Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at #SHRM19


I will be back this year at the #SHRM annual conference in Las Vegas. For the first time in a while as a spectator and blogger  only. I have been a speaker at the last 5 annuals that I have attended, so this will feel and be a little weird. Not as weird as Raoul Duke or Dr. Gonzo on drugs, but weird and of course it is Vegas….

This year I will be focused on blogging and tweeting from the peanut gallery, with some business development activities related to my different work streams (HC3, Improving Communications Inc., and HR Jetpack, to name a few)…one good thing is it is after Father’s Day weekend this year!

It will certainly be a different vibe as many of my HR peeps in the social media sphere are taking a pass on the conference. This is in part due to the ongoing debate about SHRM’s leadership and their relationships to President Trump and the Koch brothers as well as SHRM’s position on certain legislation….I see both sides, but it takes money and media attention to build an organization to the level SHRM aspires to be at…so no one should be surprised and of course we all protest and push back in different ways…I am playing Switzerland for now, an unusual position for me to take…but its an unusual year and certain to be a different vibe from any conferences in the past…One positive is there are a slew of my HR friends that will be there and I can wait to see them all and catch up. I will also get to see more of the conference then years past as I won’t be in prep mode for delivering content.

I don’t have an agenda yet, but I am sure it will be robust…I’ll be back to discuss this more in depth as the date gets closer…if your going drop me a line…see you in Vegas!


All Is Pleasant in Pleasantville


And Then They fixed it….

Just a quick note from the peanut gallery. My situation at Adelphi has finally been resolved. At least for now. My promotion to Sr. Adjunct was made retro to the beginning of last semester. The new head of HR and new Provost lived up to their word to make it right….It actually was resolved a few weeks ago…just forgot to mention it in a follow up to an earlier post…

There is hope…And I have a full slate of courses for Spring 19 and a summer school class too. All Is pleasant in Pleasantville. For now….

The Road Ahead in 2019


It’s that time again to layout my plans for the coming year. Last year I talked about my busy conference schedule and last HR Jedi tour, which took me to 7 different cities and a dozen presentations. I also talked about my writing and a little bit about my work and personal. All in all 2018 was an o.k. year.

2019 hopefully will be a whole lot better. I will be doing a lot of training and teaching. I have classes at Adelphi, the SHRM certification prep course with HR Jetpack, and significant project work with Improving Communications where I plan to take on a prominent role as their HR Jedi Master (that’s a fancy way of saying I will be their senior HR practice leader)  . My focus is all things HR and the course work covers a wide range of topics from harassment and inclusion to analytics and critical thinking programs.

I am taking a break from presenting. At least for the first half of the year. With that said, I still  plan to do a couple of SHRM guest speaker spots at local chapter meetings another DisruptHR, and I am sure to do some popups on other folks webinars, podcasts, and Facebook live broadcasts…So I won’t be totally off the grid…just a little further at the fringes.

I continue to write for Fistful of Talent, SHRM and most recently Workology. I am as feisty as ever and  still occasionally controversial. My work will continue to get re-posted from time to time on the carnival of HR, and I may even take a hosting slot for the carnival in 2019. I am also investigating the launching of a podcast…stay tuned on this topic…..and possibly doing some quick videos in a fun format too.

I’m open for new business projects as well. If you are in need of assistance in any aspect of HR, please drop me a note.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that my one non-business goal for 2019 is to shoot under 100 more then over in my golf game…we will see on that one….

Well I gotta go get ready for a busy 2019…I hope you all have a great yr.!!!

The Litmus Test for CEO’s Who Say They Value Their People

litmus test (002) (1)

I have a simple test to see if CEOs practice what they preach. Does their Head of HR report directly to them or to someone else? If they report to the COO — or even worse– their CFO, it is a red flag.

If you’re a candidate, it’s a great 15-second test to see if the business you are contemplating joining really cares about “its most important resource”. If you work in HR, it’s the pass/fail question before you join the firm you are interviewing with.

So, let’s dig in to this litmus test.

