You may have seen me post this picture before. It is my nephew Paul, a Naval Officer, with his son Mason standing on his feet. Paul has served our country for the past two decades, been wounded and recovered during the second Gulf War conflict, and has had many dangerous tours of duty during that time. He does this to protect our nation and the liberties we are afforded and sometimes take for granted each day.
I know what many of you are thinking: Mark likes to post on all the major holidays. And I usually thread the military and politics into my conversation. The next holiday up is Memorial Day this coming Monday. It is an important one as we remember our fallen troops dating back all the way to the Civil War when over 600,000 Americans died fighting for civil rights. That happens to be more individuals than any other war our country has fought in, including WW2. Many reading this post have family or friends that have served our country too. Grandparents, next door neighbors, siblings, or even just casual acquaintances.
Before I go any further, my nephew is in good health, so this is not some sort of memorial or get-out-the-tissue-box article. However, it is a very important holiday for all of us, especially my family. Without the service of others, who risk life and limb for our freedom, none of us would have the opportunity to freely express ourselves (even on this website). I take our constitution and our laws seriously…
So, what is the connection to HR?
Well, I won’t insult anyone by stating HR folks have the same risks as our military, but many are charged with being the guardians of our workplace rights and, yes, freedoms too. This has only been heightened in the past 18 months with the avalanche of maleficence and issues in the workplace, whether it be sexual harassment, race, sexual orientation, ethics, or financial irregularities.
HR has an important role to play as we move forward in these unsettling times. If you do not work in HR, I hope you give your full support to those who do when they are faced with these challenges. It is not an easy or desirable aspect of the job for many, but one that needs a champion and HR very often is asked to be just that…
In addition, there are currently 1.4 million men and woman serving actively across all our military branches with countless more as reservists and members of state national guard. And although the unemployment rate for veterans is at a 20 year low, it is still a challenge for many veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life to attain gainful employment. The HR community needs to continue to champion hiring and training veterans. This is an area that I am especially proud of the HR and talent community supporting and doing great work on!
While we are barbequing, watching air shows at the beach or a park, attending our children’s sports tournaments, or even just relaxing this weekend, thousands of our service men and woman will be on duty protecting our freedom around the globe. This holiday is also a solemn reminder of the service of millions of men and woman who have given their time, and life, to afford us the opportunity to enjoy this weekend in whatever fashion we so desire.
Over the past couple of days, I have had the honor of hanging with my nephew Paul. We had a few laughs and it was a nice break for him before he gets back to his current command. In a way, this holiday isn’t for me but for him and all our military and their families.
So, to all of you serving our country: THANK YOU and have a safe and enjoyable holiday!
Mark Fogel is best known for his HR with an Attitude. His background includes almost a decade and a half as CHRO at Leviton Mfg., The Marcum Group, and The Success Academy Charter School Network, as well as co-founding Human Capital 3.0, a boutique HR advisory firm. Mark has been honored by SHRM nationally as their Human Capital Leader of the Year in 2007, and by HR Executive Magazine as an Honor Roll recipient in 2010 and “Best HR Ideas” in 2012. His HR teams have garnished numerous national and local awards for HR innovation, wellness, and employee engagement. Mark speaks regularly at national conferences. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi’s Graduate School of Business.