SHRM ‘We Know Next’ Campaign Underscores HR’s Importance

By Steve Bates Jun 10, 2010
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Want to know the next big thing in the workplace? Ask HR.

That's the message behind SHRM’s new image and visibility campaign, “We Know Next.” It’s more than just a slogan, however. “We Know Next” is a resource for business executives, policy-makers and thought leaders interested in finding out more about the trends shaping the future of work—and about HR’s vital role in anticipating and managing these changes.

The effort to demonstrate that HR knows “what’s next” is a natural outgrowth of a previous SHRM campaign to advance the HR profession, says William Maroni, SHRM’s chief global communication and external relations officer. “The HR profession hasn’t received the recognition it deserves, especially as the profession has evolved and expanded to address more business and strategic issues,” he said. “There’s a general lack of understanding about HR and the value that HR brings to any organization.”

The “We Know Next” public awareness campaign has two main target audiences:

  • Executive-level business leaders, including the C-suite and other top business leaders.
  • Policy-makers, including officials in Washington and thought leaders around the country.

SHRM wants these groups to take a fresh look at the increasingly strategic profession and what it can offer to business leaders.

The campaign helps position HR professionals, and SHRM, as advocates and advisors, in keeping with SHRM’s strategic business plan. The effort has become a source of pride for HR professionals as their hard work and expanded competencies are publicized.

“The response from SHRM members has been so positive,” noted Amy Thompson, SHRM’s director of global public relations and architect of the campaign.

HR’s value is being touted in national business magazines, on global news sites, through social media channels, and at high-profile events in New York and Washington, D.C. But the heart of the campaign is a new web site, www.weknownext.com. The site, designed to be a return destination for non-HR professionals, will be refreshed quarterly with a new theme and related content. It features insights from forward-looking experts on workforce and workplace changes, a video about how HR knows what’s next, white papers outlining how HR professionals can be strategic partners with business leaders, and case studies from HR professionals working within the C-suite to boost their companies’ bottom lines.

The site is also an interactive forum for users to share insights and content on workplace trends and to discuss how business leaders are using HR strategically. Designed not to duplicate content available on www.shrm.org, the “We Know Next” site should help solidify SHRM’s image as being “modern, influential and relevant” and should foster “a brand image that people want to be associated with. We felt this microsite needed to be a bit edgy, cool and different to end outdated stereotypes and appeal to young professionals,” Maroni said.

Small-business owners and executives of large corporations should both find the site useful. Even companies that lack a full-time HR staff can deal with tough workforce issues by reading site content and sharing with colleagues.

Campaigns such as “We Know Next” are about “creating an emotional connection,” Thompson said. “They are about creating a relationship with people”—which is what SHRM and HR are all about, she added.

Steve Bates is manager of online editorial content for SHRM. He can be reached at steve.bates@shrm.org.

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