2015 State of the Society for Human Resource Management

Nov 19, 2015
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Remarks prepared for delivery by Henry "Hank" Jackson, SHRM President and CEO, at the 2015 Volunteer Leaders’ Summit, November 19, 2015, Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C.

Thanks for that introduction, Brian [Silva]. And welcome to all of you!

Before I do anything else, I want to thank you for your passion for SHRM. For your dedication to the HR profession. And for the time you've taken to join us here in Washington.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Brian for his leadership, and the entire SHRM Board of Directors for their support.

Now, I'd like to take time to introduce you to the SHRM Executive Leadership Team who works tirelessly on your behalf, every day:

  • Senior Vice President of Membership, Marketing and External Affairs, Bob Carr;
  • Senior Vice President for Knowledge Development, Deb Cohen;
  • Senior Vice President of Professional Development and Strategic Partnerships, Brian Dickson;
  • General Counsel, Henry Hart;
  • CEO of SHRM India, Achal Khanna;
  • Chief Financial Officer, Mary Mohney;
  • Senior Vice President for Publishing and E-Media, Jessica Perry;
  • Chief Human Resources and Strategy Officer, Jeff Pon; and
  • Chief of Staff, Margo Vickers.

Let's give them a hand.

I'm also proud to acknowledge the rest of the SHRM staff here today.They've worked hard to make this Summit a great experience for you. Please give them a hand as well.

My job today is simple: to report to you the state of your Society. In a word, it is strong.

That's because we are a growing, thriving community of HR professionals dedicated to the best of people management. And because most of today's business issues are HR issues, and that makes us the business leaders.

Our SHRM community is now 285,000 members strong—reaching an

all-time high this fall. Meaning that HR professionals continue to turn to SHRM as a career partner...a trusted source...and their professional home.

Those members represent every level of our profession—from students to skilled practitioners to CHROs.They come from more than 100,000 organizations of every size, in every industry, and from more than 160 countries. This is phenomenal for a professional association.

But it's just the start of what makes SHRM—your society—as strong as it is today.

Our strength comes from more than 575 affiliate chapters and state councils—chapters and councils you lead—that connect HR professionals to best practices, to education and information, to local businesses and communities, and most importantly to each other.

Our strength comes from partnerships with best-in-class organizations that share our commitment to making workplaces work. Organizations like the SHRM Foundation, which brings together HR thinkers, researchers and innovators. Like the Council for Global Immigration, which is working with us to get a better immigration system for employers. And HR People and Strategy, SHRM's Executive Network, which connects us to a community of HR leaders who can share the HR strategies that work.

And now, with the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge, and with the launch of the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP certifications, we have nearly 70,000 HR professionals (and counting!) who are focusing their careers and their organizations on the skills required to lead HR in today's business environment.

If you've achieved your SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP, please stand so we can recognize you!

SHRM—at its core—is about community. I believe the HR profession is at its best when we share our best practices and collective wisdom, and continue to raise the standards of our profession together.

As your Society, SHRM strives to be the most recognized global authority on the most pressing people management issues we face.

Whether you're an HR professional or other business leader, a policymaker, an influencer, or an academic, SHRM wants to remain your most trusted source on human resources. That is our mission.

As I'll report today, we are delivering on that mission. And we are doing this by staying focused on two things: serving the member and advancing the profession.

First, serving our members.

SHRM is indeed a community. But there's a distinction to make. Our community isn't just based on signing up online or buying a subscription to a service. It's based on a higher standard and a professional code of ethics.

It's made up of people like you who recognize the value of being part of something bigger than themselves, of belonging to a community of professional peers.

That's what being a "member" means in a professional Society. It sets you and SHRM apart. So our very first priority is to serve our members at every stage of their careers.

For example, no profession succeeds without a pipeline of future talent. HR knows this better than anyone, which is why SHRM continues to invest in the next generation of HR professionals. We now have almost 22,000 student members—a nearly 5 percent increase since last year.

We're also shaping their education. SHRM curriculum guidelines are being used in nearly 400 programs at 300 colleges and universities worldwide. 23 of the top 25 schools for undergraduate HR degrees are using our programs. So SHRM is now the standard for HR education.

But as all of you know, a solid education is only the start of what you need to succeed in HR. That's why SHRM's Young Professional Advisory Council engages students as soon as they graduate and throughout the early years of their careers.

Once an HR professional is fully integrated into the profession, SHRM becomes even more important. There's a place in SHRM—in our community—for you, whether you're an HR professional who's leading recruitment, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion or other areas.

We work very hard to be the leading resource for all of human resources. We do that through our conferences and seminars, our products and services, our research and education and much more.

A highlight each year is always the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition. I am pleased to report that this year in Las Vegas, we lived up to our conference theme: to thrive. SHRM15 was officially the largest SHRM conference in history, with more than 15,600 attendees from 85 countries and more than 3,500 exhibitors.

HR professionals turn to this Society ... our Society ... for the HR event of the year.

They also turn to SHRM for their everyday needs on the job. When our members need clarification on new regulations or have general questions on HR topics, they call us for help.

So far this year, SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors have answered more than 40,000 questions from our members, making our Knowledge Center one of SHRM's most popular benefits.

HR professionals also continue to turn to SHRM for their professional development. I'm especially pleased to report that more and more HR professionals are using the SHRM Competency Model as the foundation for their professional growth.

