2008 SHRM Pinnacle Award Winners Named

Nov 21, 2008

Nine HR organizations awarded highest honor for innovative programs

Alexandria, Va. HR organizations from Vermont, Louisiana, Connecticut, Georgia, South Dakota, Michigan and New Jersey have been selected as winners for this year’s SHRM Pinnacle Award, the highest honor given to HR organizations for initiative development and contributions to the advancement of effective HR management.

The award, created in 1991 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), is given annually to state councils and chapters whose work exemplifies HR leadership and exceeds the standard activities of SHRM affiliates. The 2008 awards are sponsored by Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP).

Each winner will receive $1,000 and will be recognized at SHRM’s Leadership Conference today in Arlington, Virginia.

“The award winners exemplify strategic business thinking, exceptional leadership, and professional excellence,” said Laurence (Lon) O’Neil, president and CEO of SHRM.

“We are proud to, once again, sponsor this prestigious SHRM award,” said Benito Cachinero, corporate vice president, human resources of ADP. “As a company that employs 47,000 associates and partners with thousands of HR professionals around the world, ADP recognizes the importance of innovative HR practices and programs. The members of the chapters and state councils awarded today embody the leadership, innovation and ambition driving the HR industry forward.”

The nine 2008 SHRM Pinnacle Award winners are:

  1. Vermont State Council of SHRM for its initiative, “Working Bridges Project.”
  2. Southern Connecticut Chapter ─ “State-wide Webinar Program for Connecticut HR Professionals”;
  3. SHRM-Atlanta ─ “Mayor's Youth Program”;
  4. Greater Baton Rouge SHRM ─ “Focus on Abilities”;
  5. Human Resources Management Association of the New Orleans Area ─ “HR Reviews: Engaging the New Orleans Business Community”;
  6. Kalamazoo (Mich.) Human Resource Management Association ─ “Poverty Simulation Workshop”;
  7. SHRM-Morris County (N.J.), “Creation for the Youth Nation”;
  8. Tri-State (N.J.) HR Management Association ─ “HR-101 for Non-Profits”; and
  9. Aberdeen (S.D.) Area Human Resource Association ─ “Employers Resource Network.”
The winners were selected from more than 250 applications. For additional information about the SHRM Pinnacle Award, visit http://www.shrm.org/chapters/resources/award_info.

For additional information on the winning programs, please see below, or visit the online press release at http://www.shrm.org/press.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org.


Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADP), with nearly $9 billion in revenues and over 585,000 clients, is one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging nearly 60 years of experience, ADP offers the widest range of HR, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to organizations of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the world. For more information about ADP or to contact a local ADP sales office, reach us at 1.800.225.5237 or visit the company's Web site at www.ADP.com.


SHRM Vermont State Council (Vt.)

“Working Bridges Project”

In 2005, the Vermont State Council identified economic diversity and poverty as significant issues for HR Professionals and their workplaces. Beginning in 2006, the Council brought the Working Bridges program to Vermont, raising awareness of economic class issues and identifying and testing strategies to retain lower-income workers and more effectively manage an economically diverse workforce. The Vermont State Council is leading a broad coalition of partners in applying new best practices to common workforce challenges. To date the project has delivered training to more than 250 human resource professionals and line managers throughout the state; implemented an emergency loan and savings program designed to better address the financial needs of lower-income workers and resulting in high utilization, employee loyalty and retention; initiated a pilot program to bring assistance finding appropriate housing, child care, transportation, economic assistance and other resources on-site at the workplace; and begun discussions on how to design and implement health and wellness strategies so that they are utilized by those who need them most. The project is measuring the impact of all pilot strategies and will continue to share results through various means, including at national conferences and through events and written materials.

Southern Connecticut Chapter (Conn.)

