SHRM Issues Call to Transform the Workplace

Business leaders convene in conversation series on closing the skills gap, modernizing employment-based immigration and preventing workplace harassment

September 6, 2018
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With today’s most significant social and economic challenges pulsing through the workplace, now is a pivotal time to shed light on them and chart a path toward solutions. As the leader in all things work, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is asking everyone — employers and employees — to explore three pressing issues that influence work: closing the skills gap, modernizing employment-based immigration, and creating organizational cultures that prevent workplace harassment.

Those who lead and influence work — HR professionals, CEOs, business leaders and policy makers — as well as workers themselves will engage in the conversation by using the hashtag #wearework and by visiting the microsite for video conversation starters and thought-provoking materials. 

“The economy is hot, unemployment is low, and the skills gap is wide,” says SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. “There are many issues that need to be tackled.  Starting to talk about the skills shortage, immigration and harassment is a first step to helping the new workplace thrive. Employers must invest in training to develop workers’ skills, source from diverse talent pools, create healthy workplace cultures to prevent harassment and be willing to discuss improvements to employment-based immigration.” 

To start the discussion, Taylor and three Fortune 500 leaders from The Hershey Company, Deere & Company and Booz Allen Hamilton probe workplace issues in a three-part video series:

Closing the skills gap: Launches Sept. 13, featuring Kevin Walling, senior vice president and chief human resources officer of The Hershey Company. “The facts are clear,” Walling says. “We have an aging demographic. We have a skill shortage that is not in tune with the current needs of a digital industry. Without taking proactive action in how we’re developing the next generation of the workforce, we will be at risk.” With eight out of 10 HR professionals reporting that high-demand technical and soft skills are in short supply, it’s imperative that the skills gap be closed. If employers can’t find talent with the skills required for job openings, they must build the talent by investing in employee training and partnering with educational institutions to ensure individuals are prepared to enter the workforce. 

Modernizing employment-based immigration: Begins Sept. 26 with Marc A. Howze, senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Deere & Company. “When you think of immigration, … it’s not an issue of borders. Business has no borders,” Howze says. To compete, employers need access to skilled workers wherever in the world they can find them. At the same time, the United States needs better employment-based immigration policies and protections for — as well as investment in — American workers.

Creating cultures that prevent harassment: Goes live on Oct. 4, featuring Betty Thompson, chief people officer at Booz Allen Hamilton. “You want every employee to have a safe place where people can raise issues,” Thompson says. Allegations and headlines from the last year have forever changed relationships at work. Seven out of 10 employees SHRM surveyed said they were harassed in the last year but did not report it for fear of retaliation. Rules, education and training have gained new importance. But they are not enough. A healthy organizational culture is essential to a harassment-free workplace. 

“HR plays a significant role in the change that is needed at work,” Taylor said. “So, there is no one better to turn to for leadership on the top issues influencing today’s workplace.” 
SHRM invites business leaders, workers and HR professionals to spark conversations in their places of work and answer the question: What does a better workplace mean to you? 

To learn more, visit

MEDIA: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Kate Kennedy at 703-535-6260 and, or Vanessa Hill at 703-535-6072 and

Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 300,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SHRM and @SHRMPress.


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