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O’Neil: SHRM Is a Global Home for HR

By Allen Smith  6/27/2010
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Laurence G. O'Neil

SAN DIEGO—The past year has resulted in enormous changes not just in the workplace “but around the world. At times, it seemed as if there was no safe harbor for anyone,” remarked Laurence G. O’Neil, CEO and president of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), at the opening general session for the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference here on June 27.

But O’Neil sent out a welcome to the more than 11,000 annual conference attendees, telling them that SHRM “is your home, your safe harbor,” and noting how SHRM is steering its way boldly into the future.

He outlined the new map for SHRM’s future, a plan based on such strategic priorities as:

  • To serve and continually strengthen our core membership.
  • To be a global organization with a global perspective.
  • To be a more active adviser and advocate.

Already, SHRM’s new direction is delivering results, he noted, remarking that becoming a truly global organization is a business imperative.

SHRM’s membership in India has topped 1,100, and more than 800 people from more than 70 countries are attending the annual conference.

More Visibility

SHRM’s visibility has been on the rise in business media through advertising and partnership events with Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Economist.

SHRM also has succeeded in having its recommended HR curriculum adopted and taught in more than 150 graduate and undergraduate-level business schools.

“More than ever before, we’re attracting the attention of people and organizations that never thought much about SHRM or HR,” O’Neil remarked.

In the past year alone, SHRM members have sent more than 100,000 letters to influence legislation in Congress. And, O’Neil noted, more than 300 SHRM members visited their elected officials in Washington, D.C., in a single day in March 2010. “Those are new records for SHRM, and nearly impossible for any other professional association to achieve,” he said.

“SHRM is an influential player—thanks to you,” O’Neil added, noting that SHRM’s expertise is sought out at the White House and the Labor Department, on Capitol Hill and in state capitals and increasingly around the globe.

“Yes, this is truly an exciting year of transition for SHRM,” O’Neil said. “Instead of hunkering down to preserve the status quo, like so many other associations felt they needed to do, SHRM is investing resources in your future.”

SHRM offers “something more” because of intangibles, he remarked, calling the organization “a unique and personal community based on loyalty to our mission … and to each other.”

In 2009, as SHRM was in transition, it extended free memberships to more than 3,000 HR professionals who lost their jobs. “SHRM was their lifeline to 250,000 colleagues who could help them stay in the game, stay involved and get back on their feet.”

In this way, O’Neil added, “SHRM is a reflection of you.” He concluded by saying “our strategic business plan for the future is built on a simple truth: What all of us do requires a shared commitment to excellence, and it requires a fitting home.”

O’Neil said, “This is the place where we will always be there for you, your chapters, and state councils, striving to do good for you, to grow with you and to stay ahead of your challenges.”

He concluded that “with your help and guidance, we’ll keep moving, keep advancing, keep challenging ourselves. You deserve no less, because you’re with SHRM and SHRM is with you.”

Allen Smith, J.D., is manager of workplace law content for SHRM.

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