“State-wide Webinar Program for Connecticut HR Professionals”

The Southern Connecticut Chapter of SHRM has put in place a state-wide Webinar program designed to advance the professional development of HR professionals throughout Connecticut, help the Connecticut State Council increase its visibility, and enhance the competitiveness and value of all SHRM chapters in the state. In particular, the initiative allows HR professionals to learn from and ask questions of HR thought leaders involved with critical HR issues facing companies today. Connecticut-based small and mid-size companies that have cut back on outside training, or lack the depth and breadth in their internal HR departments, especially benefit from the program. The entire program is run by one volunteer and is readily transferable to other affiliates.

SHRM-Atlanta (Ga.)

“Mayor's Youth Program”

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin created a Youth Program to place high school students from inner city schools in summer internship positions to help prepare them for work and/or college. SHRM-Atlanta volunteers developed a community service project to support this program. The goals were to improve community relations and contribute to the workforce readiness of inner city high school graduates. SHRM-Atlanta volunteers developed and taught Saturday workshops on basic work skills to help these students succeed. SHRM-Atlanta volunteers also helped obtain summer intern positions for these students. Since 2006, more than 150 SHRM-Atlanta volunteers have designed presentations, provided materials and taught classes for almost 1,000 students. Teens attended classes on Budgeting, Communications, Dressing for the Workplace, Ethics, and Time Management. SHRM-Atlanta donated a collared shirt to every student in the program to wear to his or her internship position. SHRM-Atlanta volunteer Suzanne LaVoy said, "It was a huge undertaking, but showed the core values of SHRM-Atlanta: personal development, development of future leaders and volunteerism at its best!" SHRM-Atlanta continues to assist in obtaining internship positions and teaching the classes.

Greater Baton Rouge SHRM (La.)

“Focus on Abilities”

In May 2007, the Greater Baton Rouge Society for Human Resource Management (GBR SHRM) formed a collaborative alliance with the Louisiana Business Leadership Network (LBLN) in response to the ODEP National Alliance Initiative and their partnership with SHRM. LBLN is a business-led, non-profit organization dedicated to helping Louisiana employers understand, utilize, and benefit from the valuable resource that people with disabilities represent in both the consumer and labor markets. This alliance program is titled, “Focus on Abilities,” and is in place to develop linkages in the community for positive employment outcomes. The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities, once hired and properly accommodated in their jobs, are not “workers with disabilities,” but simply workers. This program falls under the oversight of the GBR SHRM Workforce Readiness Director and has a three-tier focus (Business, Participant/Job-Seeker and Community). Focus on Abilities is in place to build awareness and collaboration: awareness of the untapped abilities of this part of the workforce and collaboration amongst businesses, job seekers and service providers/CBO's. The chapter assists LBLN with recruiting "business partners" and getting the word out about the variety of training programs and opportunities available throughout Louisiana.

Human Resources Management Association of the New Orleans Area (La.)

“HR Reviews: Engaging the New Orleans Business Community”

The HR Review Program was started by the Human Resources Management Association of Greater New Orleans (HRMA) in mid-2006. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused major damage to the New Orleans community. Because of the storm, area businesses confronted significant people issues such as recruiting, retaining, and developing employees in a tight labor market. To help area small businesses survive and prosper, HRMA partnered with Idea Village, a New Orleans-area non-profit economic development organization that provides strategy, talent, and resources to entrepreneurial ventures in New Orleans. HRMA partners with these Idea Village-affiliated companies to: (1) understand the client's business and primary people concerns; (2) conduct an audit of the client's HR policies and programs; and (3) develop a customized HR Plan targeted at that client's primary people concerns.

In the process, the four-person HR Review Team also educates the entrepreneur on the importance of effective human resources in their organization, leading them to a greater knowledge of and appreciation for HR. HRMA has successfully completed five HR Reviews and is currently working with an additional three companies. The chapter plans to average at least eight HR Reviews each year to meet the demands of its New Orleans area entrepreneurs.

Kalamazoo Human Resource Management Association (Mich.)

