SHRM 2021 Annual Report

Now more than ever,
the world of work needs HR

In 2021, our second year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, business executives and policymakers urgently sought HR’s leadership, thrusting HR professionals onto the front lines to serve as corporate first responders. Many of us returned to the office, only to face further challenges such as COVID-19 variants, vaccine mandates, racial inequity, a mental health crisis and the Great Resignation.

HR professionals rose to the occasion, courageously leading their organizations to rebuild and discover innovative and strategic ways to adapt to today’s changing work landscape.

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Now More Than Ever

About the 2021 Campaign

Our Now More Than Ever campaign cast HR professionals in the spotlight, highlighting the value HR brings, in partnership with SHRM, while meeting the challenges of today’s workplace.

The campaign featured two national TV commercials and shared resources tailored to our 6 distinct audience segments. With SHRM as their partner, our members have been able to leverage education, professional development, and tools to meet the needs of the modern and ever-changing workplace.

Our Work:

Throughout the year, SHRM supported our 300,000+ members and partners by:

    We shared cutting-edge research on workplace culture, COVID-19’s impact on American workers and employers, DE&I, and pay equity and armed our members with the expertise needed to meet the diverse needs of workers across the country. SHRM partnered with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and Trusaic to conduct a study on the extent to which DE&I is a strategic priority for organizations.
    SHRM Government Affairs advocated for SHRM legislative priorities on Capitol Hill, hosted a listening session with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) commissioners at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, and engaged with White House officials on behalf of HR professionals and business executives regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
    SHRM hosted the first-of-its-kind Workplace Mental Health & Wellness Summit, elevating the discussion on workplace mental health, and hosted the Visionaries Summit, a new executive forum to expand the national conversation on DE&I and belonging.

Throughout 2021, SHRM’s efforts continued to elevate the HR profession and garner significant attention from national media. SHRM data was featured in 1800+ media interviews globally resulting in 47.5 billion impressions and $439 million in earned media value.


Now more than ever, HR plays a vital role as workplaces enact transformational change, innovate, and evolve to build a world of work that works for all.


Together Forward at Work

Award-Winning Campaign
Combating Racial Inequity

In 2021, we expanded our Together Forward @Work campaign, which aims to elevate HR’s role in addressing racial inequity in the workplace, with a focus on turning words into action.

Insights and Tactical Solutions
Together Forward @Work’s Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Racial Equity contains insights and tactical solutions that organizations can use to construct equitable hiring practices and empathetic cultures, leading to truly equitable, diverse and inclusive workplaces.
DE&I Toolbox:
As a result of the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations and to encourage organizations to spur real, lasting change, SHRM created the DE&I Action-to-Change Toolbox, which includes a resource guide, conversation starter cards and a step-by-step playbook to support inclusivity, reduce bias in hiring and create safe spaces at work.
Salary Tools
Together Forward @Work has since been recognized nationally and received numerous accolades in 2021 for its work to identify long-term solutions for creating inclusive workplaces.
Blue Ribbon Commision
The path toward equity focuses on Inclusion.


SHRM continues to elevate HR by serving as the premier voice for all things work by activating our audience-centric business model, bolstering membership, and amplifying the SHRM brand.

SHRM 2021 Achievements by the Numbers:

In a banner year for SHRM, in 2021 we achieved our highest recorded revenue, a record-high membership renewal rate, our highest recorded membership (307,630 members), and our highest number of certificants, at 120,038 (active) and 167,000 (active plus retired).

SHRM also grew participation: Chapter Dual Membership release programs increased by 300%, increasing to 88 chapters. We also continued our focus on training Volunteer Leaders and supported our 556 chapters and 51 state councils.

Engaging the Next Generation of HR Professionals

In 2021 SHRM refreshed and relaunched the emerging professional segment to feature new student-centric content and messaging and reimagined member benefits.

As a result of these brand enhancements to the student segment, SHRM saw 4,000 new student members in the first 90 days of the Pursue Your Purpose launch. The campaign led to a 200% increase in student applications for SHRM certification exam.

SHRM and the SHRM Foundation also launched new mentorship experiences, featuring three different types of program options to get HR students workplace ready.


Increased Certification Applicants




New Members

SHRM Education

SHRM’s vast competency-based curriculum of SHRM Certification Preparation, Specialty Credentials, and extensive eLearning offerings reached nearly 40,000 professionals.

People Manager

SHRM Education’s newest product line, the People Manager Qualification (PMQ), reached thousands of new leaders: In 2021 SHRM sold 2,000+ PMQ seats.

SHRM Inclusive Workplace Culture Specialty Credential

The Inclusive Workplace Culture Specialty Credential gives HR professionals the strategies and tools needed to successfully shift organizational culture.

SHRM Workplace Investigations Specialty Credential

Complaints require careful attention from HR professionals including when and how to engage. This credential empowers members to effectively and accurately operate in their roles as investigators.

Build Your Business for Tomorrow

Debuting at No. 3 on The Wall Street Journal’s bestsellers list, RESET: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval, written by President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, has been featured in dozens of national and international news and business magazines, on podcasts and other outlets. It quickly became the must-read practical roadmap for leaders around the world.

