State of the Society Strong, SHRM CEO Tells Volunteer Leaders

By Kathy Gurchiek Nov 19, 2015

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is in strong financial shape, it has achieved a record number of professional members and its student membership is up nearly 5 percent, Henry G. “Hank” Jackson, CPA, SHRM president and CEO, told approximately 800 participants at SHRM’s Volunteer Leaders’ Summit on Nov. 19, 2015.

Jackson’s remarks came during his annual “State of the Society” address at the opening general session of the three-day summit for officers of SHRM’s chapters and state councils. The first day’s events included a trip to Capitol Hill by 400 volunteer leaders to advocate on behalf of HR legislative issues, an opportunity to take the SHRM Certification online tutorial pathway and a boot camp for new volunteer leaders. The summit concludes Nov. 21.

Among the news Jackson shared with attendees was the following:

  • SHRM revenue is expected to grow by 2 percent in 2015, and it anticipates meeting its operating margin goal.
  • SHRM membership grew to 285,000 in 2015, including nearly 10,000 people outside the U.S. Members represent more than 100,000 organizations of every size and industry and are from more than 160 countries.
  • The SHRM 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas was the organization’s largest in its history, drawing more than 15,600 attendees from 85 countries. It also had more than 3,500 exhibitors.
  • SHRM has more than 50 partners operating in 55 countries that deliver SHRM programs, such as seminars.
  • SHRM’s HR curriculum guidelines are used in nearly 400 programs at 300 colleges and universities worldwide, and 23 of the top 25 schools for undergraduate HR degrees use SHRM programs.
  • SHRM has almost 22,000 student members, which represents close to a 5 percent increase over 2014.
  • Nearly 9,000 individuals have signed up to take the SHRM Certification exam during the next testing window, which is Dec. 1, 2015-Feb. 15, 2016.


SHRM exerts influence in the halls of Congress, Jackson noted, pointing to its advocacy efforts at the national level on issues such as paid leave, wages and benefits, immigration, and workplace flexibility.

“Our strength comes from [the] more than 575 affiliate chapters and state councils—chapters and councils that you lead ... [and] from [our] partnerships with best-in-class organizations” such as the SHRM Foundation, the Council for Global Immigration and HR People + Strategy, he said. HR People + Strategy is SHRM’s executive network.

Congress and federal agencies contacted SHRM 105 times in 2015 for its input on workplace issues. U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez asked SHRM to set up groups for his “listening tour”—an opportunity to hear insights and ideas from others—on what Jackson called the “sweeping changes” the DOL has since proposed to the overtime rules.

SHRM’s Advocacy Team, or A-Team, which is made up of nearly 8,000 SHRM members, also wields influence. When the DOL issued its proposed overtime rules, Jackson said, SHRM led the response. That included chairing the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, the lead voice of the employer community responding to the proposed regulations, which garnered support from more than 130 national and local organizations to provide input to the DOL. Additionally, 50 SHRM state councils and 307 SHRM chapters added their voices, as did 800 individual SHRM members who sent letters to the DOL.

The final regulations and effective date likely won’t be announced before late 2016, SHRM Online reported in November.

“While we don’t yet know the outcome,” Jackson said, “we do know HR’s voice was heard.”

He noted that in Washington, D.C., there’s a saying that “you’re either at the table or you’re on the menu. Let me assure you, your Society is at the table,” he said to appreciative laughter.


Jackson proudly pointed out that nearly 70,000 HR professionals have attained their SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP credentials since SHRM launched its certification program in 2014.

“More and more HR professionals are using the SHRM Competency Model as the foundation for their professional growth,” Jackson said, pointing out that in the three years since SHRM launched the model, “competency-based products and services are now the standard of practice.”

In addition, “Employers are asking for the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP on their HR job postings, proving that the business community embraces the SHRM credential as the next generation of HR certification.”

Jackson thanked the chapters and state council leaders and noted that their support has been critical to the success of the SHRM Certification program.

“Many of you were among the first to be certified at this summit last year. You signed your chapters and councils up as Preferred Providers. You stood behind SHRM, even through some major changes,” he said.

Although he did not provide details, Jackson said that, in appreciation, SHRM will “provide additional financial support” to chapters based on the number of members in a chapter who have earned their SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP and telling them to “look for the checks in the mail.”

He thanked the volunteer leaders for being “pillars” of the SHRM community.

“You’re our brand ambassadors, our greatest champions,” he said.

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News. Follow her @SHRMwriter.


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