“Poverty Simulation Workshop”

The mission of the Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative is “to foster collaborative and mutually accountable public-private partnerships that increase both access to and resources for individuals and families living in poverty”. In partnership with the Kalamazoo Human Resource Management Association, a Poverty Simulation was organized (half day, held after lunch on June 12, 2008) and was also certified for 2.5 HRCI credits. This was a first-hand experience designed to help participants better understand and 'walk in the shoes' of a low-income family who is trying to survive month-to-month. The objective was to sensitize participants to the realities and many challenges faced within low-income households. Participants in the workshop were assigned to families and to roles that will have an impact on their financial situation such as being newly unemployed, a senior citizen receiving Social Security, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and a variety of other scenarios. The task of the participant was to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of the simulation and utilize community resources and services for assistance.

SHRM-Morris County Chapter (N.J.)

“Creation for the Youth Nation”

SBYSP Students at Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, New Jersey face a multitude of challenges derived from their home environment and the school's neighborhood. Through the collaboration of Trinitas Hospital SBYSP and the Morris County-SHRM Work Force Readiness team, an interactive, year-long program was created to provide these students with opportunities for support in developing positive personal growth as well as career exploration and job simulation. The enthusiastic and dedicated students created their own company “Creation for the Youth Nation” with a mission to improve the use and quality of their school spaces. Taking on the responsibility of various job roles, their vision was to create an environmentally friendly, multi-purpose outdoor space to bridge the physical constraints at the school. The result was garden filled planters with seating flanking a shaded space for eating lunch, holding class, rehearsing or waiting safely to be picked up after school. Through performing their job functions, each student explored career possibilities to fit their talents and interests. Making tremendous strides in demonstrating essential business skills, they gained greater self-esteem as well as confidence in their ability to someday turn their special talents into a profession and make a difference in our world.

Tri-State HR Management Association (N.J.)

“HR-101 for Non-Profits”

In 2001, a Board member of the Tri-State HRMA brought to the Board’s attention that many non-profits in the area were struggling to fulfill HR functions due to shortages in staffing and resources. The Board decided that it could help fill this need by conducting a half-day workshop covering basic HR functions for these people at no cost to them. HR-101 for Non-Profits was born. In July 2002, coinciding with the beginning of most non-profits' fiscal year invitations, went out and 90 people from local and regional organizations attended. Topics presented were performance management, hiring and terminations, and a legal update presented by a local law firm. Since that time, we have held six annual workshops, covering topics such as Myers-Briggs, time management, communications, and motivation. Roughly 350 people have attended, and the feedback has been overwhelming. The sessions have been presented by senior HR practitioners, lawyers, and educators. Tri-state HRMA continues to offer these programs at no cost. Attendees have included executive directors, and office management from such organizations as the AIDS Coalition, The Red Cross, The Bridge, The Robin's Nest, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Aberdeen Area Human Resource Association (S.D.)

“ERN (Employers Resource Network)”

The Aberdeen Area Human Resource Association (AAHRA) spearheaded the first Employer Resource Network (ERN) which is a diversity initiative that encourages a partnership between HR professionals in the business community and vocational rehabilitation providers to address labor force issues and training needs by sharing information, resources, education and networking opportunities. Through this collaboration 18 employees were hired by businesses in the AAHRA. Training for 114 students with disabilities was provided on job seeking and interviewing skills at 4 events throughout the state. Recent seminars were coordinated through ERN with the October 2007 event bringing in national speaker Richard Pimentel and hosted 200 attendees including the audience of both employers and vocational rehabilitation providers. Both employees and employers reap the rewards of working with a diverse workforce. Students are learning how to become better equipped for a career. Members of ERN created a website at http://www.sd-ccd.org/ftw/ern with a toolkit that allows other SHRM chapters to duplicate these successes. This project has challenged conventional thinking and uses a collaborative approach in meeting employers', employees', and future employees' needs. It has improved community relations and is furthering the commitment and understanding of diversity.


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

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

Search & Connect