change management

HR With An Attitude

HR Studio_Interview_Ep35 (002)

Here is the content from a recent Podcast I did on the “HR Podcast” series. TO hear it in its entirety click here.

Can HR Transform to Truly Impact Business Success?
The profession of Human Resources has evolved over the last 30 years from an administrative function to one focused on positively impacting the bottom line results of organizations. While still required to ensure compliance with regulations and regulatory agencies, the function is focused now on building organizational competencies necessary to compete and win in today’s very competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace.
Truth be told, the evolution of HR is still in progress. Many organizations are at the very beginning in trying to make the transition, while others are at the forefront and making some good headway. But there are many critics that don’t actually believe HR will ever be able to make that transformational shift at all. Mark Fogel is one of those people, and he has a very clear opinion of the topic and some very important and meaningful advice for HR professionals today.
Mark is a former CHRO and CMO, a successful entrepreneur, a writer, and a notable speaker. He has many awards to his name including SHRM’s 2007 Human Capital Leader and SHRM’s 2009 Innovation Award winner. He is currently the leader of the retained search and consulting practice for Signium in New York City. Signium is a top 25 global search and consulting firm.

Key Learnings From This Episode
 State of HR Today. Mark believes HR’s transformation from administrative to an HR Business Partner is like having a GPS, and you have several ways you can go. There are the strategic folks and then there are the tactical people who are taking the side streets and are getting caught up in the street lights at every block. It is a tale of two cities. There are some players out there who are ‘getting it’ and they move the profession/function forward, and then there are a lot of people who are stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels. Mark feels we should get more people rallied around doing what needs to be done to keep the profession fresh, vibrant and important to the business.

HR with an attitude. Mark has espoused an HR posture for success, which is ‘HR with an attitude’. What does that mean and how did Mark arrive at that kind of stance as an HR professional? Attitude means a lot of things to a lot of people. When you are asked to describe a ‘New Yorker’, the first things people think of are ‘sassiness’ and ‘having an attitude’. To Mark, attitude is not about being aggressive or obnoxious. It is about being competent, taking a stand when you have the information and the facts, and not backing down. It sounds relatively simple, but it is difficult when you have people all day long pressing you to move their agenda instead of doing what is best for your business and your people.

Applying “HR with an attitude” to his career. Over the first half of his career, Mark took the slow path, listening to others, trying to do the right thing, and being methodical. One day he realized that if you stand by your convictions and push forward, push away the naysayers, and do what you believe in as long as you know it is right, everything else works out, and it has – and that is when his career took off.

Mark spent the first 14 years of his career working in retail, part of it in operations and then part of it Human Resources, even though people told him he could not make the jump. He wanted to get out of retail, and people told him that although he was HR Retail, he would never get out and work in HR for other companies or industries, but he did.

People would continually give him advice, but he soon came to realize that ‘advice is cheap’. You need to believe in yourself.

What does Mark see as the critical behaviors necessary for success as an HR professional? Data analytics has become a major part of everything we do, and not just in HR. It has become critical to be able to ‘back up’ with credibility. To take a step forward, many businesses are doing predictive analytics – not just saying ‘this is what happened in the past’, but actually saying ‘we can make decisions on the future using this data’ – capturing data and using it in a way that helps you move forward. We need to stop measuring things that don’t add value anymore. HR has to catch up to the times, and right now, it is a runaway freight train. Utilizing data, synthesizing it down to actionable plans, and taking action on those will lead to success.

It is critical for HR professionals to move to a true organizational development mindset. It is easy to do compliance, onboarding, benefits administration, basic compensation, and to administer reviews. It is much more difficult to engage people and to get them to use a feedback culture – to really understand what makes their people tick and keep their people happy. Engagement was the rage a few years ago, but we need to get beyond engagement. Engagement is something that should happen every day.

Is HR going to be able to make the transformation? Mark believes ‘yes’ but that it is a tale of two cities. Some organizations are making it already, and not just the large companies who are getting a lot of press. There are many small and mid-size companies that ‘get it’ and have become extremely agile and optical. The ability to be flexible and to not get locked into an old mindset – those businesses have jumped the river, and they are on the other side. Most want to make the jump, but they either have not or they are struggling with it.
Recommended Reading and References From this Episode
fistful of talentRecruiting DailyThe SHRM Blog


Sour Grapes Make The Best “Whine”


Yes, my spelling is correct…. Whine or bitching. That is what I was afraid my informative emails and conversations would be viewed as recently.

For those who follow me on Social Media you know that I made the Administration at Adelphi aware of the poor employee treatment of several Business Department Adjunct Professors this past school year (myself included). You can click here to catch up on the discussion.

Another 4 weeks has passed and I did meet with the university’s Provost as mentioned in my previous rant. To be fair it went well, he listened and did  all that I expected including the mia culpa for the President, who in her own words was just too busy to meet with me. The spin was that she wanted to provide me adequate time for a full conversation and did not want to short change me.

