Paying It Forward, Paying It Back at #SHRM18


You know the 2000 Movie with Haley Joel Osment and an All Star cast. A student takes his teacher up on paying it forward in real life….

Well I loved this tear jerker. I truely believe we all need to pay it forward and we also need to pay back the “ecosystem”  of work and life for our successes too.

I’m back from #SHRM18 in Chicago with a successful 4 days presenting twice, tweeting for SHRM (did you hear I made the top 44 tweet list?), blogging, and taking in this massive event…

I met some very cool up and comers in the HR social media space. Claire Petrie, Janelle Rodriguez, Jazmine Wilkes, Ivette Dupuis, and Cecilia Clarke to name a few…there the future of HR and it is incumbent on me and a few other veterans to make sure the baton gets past properly.

Janelle covered my last HR Jedi tour on twitter and did a pre-conference interview. She even took photos of me on the Smart Stage at the conference.  These rising HR stars along with about 2 dozen other new and rising HR folks, many on the SHRM blog squad, are the future of the HR profession…

They all are paying it forward…while I am spending my twilight yrs. paying it back. 

It seems natural, like the movie the lion king and proverbial “circle of life”

My role in the future is to be more responsive to the next generation…I need to focus on this….along with a handful of veterans….I was a little self-centered this year at conferences…that needs to change…consider it a work in process.

I’ll be back to talk about this in coming weeks!!!


What was Hot and Not — Musings from #SHRM18


For those who attended and those who wanted to (we hope you do next year!). Here is my quick recap of SHRM18.

First what and who was Hot:

Adam Grant, the keynoter on Tuesday and guest host with Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday. He rocked it with great insights and humbling commentary…and he earned a new fan with yours truly.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. our new CEO brought energy, insight and inspiration to the 20,000 attendees. And having a Grammy winning singer do a personal Happy Birthday on stage on Wednesday was “icing on the cake”.

The SHRM18 Store. Kudos to the SHRM staff for changing it up this year. It was accessible, well-stocked and well-staffed. It also had new releases from my friends Tim Sackett and Sharlyn Lauby, HR professionals with great insider insights and tools!

Early morning Mega Sessions. This year the 7:00am sessions were standing room only. The speakers were engaging and enlightening. I had more than 1,200 at my presentation on Monday and had close to 50 stay after to ask questions and look for advice. A speaker’s dream!

Wellness goes personal. Two of the biggest lines in the expo hall were for hand cream massages and facials. My puffy eyes disappeared with some eye cream…enough said on this.

Social media and the SHRM18 Blog Squad. With a blogging team as large as a college football roster, the social media reach blew away any previous conference with live tweeting, timely blog posts, podcasts, and Facebook live video casting. Can you say “Hashtag SHRM18?”  

Bus transportation to and from the hotel.  This year went off with very few hiccups. Waiting times at most hotels was almost non-existent, making for happy attendees arriving each day.

Dogs and a few exotic animals. Tuesday brought us therapy dogs and some interesting animals to the exhibit floor. Who doesn’t like to spend a few minutes with a happy pet?

Pentatonix, I have seen some great concerts at SHRM including Hall and Oates, and the rock band Train, but this was one of the best shows ever (as a rock and roller that’s saying something). And I almost forgot to mention the lip sync contest hosted by my man Trip Crosby before-hand was a hoot!

What was not (hot)?

The Convention Center.  The A/C was great at McCormick. With temps pushing 95 thru Monday morning, a cool expo floor was a perfect place to be.

Obnoxious marketing, was all but absent from this year’s vendor floor. It was all business at the booths (except for a rumored Darth Vader sighting – and no it was not me).

Late night parties. Chicago had plenty to offer, from art museums to Jazz clubs and deep-dish pizza. Of course, there was a smattering of cocktail receptions and dinners, with most winding down by 9:30 p.m.  Attendees were able to get a respectable night sleep (this certainly helped attendance at the early Mega Sessions, too). Let’s just say aspirin sales were down this year at the conference.

Swag, this year the giveaways were minimal and packable for the journey home. We all like a little conference swag and this year the vendors obliged.

What to look for next year:

Well I don’t have a crystal ball; however, I am betting on an even bigger crowd, great learning, and new friendships. Hope to see you in Las Vegas at SHRM19!

Writing for an Audience of One



This past week I had a blog post rejected for publication. It is not the first time this has happened. I write for 3 sites (SHRM, Fistful of Talent, and Recruiting Daily), plus my own site right here at Human Capital 3.0. It does not happen that often, however in fairness it was the right thing to do. And more often then not having a post rejected is for a good reason (at least on the sites I contribute to).

Here is the back story: I had written a snarky but true post for the SHRM blog relating to the upcoming conference and put 2 controversial statements into the dialogue. First, I referenced a sexual apparatus from the movie Austin Powers (see picture above*) and second I stated “leave the Kids home” and really think about leaving the spouse home too.

