GT: Tell me about some of your best success stories with a client.

NH: Fossil Group uses Quantum Workplace to empower thousands of users to own and improve team engagement. PromiseShip, a non-profit based in Nebraska, had never had a method for collecting employee feedback and improving employee performance — and they now use our tool to engage employees in a continuous cycle of improvement.

GT: Are your clients asking you to collect data to determine possible gender wage gap in their organization?

NH: Not specifically, no. But employers can use our analytics feature to uncover almost any trend, gap, or blind spot they might have in their organization.

GT: What AI related features are you rolling out in your upcoming releases?

NH: Quantum Workplace just launched text analytics, giving managers the ability to make sense of employee comments at the click of a button.

If you’re in the market for an engagement software or would like to see your company be honored as one of the best companies to work for, find out what it takes to get you there and visit their booth at #SHRM18! You can find out more about Quantum Workplace at http://www.quantumworkplace.com.

Throwing The First Stone…Hypocrisy and the Call for Corporate Accountability

Starbucks is trending on social media because of an incident in which two African-American men were arrested for trespassing at their Philadelphia store. They were taken in handcuffs just as the person they were waiting for arrived. You can find out more about the story here: Starbucks

What I found interesting is how quickly the internet blame roared into action. People have been almost gleefully eager to throw the first stone at Starbucks. This kneejerk rhetorical bile wasn’t directed at the employee who called the cops, or that employee’s manager, or the cops who made the arrest—all individuals who might rightly be criticized. The same puritanical souls railed against Starbuck’s press release as “unacceptable” and claimed that it doesn’t really “scratch the surface of the issues.” Many of these reactions came from people whose stances I generally find well-considered and fair. These are people in HR.

I hate the tendency to indict an entire HR department because of one isolated incident. I also hate it when companies known for strong corporate values are maligned because of one individual’s poor judgment.

Yes, even the best companies have bad apples. Is that really HR’s fault? Is it the fault of the company as a whole? It is, if the bad apples are allowed to continue to be employed there.

If you were on Starbuck’s PR team, how would you address this in a short amount of time? If you were one of their HR people, how would you react? Is it really practical for them to address the entirety of the racial discrimination issue, or does a greater weight rest on the police department who made the arrest? At the end of the day, the cops have an obligation to assess the situation and determine whether the law has been broken. There is no doubt that Starbucks does have certain responsibilities as well. They must investigate in a robust and comprehensive manner. If the employee was at fault, would you fire them right away, or approach the incident as organizational learning moment, to be addressed by intensified training?

Many have responded to #MeToo by asking “Where is HR?” instead of “Where’s the HR representative”? We all got painted by the same insidious brush, when most of us would never let that sort of thing happen. HR gets blamed for failing to do proper training without bothering to find out whether or not training was actually done.

If we want to ask for fairness and equality, let’s not throw the first stone. Let’s not replace accountability with hypocrisy. As HR folks, we wait for all information and investigate rather than passing judgement based on a sensational smattering of unsubstantiated claims. Let’s instead focus on constructive questions: If you worked for Starbucks, what changes would you implement so that this won’t happen again?

I’m not ignoring the fact that something unacceptable happened. It was wrong, and it was clearly racial discrimination, based on eyewitnesses accounts. But to expect Starbucks to take full responsibility for an action of one person (whose story is yet to be heard) is unrealistic. It would be a different story if this was happening at every Starbucks, but it simply isn’t. If anything, we should be asking more for better accountability from the police department whose officers were involved.

#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/

I went “All In” for SHRM17 and Now I’m Expanding My World for SHRM18.

I’ve been in HR for decades, but I’ve been truly active on Social Media for less than two years. SHRM18 will only be my second annual conference.

My first SHRM Annual Conference was in 2017 and the theme was “All In.” I took that theme to heart from the time I signed up for the conference. While attending, I wrote on a sticky note declaring my commitment to the HR profession and to myself about being “all in.” So did many of the other attendees, and you can see the result below.

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It was an eye opener! The experience vastly exceeded my expectations. I came alone and left with many new friends who share my passion for the profession. I didn’t realize until that time that many of the HR pros I met on Twitters were also bloggers. I knew some were, but, was still surprised that I knew so many! I learned how to have fun with HR folks. It wasn’t just about learning. It was also about connecting with the HR community, getting to know partners in technology, employee engagement, learning & development, marketing/promos, and meeting vendors that do business with HR folks.  The conference opened my eyes to the fun side of HR. I’ve never been to a party with a bunch of HR folks. Yes, HR pros like to party and have fun just like the rest – we’re people, too!

The SHRM17 conference has inspired me to launch “All in HR Services”. I chose “All In HR” as a constant reminder of that commitment. It’s the latest expression of my desire to showcase everything I know about the discipline, from administration to compliance to technology. A few months after the conference, I got inspired by the friends I’d met and started my HR Blog. I wasn’t seen as a competitor but as a fellow contributor. I tried not to miss #NextChat, a twitter chat on Wednesday sponsored by SHRM that fosters the exchange of HR ideas and the sharing of experiences related to HR topics. Before long I found myself tagged on other twitter chats with the same theme.

Fast forward to my birthday (January 2018). I was asked if I wanted to be one of the bloggers for SHRM18. I immediately said, Yes! I didn’t have to think about it because I was “All In”.

When the SHRM18 Bloggers Team were announced, I got even more excited when I noticed that many of them hail from my #HRTribe (We’re a bunch of HR pros out to show the world that there are great people in HR.

The SHRM18 theme is “Expand Your World”. What a great sequel to “All In”. A few days after the announcement, I’m already getting out of yet another comfort zone. It’s bad enough that I’m so poor at taking “selfies” now, I have to make a video announcement? Fortunately, I’m not one to back away from challenges. You can see that video here.

https://youtu.be/HWHC08WtDCw

The next 4 months will bring interviews with SHRM18 speakers and vendors. Expect a podcast and video interview with one of these individuals sometime next month.

If you haven’t been to SHRM Annual Conference, what a great way to expand your HR world. You never know how it could change you, your organization, and your local HR community. Learn, connect, and have fun! Come follow the #SHRM18 on all social media. Check out the SHRM18Bloggers Team here: https://blog.shrm.org/blog/shrm18-bloggers

Follow us on all Social Media, you never know where it will lead you. You can start expanding your world by joining #NextChat and following the #SHRM18Bloggers team on all Social Media channels as we take you on a journey all the way to SHRM18 in Chicago, Illinois. You never know how SHRM’s Annual Conference might help you evolved as an HR Professional.  Make the investment. I’m glad I did!