All author proceeds benefit the SHRM Foundation, which is committed to empowering HR as a social force for change.

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“HR isn’t just a profession. It is the difference maker in good times and especially when crises darken our doors.”
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP,
SHRM President and CEO



In 2021, SHRM adapted our signature conferences to fit the changing times. In the spring of 2021, SHRM held two conferences, the SHRM Workplace Policy Conference 2021 and our first-ever Employment Law & Compliance Conference.

Employment Law & Compliance
Employment Law & Compliance Conference 2021

Our first-ever Employment Law & Compliance Conference 2021 was a fully virtual event. This event helped attendees gain insights and provide tools and resources to successfully anticipate and navigate employment laws, stay compliant and mitigate legal risks.

Workplace Policy Conference
SHRM Workplace Policy Conference 2021

The SHRM Workplace Policy Conference 2021 featured 11 policymakers, including Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Charlotte Burrows and resulted in 234 meetings between SHRM members and congressional offices.

SHRM made history by hosting our first-ever hybrid events. Attendees chose either in-person or virtual experiences at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2021 and INCLUSION 2021. These three events convened a total of more than 18,000 participants.

SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021

In 2021, SHRM’s marquee annual event was organized around the theme “Now More Than Ever.” The conference was designed to help HR leaders confidently lead their businesses and their people to reinvent, reprioritize and reimagine work, workers, and the workplace.

SHRM21 Engages Attendees in Las Vegas

SHRM21, hosted in Las Vegas over 4 days, boasted 11 different attendee tracks, 175+ sessions, and 11,500+ virtual and in-person attendees.

The conference also featured engaging mainstage speakers like Michael Phelps speaking on mental health and wellness, Chipotle’s CEO Brian Niccol and its chief diversity, inclusion and people officer Marissa Andrada, and Life is Good co-founder Bert Jacobs, networking opportunities, professional programming and interactive sessions with live chats and Q&A.


EEOC Listening Session

At SHRM21, SHRM Head of Government Affairs, Chief of Staff, and Corporate Secretary Emily M. Dickens led a listening session featuring EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows and Commissioner Keith Sonderling, who discussed future commission priorities and took questions from in-person and virtual attendees. This provided a phenomenal opportunity for our members to receive access to and interact directly with EEOC commissioners.

“Whether you’re in compensation and benefits; recruitment; inclusion, equity and diversity; employee relations; or whatever your practice, we are One HR.”
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP,
SHRM President and CEO

Leading the workplace innovation revolution

In 2021, SHRM rebranded its workplace innovation lab and venture capital arm as SHRMLabs.

SHRMLabs pioneered the inaugural Better Workplaces Challenge Cup, the first-ever pitch competition that gave HR practitioners a direct say in the technologies relevant in the workplace today. The 2021 competition featured more than 150 workplace tech startups as contest participants, 26 chapter leaders and volunteers serving as judges, and 25 virtual events nationwide. The competition culminated with the Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Finals hosted at SHRM21.

SHRM Foundation

Elevating HR and Empowering HR as a Social Force

The SHRM Foundation’s top strategic priorities in 2021 included:

Workplace Mental Health and Wellness
Workplace Mental Health and Wellness
Building Inclusive Workplaces
Building Inclusive Workplaces
Skill Building
Support for Emerging Professionals
Support for Emerging Professionals

SHRM Foundation Champions Workplace Mental Health and Wellness, Innovative Leadership

Mental health and wellness in the workplace emerged as one of the most critical social and economic issues of our day. In 2021, SHRM Foundation championed workplace mental health and wellness, collaborating with diverse partners to pioneer new solutions.

Employment Law & Compliance
Workplace Mental Health & Wellness Summit

The SHRM Foundation hosted the first-ever Workplace Mental Health Summit in 2021, leading the movement to destigmatize and support mental health and wellness in the workplace.

Workplace Mental Health Ally Certificate
Workplace Mental Health Ally Certificate

The SHRM Foundation partnered with Psych Hub to develop the Workplace Mental Health Ally Certificate, an online learning program featuring eight multimedia courses covering common mental health conditions and delivering evidence-based training.

Tharseo Awards

In 2021, the SHRM Foundation established the Tharseo Awards, an annual gala to honor forward-thinking business leaders who serve as visionaries, innovators, and change makers for their leadership by creating and strengthening the vital connection between employees and company purpose.

Building Inclusive Workplaces

The SHRM Foundation continued building awareness about the value of untapped talent in 2021. SHRM Foundation supports veterans, military spouses and caregivers, individuals aged 60+, workers with a disability, individuals with a criminal record, and opportunity youth through many initiatives. SHRM Foundation programs include:

Getting Talent Back To Work
Veterans At Work
Employing Abilities

Support for Emerging HR Professionals

In 2021, the SHRM Foundation awarded the next generation of HR professionals:




Award Recipients


Financial Assistance

Thank you to our partners

The SHRM Foundation appreciates your partnership and collaboration as we advance positive social change and build a world of work that works for all.

The SHRM Foundation saw its highest recorded revenue in 2021

The SHRM Foundation is grateful to all of our generous supporters and donors.