When I wrote it, I was writing as if I was the audience, not the audience that hits the site daily. Now if this had been FOT or Recruiting Daily, they would have said…Let it rip!, but this was SHRM…and they spend a lot of money on their annual conference. They also make it accessible for folks to bring the family along and do side trips. So regardless of my opinion, they have a large and diverse population to serve. Leaving children or a spouse home may not be an easy option. Plus it is in Chicago. Now I have been to the windy city maybe 30 times on business over the yrs., but if your from South Dakota or Montana that may not be the case (or any of the other 47 states less Illinois). It is surprising how many professionals have rarely or never ventured more then 100 miles from their home…

It was a valuable lesson as a writer and blogger. Don’t forget who your audience is. And except for this site, it is not me.

For your reading pleasure here is the original post (enjoy!):

10 Things NOT to Bring to #SHRM18

Ok, a little reverse thinking is not a bad idea. So here are 10 things to leave home or avoid at #SHRM18. We already know what we should bring and do. Now here is an insider’s perspective on editing out some things.

But before we begin, this may be an ‘R’ rated post so please do not read in a public area!

  1. Anything that Homeland Security will ponder over as you go thru security. Think Austin Powers waking up from cryogenic sleep. Ok, if you don’t know what I am talking about, watch the movie. If you do…then just don’t. Enough said…and you don’t want to start the conference off with an embarrassing moment.
  2. Leave the little and big one’s home. I am talking about your kids. It is a business event and changing diapers or dealing with adolescent meltdowns do not lead to fruitful conference experiences. If you must, find things to keep them busy without you…
  3. Leave the spouse or significant other home too. This one is optional. Last yr. our local chapter president’s husband tagged along, and we got 18 holes in on the second day of the conference. It was 94 (not just the temp but the humidity too, but it was a PGA course!). Ok, Chicago isn’t geared to golfers…so you will have to flip a coin on this one. By the way I broke a 100 (a 98) so it was worth it…he shot 84 and said it was worth it too…
  4. Your weekly staff meeting. Take a flyer on this at all costs. You know if you take part it will only lead to follow up work and your trying to hit as many sessions as possible will be compromised. Cancel or have a proxy to take notes.
  5. A full schedule. The best conference experiences are in part who you meet and the side bars. We will talk about the other kinds of “bars” in a couple of minutes.
  6. Pre-conceived notions. Many speakers will push the boundaries of conventional wisdom. Yours truly included. This is a great opportunity to change or augment your view points.
  7. Uncomfortable shoes, oh the other list’s talked at nauseum about this…so I will leave it there.
  8. Too many outfits, oh see # 7
  9. Sleeping in each morning. The best speakers are early. Whether it be the Mega sessions at 7am or the key notes right after. You can sleep on the plane going home.
  10. Your Diet. There are a lot of opportunities to eat and drink. Even if your strict, this is one time to figure out where you can give a little. Plus, there is a fund raiser with the SHRM foundation for most Steps. So, bring your Fitbit, sneakers, and an appetite to burn some extra calories. SHOOSH, don’t tell anyone I mentioned this…last yr. I lost a couple of pounds and we were in New Orleans. I hope I can do the same this yr. too. Well I may need to stay on the diet for most of the conference…we will see…

Any way hope this helped. As I like to say “Less is More” …see you all in Chicago!


Any way, well intention’d but poorly executed….

How HR Should respond to a Scandal, and Other Musings…


I had a few articles that I was quoted and featured in recently. One was by Lisa Nagele-Piazza on the SHRM On-line magazine. I am re-posting it below for those who have not seen it. Or you could click on this to go straight to the article. It was conducted at the SHRM Legislative Conference last Month in Washington DC and was the kick off to my Last HR Jedi Tour. Hope you enjoy it:

HR professionals are typically responsible both for supporting the executive team and for advocating on behalf of employees. So what should HR do when a senior manager oversteps legal boundaries and the ramifications of his or her behavior affect the entire workforce?

Inappropriate and unlawful behavior happens. A company leader may be involved in a sexual harassment scandal, engage in discriminatory conduct or even take part in criminal activities, such as fraud or embezzlement.

Figuring out how to respond to the situation can be a dilemma for HR professionals, said Mark Fogel, SHRM-SCP, chief executive officer and co-founder of Human Capital 3.0, an organizational leadership advisory firm. Should HR:

  • Act as defense and protect the executive?
  • Settle certain situations with money?
  • Take action against all wrongdoers?

What if the wrongdoer owns the company? What if the behavior is unethical but not illegal? “Doing the right thing” isn’t always easy or clear, Fogel said at the 2018 Society for Human Resource Management Employment Law & Legislative Conference on March 13 in Washington, D.C.

HR professionals need to weigh their options. They could expose the company and stand on moral and ethical high ground, but they may face losing their job and damaging their reputation. Despite government efforts to help regulate the private sector and prevent retaliation for whistle-blowers, you must carefully consider the possible outcomes, Fogel said.

