Task Force Members Needed to Develop HR Standards

By Kathy Gurchiek Sep 9, 2010

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is leading efforts to create a Standards for Measures and Metrics task force and a Standards for Diversity and Inclusion task force.

Sept. 21, 2010 is the deadline for applying for membership on either task force; the groups will have their first meetings the end of October 2010.

The two task forces are part of SHRM’s latest efforts, under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), to develop 13 national-level HR operating standards. ANSI is the authorized agent for the U.S. government for coordinating standards development; in February 2009 it designated SHRM as the exclusive standards developing organization for HR standards.

In 2011, SHRM expects to create standards task forces for compensation and benefits, training and development, and employee relations.

Task forces follow a recognized protocol, with formal balloting, a process for resolving conflicting viewpoints, an appeals process and a period of public review and comment before standards are released in their final form.

At ANSI’s direction, SHRM is serving as secretariat for all of the HR standards task forces, overseeing administrative needs and making sure that standards are developed in accordance with ANSI directives and procedures.

The standards being created are business tools, not just HR tools, according to Lee S. Webster, SPHR, SHRM’s director of HR standards, who is overseeing the formation of the HR standards task forces.

“These aren’t SHRM standards. These are standards of the entire HR community,” he said.They are not something that an employer is required to follow. Instead, they serve as effective practices for HR and provide “something to measure your organization against,” Webster said.

“You can always do more, but you’ll know ‘I should at least be doing this.' ”

Working on a Task Force

Task forces generally have 50 to 100 members. One hundred people already have signed up to work on the Diversity and Inclusion group; nearly 40 have signed up for the Measures and Metrics group, according to Webster.

Task forces are broken into subgroups. An HR task force on staffing standards that has 161 members, for example, is broken into three subgroups of nearly 55 members each.

The full task force meets monthly, usually late in the business day, depending on where the bulk of the members are located. Meetings are conducted virtually or as conference calls using web 2.0 technology. The task forces have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Ning.

Each task force will run 13 to 18 months. At the end of that time, a task force member decides whether to continue working with the group, join another task force, become an observer with no voting privileges or end involvement.

Task force members do not have to be SHRM members, although 80 percent of members on current HR standards task forces are members.

Task force members also do not have to be HR professionals. They may be customers (public and private-sector organizations and employees); developers (suppliers and vendors, academics, attorneys, researchers and consultants); and other interested parties.

The 2010 Task Forces

The Standards for Diversity and Inclusion task force will be responsible for creating a description of the top diversity professional position; the essential elements of an organizational Diversity and Inclusion program, and a panel of diversity metrics for an effective program.

The Standards for Measures and Metrics task force will create ways to measure human capital in business and financial communications.

Once standards have gone through public review and been adopted, they will be available and downloadable for free on the SHRM web site.

Persons interested in serving on a task force, or in nominating someone to be a task force representative, should contact Webster at hrstds@shrm.org. He will provide an online application. Resumes are encouraged but not required for the application process.

Although the standards being created are U.S.-centric standards, membership is not limited to Americans. Task force members will be expected to comply with written SHRM consensus standard procedures and written SHRM conflict-of-interest and anti-trust compliance policies. They may not serve on more than two task forces at a time, and there are different levels of involvement. Participation ranges from a full voting member, who attends most or all meetings and contributes to the standards document being created, to the observer or subject matter expert who attends a meeting occasionally and does not vote.

“If you want to make change that’s enduring, you want to be a part of this. If you can’t be a part of it,” as a voting member, “you can influence it” as a subject matter expert or observer, Webster said.

He pointed to other professionals—physicians, nurses, accountants, lawyers—with operational standards under which they work.

“If we aspire to have that same level of professional regard by society, we have to demonstrate to society we can live within standards that we hold ourselves accountable to, and we welcome them to hold us accountable.”

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News.

Related article:

SHRM to Craft U.S., Global HR Standards, HR News, Feb. 24, 2009


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


The SHRM Member Discounts program provides member-only access to discounts on products and services you can apply to your life and career, and share with your company.



Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect