SHRM Special Expertise Panels Get a Makeover

By SHRM Online staff Feb 28, 2012

The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Special Expertise Panels, which provide HR expertise from members who identify important HR topics, received a makeover for 2012.

SHRM slimmed down the 12 panels to six. Four panels remain unchanged: global, labor relations, diversity and inclusion, and technology and HR management. Two panels—the ethics panel and the corporate social responsibility and sustainability panel—have been combined.

The sixth panel, HR Disciplines, now consists of two to three members from each of the other panels: talent management; organizational development; employee relations; employee health, safety and security; and compensation and benefits.

“Not only will they be able to provide us information in those particular areas, but they have the opportunity to learn from their fellow panelists,” said Laurie McIntosh, director of member engagement at SHRM, of the disciplines experts.

The metrics panel is being absorbed into all of the other panels because SHRM believes that metrics is important to all functional areas of HR. Its members will leverage SHRM Connect to meet virtually so they can continue to share information. In addition, they will serve as guest speakers for the other panels, which are impacted heavily by metrics, explained McIntosh.

Each panel consists of six to15 people who are SHRM members in good standing.

“These are HR professionals who have at least eight years’ experience in their area. These are the ones in the HR trenches,” McIntosh said.

They serve for one year and may renew their panel membership for a second year if they participate actively on the panel. Previously, panelists had three-year tenures. The change allows others to have an opportunity to participate on a panel, McIntosh said.

It’s a way, she said, to “get more robust information and really great topics from our members as well as making it something of interest to them.”

Other changes to the panels involve the expectation to use social media through SHRM Connect, allowing legacy panelists to stay involved through discussions, and the institution of a co-lead structure.

While SHRM staff will continue to oversee the panels—for example, Shirley Davis, SHRM’s vice president of Diversity and Inclusion, will continue her work with the Diversity & Inclusion Panel—a panel member co-lead has been added for each group. This provides another leadership opportunity, McIntosh said.

Panelists meet virtually four to six times annually and in person at the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition in June.

Every other year, panel members are expected to contribute to Future Insights, a SHRM publication listing the top trends they have identified. They complete a quarterly online report, respond to media requests and attend and participate in panel meetings and any project that their panel pursues, such as presenting on a webinar and creating a speaker’s bureau speech. In 2011 the ethics panel created a program that will be rolled out in 2012 for SHRM’s affiliated chapters to use in their programming.

The work is voluntary, but there are tangible benefits, according to McIntosh. Panelists receive a Volunteer Leader discount for the 2012 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, and after one year of meeting participation requirements they receive one complimentary registration to a different SHRM conference in 2013. Additional benefits include professional development, recertification credits and the opportunity to engage with other high-level HR professionals.

“I’m excited about the changes because they bring a new outlook,” McIntosh said. “We kept what worked well in the former panel structure, added flexibility to make changes as needed, and enhanced it to be future-focused as we continue to engage our members.”


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