Well I still haven’t heard a thing, not a single email, follow up phone call or anything even close. The semester is ending. Several of my colleagues are now taking the conversation to another level. It’s getting serious, the union is involved, there is talk of taking this public and even exploring a union just for the Adjuncts.

My position on Union’s is that I am not a fan and have sat on the opposite side of the table thru the back half of my career. Never could I have imagined shifting positions, but I am seriously doing so. I still believe when management is open, honest and cares about its employees that we don’t need to evoke the “U” word.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a silver lining or a positive resolution in the near term. I suspect this will get at the very least interesting the next few weeks….

I will be back to share outcomes over the summer (if there are any)….

Damn what a great HR case study and I am on the inside of it for a change.

Have a great week…no more whining…..

Quick Quips on 2016



Another year about to end and of course one last post before the new year.

My personal accomplishments were a short list this year. Not much to brag about or even be proud of. However, there were a few bright spots;

I did ramp up my writing and have appeared on the ADP SPARK website,, and most recently Fistful of Talent (FOT). For the foreseeable future I will be a fixture on FOT as it fits my personality the best. I get to write about meaningful topics to the HR community in a free flow style. In short I get to be ME, the HR guy with just a pinch of ATTITUDE and the chops to back it up. I also think it is still one of the few relevant and well written HR/Talent sites on the web.

I also went and acquired my Life/Accident/Health insurance broker’s license for New York State. Not so much to sell, but as I consult I can turn business over to a couple of colleagues and still share in the commissions. Let me tell you it’s not as easy as you think to take the 40-hr. course and pass the state exam especially on your own (not company sponsored). I did it end to end in less than a month and it was a good personal test of fortitude.

I did a few speaking gigs, Disrupt HR in NYC to start the year, 2 private company conferences, SHRM National and the New York State conference. I also did some local stuff to keep sharp. I am working on some very cool stuff for 2017, maybe my best to date, so you will be hearing more about this in coming weeks.

I continue to teach grad school at Adelphi and will even try my hand at undergrad for the first time in 17 yrs. in the spring. I enjoy the classroom, maybe more than the office….so this is a great part-time activity for me.

There are things that didn’t go so well and  I need to work on too;

I have tried my hand at “selling” with less than stellar results. By nature, I am more of a consultant and business insider. I do strategy and implementation well, but I am still learning the art of the deal. I also have a fairly big network  and am comfortable networking, but converting is harder then  it looks.  A work in progress. I just need to fine tune a few things for 2017.

My volunteering has dwindled as I have reduced my board activity to Molloy college and doing some editorial work for World at Work on their publications. I have been doing editorial review for almost a decade and a half and still enjoy it. I am looking to find the right balance of giving back and not being taken advantage of. Molloy college and World at Work continue to fit. I do want to find one  more  outlet to give back without being a major time suck.

Recently I offered to serve with my local SHRM chapter and met stiff resistance. I thought this would be my next give back opportunity on a local level after having done some volunteer work on the national level for SHRM over the past few yrs. Unfortunately, I was upsetting the apple cart of the entrenched folks who are working hard but not necessarily moving the local chapter forward. Their loss not mine. I will be back in 2017 to talk more about that in a full post or maybe even two.

My golf game has improved almost 10 strokes a round and I am now shooting rounds as low as the mid 90’s regularly (yes that’s 18 holes, not 9). I still have a long way to go and that will be a challenge for the year to come.

I also lost a few of the many pounds I have added over the past decade. It is definitely time to get “ME” in order. This is never an easy battle, but it is now a necessary one that I can’t ignore.

So, as you can see it was not that memorable of a year. That’s the funny thing. Most of us reminisce  in December looking for outstanding accomplishments and memorable moments. In past years, especially in the 2003 – 2013 time frame I had some great years and could have filled a chapter instead of a half page. This past year was a little like a pro athlete entering the twilight of their career that gets injured and sits out the season. Now I know what folks like Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Derrick Jeter felt like after major injuries as they neared their final swan songs. Ok, I know I compared myself to the best in their respective sports ( I have an ego, but am also confident about who I am and what I have done in my career) and that’s how I feel.

The interesting thing is with less accomplishments, I now appreciate little things a lot more. Things that would have been after thoughts or no thought at all only a couple of years ago, are so much sweeter now. A lesson in life. We don’t always appreciate what we have or what we accomplish as much as we should.

Well this winter is officially training camp for 2017 and I expect to make a big comeback. There is still plenty of tread on these tires and I intend to use them at full speed!

I won’t make any of the cliché resolutions for the new year. Instead, I will just say that training camp is about to begin. Plenty of hard work and sweat, figuratively and literally. As the saying goes, this is not my first rodeo. It also will not be my last. And I expect to make the team and not get cut!

For those celebrating this weekend, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!!!

I will be back at the end of next week on the Fistful of Talent site to wish you all a happy new year and quip a little more on what HR can do to make 2017 a great year….