Total Donors


Total Funds Raised



In 2021, SHRM launched the SHRM Executive Network (EN), an dynamic group of HR leaders at the intersection of people and business, starting with the announcement of a new SHRM Executive Council. The SHRM Executive Council’s efforts equip members of the SHRM Executive Network with a competitive advantage through access to thought leadership, proprietary resources and global industry executives.

"Companies can better support their employees by providing learning opportunities that develop empathy and emotional agility as life-long skills as well as designing more employee friendly experiences starting with their recruiting, onboarding, training and mentoring programs, all of which set the stage for improved organizational performance. Make empathy an organization-wide priority: It will cultivate a more resilient and agile workforce."
Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP Melissa Anderson, SHRM-SCP,
Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer for Albermarle Corporation and Chair of SHRM Board of Directors

Enterprise Solutions

In 2021, SHRM Enterprise Solutions gave organizations the opportunity to leverage SHRM's unparalleled expertise, development tools and member resources by ensuring their entire HR Departments had access to SHRM’s benefits – not just individual HR practitioners. In 2021, SHRM doubled our number of SHRM Enterprise Members.

More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies rely on SHRM to be their go-to resource for all things work and a business partner equally invested in creating next-generation workplaces.
Policy Not Politics

Creating a Lasting Impact on Our World Through Public Policy

In 2021, SHRM Government Affairs built bridges across the political spectrum, partnering with leaders and policymakers aligned with SHRM’s vision of building better workplaces for a better world.

SHRM focused on six key policy areas driving our efforts to promote meaningful workplace policy solutions:

Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP

Workforce Development

Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP

Workplace Equity

Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP

Workplace Flexibility and Leave

Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP

Workplace Health Care

Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP

Workplace Immigration

Sean Sullivan, SHRM-SCP

Workplace Governance

SHRM Government Affairs supported SHRM members on the state and federal level. In a major state-level achievement for SHRM Government Affairs, SHRM achieved bipartisan outreach from California legislators seeking SHRM support for priority legislation impacting student loan assistance, veterans hiring preference, and flexibility for telework.

Navigating COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

By engaging with the Biden administration and conducting a survey of SHRM member reactions to President Biden’s vaccine mandate announcement, SHRM ensured the perspectives of HR professionals and business executives were considered as the administration finalized rules to enact a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.


As the foremost expert, convener, and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces, SHRM proudly represented our 300,000+ members through testimonies before federal commissions and on Capitol Hill.

SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, testified before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a hearing on the effects of COVID-19 on workers, employers’ difficulties navigating potential employment discrimination issues, and future challenges the pandemic may present for employees and employers.

SHRM Chief of Staff, Head of Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary Emily M. Dickens joined the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion to discuss pay equity issues and effective compensation practices.

SHRM Foundation President Wendi Safstrom appeared before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment to tout the Getting Talent Back to Work initiative’s success and share insights on how the workforce development system can better serve employers and job seekers.

The SHRM Advocacy Team grew from 11,000 to 17,000 members in 2021.

The A-Team is comprised of SHRM members who have become more involved with SHRM Advocacy and SHRM Government Affairs to bolster our efforts to create impactful workplace policy that benefits work, workers, and the workplace.


In 2021, SHRM piloted a new webinar series, SHRM Global Talent Webcast Series, to bring our audience the insights and latest developments in the world of immigration and global mobility. The series attracted more than 1,150 attendees representing over 1,000 organizations, with audiences in 20+ countries and all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico.

Policy Not Politics

Strategic Partnerships Worldwide: SHRM India, MENA and Beyond

In 2021, SHRM provided leadership to the global community on our evolving workplaces and demonstrated ways we can cultivate better workplaces for a better world.

SHRM India, MENA and APAC hosted six cutting-edge international conferences featuring 20,000+ attendees from 40+ countries and 7,000+ participating organizations.


SHRM India launched our first-ever large virtual conference in the Asia-Pacific region, SHRM NxT APAC 2021, with representation from 21+ APAC countries, 800+ participants, and 60+ speakers.

SHRM India
SHRM India Annual Conference 2021

Global flagship events included SHRM India’s virtual SHRM Tech 21 and SHRM India’s Annual Conference, held virtually in December 2021, which dovetailed with SHRM’s 2021 Now More Than Ever theme.


This conference saw 900+ attendees from 12+ countries in the Middle East and featured a strategic partnership launch between SHRM and Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration.

New Partnerships in 2021

SHRM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia's Institute of Public Administration, further strengthening SHRM's presence in the Middle East.

“Empathy and compassion should be among the essential qualities of every leader in the post-pandemic hybrid workplace.”
Achal Khanna Achal Khanna
SHRM Annual Conference

Leading into 2022

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing world of work, HR professionals must recognize that each action we take contains the potential to set off a chain reaction. Our individual and collective actions have the power to Cause the Effect we want to see in the workplace, reshape workplace policies and company culture, and transform the future of work.

Heading into the future, SHRM will continue providing world-class customer service and resources to our partners and members so that, together, we can build new and better workplace cultures of belonging, drive social and economic improvements in the workplace, and foster mutually beneficial work environments that maximize human potential for all.


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