Former Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor and Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor
It took a man who takes no prisoners to help America escape a second Great Depression. When Seth Harris was appointed the Department of Labor's (DOL) Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer in 2009, large parts of the DOL – and its $85 Billion annual budget – epitomized government bureaucracy. Fortunately for the American people, Harris identified and eradicated inefficiencies, and with a combination of driven leadership and a firm commitment to accountability, quickly and effectively transformed the DOL into the federal government’s best-performing department. Read More >
President Clinton Recognizing Deputy Secretary Harr
NAWB Forum 2013 Keynote Address
Businesses across America are dealing with employees who are frustrated, disappointed, or even angry about the state of their lives. These employees feel insecure in the present and worry about their families’ futures. They fear their economic position and societal status are slipping and could be lost entirely due to forces beyond their control. They no longer believe the institutions that are supposed to be looking out for them, including government, are working for them. They are concerned that their children will not have a fair shot at the American Dream. They want their fair share and are convinced they are not getting it. Prominent policymaker, keen economic observer and labor relations expert Seth Harris informs audiences about how developments in the American economy have affected U.S. workers’ outlook on their lives and their jobs. Harris also brings suggested solutions for businesses seeking to improve employee morale and performance in difficult economic times.
The growing use of big data and predictive analytics to help address human capital and other work-related issues brings great opportunities, but also meaningful risks. Big data can help employers recruit the best qualified job applicants, improve the match between jobs and prospective employees, and reform work processes and workplace rules to maximize productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Big data promises that employees’ workplaces will be governed by merit and driven by data, not supervisors’ biases and outmoded notions about which job qualifications matter most. However, big data and predictive analytics can also raise grave concerns about workplace privacy, exploitation of workers and legal liability. Based on decades of experience addressing labor and employment issues as a teacher, scholar, lawyer and policymaker at the highest levels of the U.S. government, Seth Harris surveys the new and growing practice of people analytics and proposes a simple principle for using big data in the workplace: employers must be values-driven as well as data-driven. Harris helps audiences to understand that keeping the people in people analytics is the surest path to success.
In Spring 2009, Seth Harris became the Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Labor – an $85 billion, 17,000-employee federal Cabinet agency. He found a complex organization without a direction, a plan, or effective accountability and management systems. Using aggressive strategic planning, performance management and performance measurement, Harris brought the department's 28 operating units together and led a transformation of the Labor Department into an effective, evidence-driven governmental leader in performance management and measurement and program evaluation. Despite the failures in the implementation of President Obama’s health care law in 2013, Harris makes the case that government can be a high-performance organization. A recognized leader in government reform and performance, Harris brings his unique approach to building an effective performance measurement and management system to public-sector and private-sector audiences.
Despite gridlock in Congress, the law governing workplaces and the relationships between employers and employees is changing rapidly. The federal agencies charged with administering dozens of labor and employment laws are re-writing and reinterpreting regulations, and significantly expanding and targeting enforcement efforts. Human resources professionals, labor and employment lawyers, small business owners, worker advocates and other observers of workplace law need assistance in keeping up with fast moving developments. Former U.S. Acting Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Labor, and nationally recognized labor and employment law scholar and teacher, Seth Harris is ready to help. Harris shaped many of the policies currently emerging from President Obama’s Department of Labor and drove change through an aggressive overhaul of the department’s performance and program evaluation systems. Harris understands and explains these changes in a way that only an insider and expert in the field can.
"Seth is an exceptional, engaging, and entertaining speaker—emphasis on entertaining. He brings a self-deprecating humor to a serious subject—the business of government—leaving audience participants intellectually satisfied while simultaneously thinking that they had just attended a comedy show with a date rather than an academic conference with colleagues. Seth openly interacted with the audience during the Q&A session. After the talk, he continued to engage with his audience in a professional and personable manner."