But before we begin, I have a question that I don’t know the answer to. If you look at all the businesses on the various “Best Company to Work For” lists, what percentage have their HR functions reporting to the top dog? I would love to know and wonder if this is even analyzed by the various companies compiling the data and awarding companies their designations.

Well, back to my main point for today. If a CEO truly believes their people are their most important asset, then it would naturally follow that their most senior HR executive would be a critical, if not most important staff member. Well, in some cases the argument might go that the CFO is the most important player on a senior executive’s team. Others may argue they are of equal importance. I would be okay with that last option along with the first.

I won’t bore you with my full theory on this except to say that you typically spend the most dollars in your budget on your people, and your company’s performance is typically dependent on your staff’s performance and creativity. Let’s not complicate this argument, it is a simple one.

I have personally headed HR at two major organizations where I reported directly and sat literally next to the CEO, and had complete 24×7 access. Both businesses made those “Best Company” lists and were people centric. My personal perspective is supported by what I have experienced and maybe I am biased.

But, so many companies that claim their folks are their most important asset don’t practice what they preach. I bet most of them do not have senior HR execs on their CEO’s hip.

So, what do you think and what is your perspective? Inquiring minds would like to know…and would love to see some data on this….

*This first appeared on the SHRM Blog 9/17/17….click here to see it…

Apology Not Accepted

apologynot accepted

So the recent events for me at Adelphi continue to get stranger and stranger. The good news is that I got promoted to Senior Adjunct…finally. The bad news, well lets just say the rest of this post is dedicated to that.

So here is the back story…

I was referred for promotion to Sr. Adjunct this past spring. It is a title and position created for tenured faculty that do no not want to retire fully, just teach part-time. It grants rights to classes ahead of all other part-time faculty. The loop-hole is that it is also open to Adjunct faculty to get promoted. There is a specific number of slots available, so even if qualified there needs to be an open slot. As a part-timer it is considered prestigious to be a senior as it grants first rights to classes available that have been taught in the past, ahead of all other adjuncts. It also pays a little more per class.

In the business school there has not been a senior role in over 3 decades and the last person to hold this was a faculty member who had spent their entire teaching career at Adelphi.

To make a long story a little shorter, the paperwork (which was excessive) was put in mid semester in the spring of last school year. It took me a couple of weeks and involved about 10 hours of work and about a dozen separate files, including every syllabus from every class I have taught at the university, examples of tests, student evals…well you get the idea. Then it sat with no action for close to 6 months. Of course I made multiple inquiries, to no avail. I honestly don’t know if it was apathy, lack of importance, dislike for me or what was being proposed, or maybe they just didn’t know how to proceed.

Then in the beginning of this semester there was a mad rush to evaluate and complete the process. Only no one had ever done a faculty peer review on me. So they did immediately (actually the same week requested).

Then there was a faculty retreat for the business school and a faculty mtg. all strung together the same day the following week (early September), which all the adjuncts were invited too. Except we weren’t…well I’m talking about the faculty meeting. Three of us were rudely asked to leave by the Dean. Lets just say that lack of professionalism is an understatement…Oh and I was also informed the Dean asked the dept. chairperson if I was qualified to be an adjunct at the school during the faculty meeting I was removed from. Are you kidding me? The scary thing is that I have more business experience in the C-suite then any full-time faculty member except for the 2 clinical Instructors promoted at the same time. Oh, I forgot to mention I have been teaching Grad classes for close to a decade too…

I know un-F’ing believable.

So we left the meeting abruptly as a couple of fellow faculty and staff asked why we were leaving and then received apologies from a couple of sincere administrators who didn’t know what to do as we exited the meeting room. We didn’t know what to do either, so we left instead of facing a potential verbal face-off with the Dean.

The follow-up was a series of communications to the Union, the Provost office, and even HR.  It’s now 6 weeks later and although told an apology is forthcoming…none has come as of my writing this post…

And here is the craziest part of this conversation. The by-laws of the university state all faculty are welcome at faculty meetings. Maybe the Dean is ignorant or can’t read. Or maybe he is shrewd and has gotten away with this for the past two years. a few of us attended the next mtg. without a formal invite too. It caused some looks from a few faculty and an abrupt statement welcoming us from the Dean after being chastised by the Director of the Union in the hallway 3 minutes earlier.