Don’t Brave It Alone

At a minimum, HR professionals need to do what the law requires, Fogel noted. “If someone actually breaks the law, you have to bring it forward.”

It may help to discuss the situation with someone in the company and examine the possible strategies.

Who can HR turn to for partnership? Fogel suggested first consulting an immediate manager. If that’s not possible, consider talking to internal legal counsel or a member of the board of directors. Depending on the situation, it may also be appropriate to speak with a government agency.

“This is an uncomfortable conversation,” Fogel said, especially for those who have never talked to legal counsel or the board of directors. “Take into consideration that once you push the button, you have to be willing to follow up and have those conversations.”

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Conduct an Investigation]

Additionally, HR professionals need to ensure workers feel empowered to come forward and report legal or ethical issues in the workplace.

Note that conversations might not be confidential. Follow-up investigations and interviews may need to be conducted.

Document Each Step

When wrongdoing is suspected, HR should investigate the situation and document the findings. “It’s hard to remember what you said yesterday at breakfast,” Fogel said, so document everything in real time. “If you document things a week later, you are more likely to fill in the gaps” with dialogue or actions that didn’t actually happen.

Not all documentation has to be shared, but it’s a good idea to keep track of the steps taken. Consider following up with a brief e-mail after phone or in-person conversations, too, he added.

Have a Uniform Public Message

Some company scandals are more public than others. “What do you say to the press if a camera is in your face and your CEO has just been arrested?” Fogel asked. “It’s not so easy.”

That’s why organizations should have a policy designating who can speak to the press. All employees should be aware of the policy and should know who is responsible for handling media requests. If HR is responsible for speaking to the media, Fogel suggests having one point of contact. The spokesperson should:

  • Hold media conversations at certain time intervals. It’s fine to say, “We are still looking into this matter and will get back to you when we have more information.”
  • Resist overstating the situation. Provide simple statements with just a few words or sentences. Answer the questions asked and don’t supply additional information.
  • Refrain from guessing, predicting or assuming. Stick to the known facts.

Recognize HR’s Hard Work

As sexual harassment accusations against politicians, celebrities and executives flood the news, many people have asked, “Where was HR?

HR has gotten a raw deal in terms of the public response to sexual harassment claims, said Jonathan A. Segal, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia and New York City.

There may be cases where HR could have done more—and that needs to be evaluated—but it doesn’t make headlines when HR does things right, Segal said during a general session on March 13. When HR promptly investigates and helps resolve the situation, no one complains. And that’s a good thing.

It’s also important to remember that HR isn’t solely responsible for civility and compliance in the workplace. Leadership must own those issues, too.

“I see a lot of HR people struggling with the hardest issues and most doing a really good job,” Segal said.


Want to learn more on this topic? Catch me on the Smart Stage at #SHRM18 in Chicago this June!

When You Know You Made an Impact


Recently I have had a rash of HR folks, and even conferences, copy me. I am doing my Last HR Jedi Tour across America this year and have a Star Wars theme and marketing to go with it.

How do I know this? Well in one case I got a phone call asking for assistance. In another I know the folks and they attended my Smart Stage at SHRM17 in New Orleans. That is where the concept started along with the theme and marketing.

Am I mad? NO…I am honored… You have to make an impact, or at least an impression, for folks to follow your lead….I call it HR Karaoke…more on that over at FOT this May….

The Last HR Jedi Tour adds Fall 2018 Dates


I am just back from Vegas and the second leg of my Last HR Jedi Tour. It’s been going great and I am pleased to announce new dates. I will be adding a fall leg to the tour which will open with 2 presentations at the NY State annual SHRM conference in Albany, NY on September 23rd and 24th.

In addition we are in discussions for a couple more stops….

I will be back to tell you more in the next few days…till then I hope your all enjoying the Spring weather (at least no more snow here on Long Island)….and my golf clubs are in the garage and ready to go.

See you all soon!!!

What is your Plus/Minus?


I teach Recruiting to business students in an MBA program. We spend a whole class on statistics each semester. Time to fill, Cost per hire etc….

Businesses and sports have a lot in common in this area. One measurement that always interested me was the Plus/Minus used in basketball, hockey and soccer. Sometimes you’re not the big scorer, but you play great defense. Or your presence and attitude impact your team.

I am not sure how organizations can measure plus/minus in a business setting. I do know that sometimes stars can be detrimental and utility players can be difference makers.

When my daughter was younger, she played competitive soccer. As a goalie she had stats: shots on goal, saves, and save percentage. She had 2 defenders that played in front of her that almost never hit the stats sheet, but their play more than anyone elses impacted outcomes. They rarely got the accolades of the goal scores or even my daughter when she had a good game. But take them away and your almost certain to lose…

Do you have unsung heroes on your team. What is their plus/minus? Maybe it is time to figure this one out.