In only three years since launching our Model, competency-based products and services are now the standard of practice:
  • HR professionals and teams are using our diagnostic tools to assess their strengths and opportunities.
  • As I mentioned, nearly 70,000 HR professionals have earned SHRM certification, including more than 65,000 people who took the online tutorial pathway and more than 4,000 who passed the first-ever exam. Plus, almost 9,000 have signed up for the next exam window.
  • And 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.

These are tremendous successes in a very short period of time, thanks to you and your support. 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 through some major changes.

I can't thank you enough for doing that. But I can give you a token of SHRM's appreciation. I'm pleased to announce that SHRM will soon be delivering on our commitment to provide additional financial support to our chapters based on the number of members who have earned their SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP.

It's our way of thanking you for all you've done to help focus more HR professionals on the skills we know can take their careers and their organizations to the next level. And, in turn, take our profession there.

But as you know, our work is not done. We still have just over one month to encourage the rest of our colleagues who are eligible for the online certification pathway, to do so.

I ask for your help to ensure that no one misses this one-time opportunity, because as the Wall Street Journal noted this year: The future of HR is here. And it's SHRM-certified.

As I mentioned earlier, we are here to serve our members. At every level of the profession, with any question they have, with the professional development they need. And we take great pride in doing this.

Just a few weeks ago, SHRM celebrated Customer Service Week. Our Member Care Department lined the office with thank-you notes from members who said that our staff went "above and beyond," solved their issues, keeping them as a member and represent “all that customer service is supposed to be."

That's what it means to serve the member. Day by day, one HR professional at a time.

But in addition to serving each member, as a Society we are also responsible for advancing the HR profession, at large. We do this in a number of ways.

One way is by enhancing the practice of HR globally.

Although SHRM has nearly 10,000 members outside the United States,

global membership is not our primary goal. Instead, we simply focus on increasing the effectiveness of HR professionals around the world through professional development and certification.

I can report that we now have a network of more than 50 partners operating in 55 countries that deliver SHRM programs. Also, our SHRM offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates are hosting world-class HR events, raising awareness of SHRM, and building partnerships that bring the best of HR to their regions.

On a recent trip to Asia, I met with several agencies and associations that have either signed on to or expressed interest in delivering SHRM programs. So SHRM has truly become that globally recognized authority on HR—taking effective people management practices worldwide.

Another significant way we advance our profession is by being a leading advocate on workplace issues. SHRM goes to lawmakers, policy makers and regulators with HR's take on some of the most pressing issues of the day ... our issues. Paid leave. Wages and benefits. Immigration. Workplace flexibility and many other topics.

HR's voice is needed, and SHRM is the organization with the reach and reputation to mobilize HR professionals who can speak on those issues.

For example, many of you know that this summer the Department of Labor proposed sweeping changes to overtime rules. SHRM led a very successful response to that, with support from: more than 130 national and local organizations; 50 state councils and more than 300 chapters; and 800 individual SHRM members who sent personal advocacy letters to the Department of Labor. While we don't yet know the outcome, we do know HR's voice was heard.

SHRM's Advocacy Team, or A-Team, continues to grow in size and influence. It's now nearly 8,000 members strong. And I want to thank all of you who participated in the Capitol Hill visits this morning.

Still, it's one thing to go to policymakers with our perspective; it's another to have them come to us for input and guidance.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez personally contacted SHRM to have us set up groups for his listening tour on overtime regulations. And I can report that so far this year, your Society has been contacted by Congress and federal agencies over 105 times on workplace issues.

We still believe in that saying that in Washington, you're either at the table or on the menu. Let me assure you, your Society is at the table.

We also continue to build the credibility and reach of the SHRM brand.

On any given day you'll find a reference to SHRM in the news. Our research and expert opinion continues to be requested by media outlets like NBC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.

We respond to these requests because every time we go on the record on behalf of HR, it gives SHRM an opportunity to build awareness of the value and perspective that only this profession can bring to business.

And you may have noticed that, this year we brought some special attention to the HR profession and SHRM through our national "Advancing HR" campaign. We've been using online ads, radio and TV across the country to raise HR's visibility.

We first showed you the commercial at last year's Summit, but recently we went behind the scenes with the three SHRM members featured in the ad. Let's take a look.

We're proud of those members and this campaign. And I'm pleased to report that it's working. Over 20 percent more people said they know about SHRM now, than before we launched the campaign. Two weeks ago, we learned that the SHRM commercial won a 2015 Gold Marcom Award in an international creative competition. And I can't count the number of times I hear, "Oh ... you're that SHRM!" as we go to Capitol Hill, meet with business leaders or travel around the country.

But I want you to know that at SHRM, "Advancing HR" goes beyond a commercial. It goes beyond a media campaign. It's our mission. Advancing the HR profession is what we do.

Finally, I want to assure you that SHRM remains financially sound. We expect to grow by 2 percent and to meet our operating margin. SHRM carefully manages the resources you and our members entrust to us. It's a job we take very seriously.

In conclusion, volunteer leaders: The state of our Society is strong.

We are serving the member and advancing the profession. We are focused on what makes SHRM truly special: Being a community dedicated to the best of people management.

Thank you for being pillars of this community. You're our brand ambassadors. Our greatest champions. And you don't hesitate to tell us when we get off track. But in the end it only makes us better. This Society is a success because of you.

It's my privilege to work with you and to serve as President and CEO of SHRM, the world's leading HR association.

I hope now that I have reported on our progress this year, you feel as much pride as I do in SHRM, and that you're just as excited about what we can achieve next year on behalf of the HR profession.

Thank you for listening today.

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