In any event there has been no apology…so this is my way of accepting the Non-Apology from the Dean…

Oh, and to top it off they made my promotion effective in 2019…that’s over 3 months after being officially notified.

In all my years in HR, I never saw a promotion with a 97 day delay effective date. I might contact the Guinness Book of World Records on that. But seriously, is that how you promote someone, with a 97 day delay…and the reason is???

Boy, talk about making me feel good about the whole thing….or not….you can’t make this stuff up.

Oh, I am still waiting for the Dean to apologize to the three of us for asking us to leave the meeting. I won’t bother with the apology for disrespecting me by questioning my background.

I will keep you informed on how this all turns out.

For those HR folks out there, this is food for thought. How would you react to an employee that was mistreated during a promotion process? A real life case study in Human Relations…


Lets Make HR Sexy

DisruptHR-LI2.0_Fogel (002)

Yes, you heard me right. Lets Make HR Sexy is the title of my DisruptHR Long Island presentation. I will be doing the FAST 5 minute talk on October 11th at the Huntington Hilton on Long Island. Visit the DisruptHR website for ticket information if you would like to attend.

So why Sexy?

Well that is an easy one, because it is not and it needs to be. HR is one of the least desirable career choices for business school graduates. In fact it is what many refer to as a high default career choice. Meaning you start out doing something else.

It is also a profession criticized for being a dumping ground for those that cannot succeed in other areas of business….

Well we no this is not true, however it definitely needs a makeover…

So I hope to see you on the 11th to hear how to change the impression…

Lets bring Sexy back….to HR!

Back to School

school of rock

Ok, we still have a month of Summer officially and a week unofficially, and that signals another school year. I’m still teaching HR at Adelphi in their Business program. I’m completing my 8th year there. To be honest, I never thought I would be doing this as long as I have, but I truly enjoy teaching at the University level. I happen to think I am pretty good at it too. Don’t go by me, read my student evals and the fact that the University gave me the Teaching Excellence award for the whole University a few yrs. back.

I get asked often why I do it. Well in the beginning it was part fascination and part stretch for getting in front of a group of 3 dozen people and presenting for a couple hours each week. I thought it would help my presentation skills, which it has to some extent. I also thought it was important to give back to the next generation, specifically those thinking of entering the HR profession. HR has been good to me the past 2 decades, so I feel it is important to pay it back and forward to. Now that I have been doing it for a while it would feel strange if I didn’t have at least one class to keep me in the game. The bottom line is I enjoy it and how many folks can say they do something they enjoy and get paid for it, even if it is only a part-time gig?

Teaching as an adjunct has certainly been challenging at times. Adjuncts do not get grad assistants to help mark tests or homework. So there are times where I am deep into 30 research papers or projects. There also is the issue of how, as adjuncts, we are treated by our particular business school’s administration. The first 5 yrs. were great. We had the respect and support of our former Dean. Lately that has been a major challenge. We are often made to feel and treated as disposable workers.

As those of you who know and follow me are aware, this has been going on since the spring of 2017. The latest issue is the hiring of full-timers and reduction in part-time adjuncts. I won’t get into that today.  I have somehow survived the reductions for now and I am up for a senior adjunct designation change this semester…will see on that.

I have an undergrad class and a grad class this fall.  My undergrad class is the Intro to HR class required of every business student. I haven’t taught this in the past. Its usually the grad classes or Selection and Compensation classes undergrad. Teaching students, many of whom do not have much knowledge of HR, will be a challenge. Maybe one that comes at a good time for me to get rejuvenated. I have not been challenged with pushing my self outside my comfort zone that much recently. So I am actually looking forward to it.

Along with School, I am speaking at a couple of conferences including the NY State SHRM conference September 23 and 24th in Albany, NY and I am doing a DisruptHR talk in October on Long Island. I’ll be back to talk about them soon.

I’m still consulting too, doing some unique stuff. It will be a busy September will all these things converging. Busy is better then not busy…