SHRM Going Forward with China Gorman – Pt. 2

by The Red Recruiter on April 18, 2009

SHRMLOGO - FocusIn last week’s post we covered Social Media as it applies to the HR profession. The main points of discussion really centered around how SHRM is going to play a part in the education of HR professionals as this new mode of communication and interaction becomes more popular. Fortunately, SHRM has made a commitment to dedicate additional efforts in order to keep their membership base current in this rapidly evolving business climate.

Q&A From HR Professionals

In this segment, we are going to continue with the questions that I presented to China Miner Gorman. The second and third most popular line of questions from the HR professionals that participated were non-HR certifications and SHRM’s take on the union situation. It was evident that currently evolving business models and our country’s economic crisis were both top-of-mind.

Non-HR Certification

Q: Diversity Inc. magazine reported that “More people experienced workplace discrimination last year than ever before” and that “all major categories across the private sector increased, age and retaliation claims jumped the most.” How does SHRM plan to provide adequate training in the law regarding discrimination and promotion processes in order to minimize legal risk for the companies and educate the non-HR managers?

A: It’s true that we are seeing more people file discrimination suits with the EEOC. From violent hate crimes to retaliation. What this really points to is something that HR professionals have known for a long time. Those organizations that are committed to diversity and value differences in the workplace are the ones most capable of dealing with the current economic conditions.

It is critical, as a business leader, to value diversity and inclusion. SHRM has a broader view on diversity than just compliance – it’s about really creating inclusive cultures within organizations. Our diversity initiative is something that we’ve invested heavily in for diversity practitioners to work from simple compliance to overall inclusion. We are launching the Strategic Diversity Leadership Certificate to address some of these issues. This is really focused on business acumen and leadership buy-in.

Q: What measures have been taken by SHRM to teach non-HR professionals?

A: We do provide a non-HR certification now. The Essentials of Human Resources Management is the name of the program. Last year we trained over 400 individuals in the program and we see demand increasing. We are also offering this program at the annual conference as a “Train The Trainer” for those who need to instruct non-HR Managers.


Q: What is SHRM’s opinion of the Employee Free Choice Act that is currently in the Congress & Senate?

A: SHRM strongly opposes any attempt to abolish a workers right to a secret ballot or to impose binding arbitration on employees and employers.

Q: What role does social networking play in solicitation for purposes of union communications and what prevention rights does an employer have?

A: As we go forward with an administration that is clearly more pro-union than past administrations have been, I would expect that we will see the cross over. I’m not sure that current legislation addresses it. The laws that exist currently are more geared towards past communication channels.

SHRM is not anti-union. In fact, we have many members who are union members or who have had positive experiences with unions. But, at a time when our nation is facing unprecedented economic challenges, we must not impose labor management rules that could seriously hinder an organization’s ability to create jobs.

Why SHRM Matters For Human Resources

For me, this was a good exercise in learning. My knowledge and understanding of HR has much more to do with the candidate marketability side than anything else. This, of course, includes the skills and abilities that make an HR professional a “high demand” candidate. In my assessment, there has been a large shift in the wants, needs and desires of hiring managers who are looking to bring on the best HR talent. This shift has almost everything to do with identifying professionals who have a good balance between HR specific technical skills and overall business skills that aid in impacting the organization.

As it applies to my recruiting world, I’m interested in SHRM because they play a part in the development of my future candidates. Are they the only source for learning in HR… of course not! However, if you are in HR, it is likely that you have at least been exposed to the organization. Providing timely and appropriate training to continue the development of professionals within the arena is very much so of interest to me… and it should be to others who care about the future of Human Resources.

In my experience placing people within HR; the PHR, SPHR and GPHR still serve as benchmarks in the profession. To ignore that would be the same as an Accountant ignoring the need to prove her/his technical understanding by obtaining the CPA. Before you get all worked up over that comment and try to outline the differences (and I know that they exist), just know that I’m strictly referring to the nature of a certification to benchmark a candidate’s level of expertise. Not to say they can’t learn the same information elsewhere, just that the outside world (your future employers) have a tendency to look for assurances… just as they would from an Accountant.

The Refreshing Outlook

The very best part of the interview with China was hearing her excitement about SHRM’s plans to understand the HR community, both their needs

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and opinions, through the use of social media/networking. SHRM is discovering segmented groups all over the world who want to share. Many of these groups have veered away from the traditional chapter model and taken to different modes of communication… namely the Internet.

China and many other members of the organization have embraced this new medium as a way to further understand their audience and use that information to better serve the HR community going forward. In a time when so many organizations are resisting social media, it’s comforting to see that SHRM has not only considered it, but that they are using it for a more constructive future.

A Note on Twitter

As with the many HR professionals that I have recently befriended, I first communicated with China on Twitter. That’s right, the COO of SHRM is Tweeting and interacting with Human Resource professionals across the country. I wonder if anyone from the IACPA is doing that. I’d let you know, but I couldn’t find them on either Twellow or TweepSearch.

SHRM Public Affairs recently Tweeted out a list of SHRM employees who are on Twitter. Here is a list in case you would like to start following them.

China Miner Gorman (COO of SHRM), SHRM Public Affairs, Gary Rubin (Chief E-Media and Publishing Officer), Pamela Green (Chief Membership Executive), Deb Cohen (Chief Knowledge Officer), Nat Wilson (Online Communities Manager), Dr. Shirley David (Office of Diversity) and Eric Peterson (Office of Diversity).

What kind of initiatives would you like SHRM to pursue going forward? Have you stayed active with SHRM over the years? If not, why?

If you would like to be a part of the group that participates in future interviews by providing questions, please sign up for the “In The Know” list up at the top of this page.

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