From Readers

Jan 7, 2015

Dear Readers:

This combined January/February issue of HR Magazine, along with an upcoming July/August issue, reflects the latest evolution in how the Society for Human Resource Management serves the information needs of its members. While the print edition remains a vibrant and valued benefit at 10 yearly issues, we have responded to changing media habits and new technologies with an array of exciting digital offerings:
  • Our digital edition of the magazine, featuring enhanced functions and multimedia, is now available to all members for viewing or download on SHRM Online at
  • Apps for accessing the digital edition on tablet devices and smartphones are available in the iTunes, Google Play and Amazon app stores.
  • Additional website features include reader comments, video, slideshows, quizzes, polls, infographics and artwork.
  • A revamped book blog offers reviews, author posts and reading recommendations.
  • Opportunities to engage with us and other readers are available through daily posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
As we evolve and experiment, please let us know your thoughts. Send us a note at

The Editors

010215_cover.jpgAddressing the Aging Workforce

Regarding the HR Magazine special supplement “HR and the Aging Workforce” (November), I certainly agree with SHRM President Henry Jackson when he stated that “The continued retirement of large numbers of Baby Boomers could significantly increase the existing skills gaps, and I believe that the skills gap is among the most critical/important challenges facing our nation, communities, organizations and economy today.”

The supplement addresses the significance of the retirement of the Baby Boom generation and the loss of tacit knowledge (i.e., the knowledge inside employees’ heads). The main suggestion Jackson offers is to determine the potential impact and then figure out how to mitigate the knowledge loss.

While the information he offers is good, let me suggest several resources that are readily available that could further help HR professionals when they are addressing the loss of employee knowledge, including:

All of these resources can help HR professionals address the loss of knowledge that occurs when employees retire.

Robert E. Downing, Ed.D.

Chesapeake, Va.

Workplace Bullying: A Silent Epidemic

Kasi McLaughlin does a nice job of summarizing the current state of workplace bullying (October), but I disagree with her closing statement. Rather than standing on the legislative sidelines waiting for elected officials to act, HR professionals should actively address this issue in their workplaces in order to keep legislators and regulators out of it. Expecting the government to address bullying diminishes our role and others’ opinions of our profession.

Tom Minnick

Albany, N.Y.

Accommodating Mental Illness

I couldn’t wait to read “Open Minds” (October). Being the daughter of a parent diagnosed with a chronic mental illness when I was 4 years old, and having been an HR director for 10 years, I have a very realistic view of mental illness.

While I’m glad we’re talking more about mental illness, it seems like the only time this issue makes the news is when high-profile actors admit they have such a condition or we have a tragedy like the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Then the urgency disappears until another tragedy unfolds.

Until the topic of mental illness gets the attention it deserves, the stigma will continue to exist and people with this illness will fall through the cracks in the system. If my family and I had not been strong advocates for the treatment of our family members, they would not be doing as well as they are now. I wish I was more hopeful, but I agree with the source quoted in the article whose name was withheld to protect his current job: “We’re definitely not there yet.” And I wonder if we will get there in my lifetime.

Maureen Johnson

South Bend, Ind.

HR Stars Make Our Cover At Volunteer Leaders’ Summit

At SHRM’s Volunteer Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 21, 2014, many of the Society’s most active volunteers posed for a cover shot during the welcome reception. Thanks for striking a pose with us; we think you’re all “Leaders of the Year.” Here’s a sampling of the photos you shared on Twitter.

—The Editors

HR Magazine welcomes feedback from readers. To send a letter to the editor, please visit our contact page or e-mail

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