Pinnacle Winners Serve, Enhance, Advance HR

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek November 16, 2018
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Congratulations to the 2018 Pinnacle Award winners!

Preventing sexual harassment, promoting diversity and engaging young professionals were among the themes of Pinnacle Award-winning programs honored Nov. 16 at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Volunteer Leaders' Summit.

The award was created in 1991, and this year nine chapters and three state councils were singled out for the highest honor SHRM bestows on its affiliates.

Winners were selected from 83 applicants and evaluated in one of three categories: serving the HR professional, enhancing the SHRM community or advancing the HR profession. They are from Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. Chapters and councils received a $1,000 prize and a crystal plaque during a VIP reception at the summit in National Harbor, Md. Paychex Inc. sponsored the awards.

[SHRM members-only chapter and council support: SHRM's Volunteer Leader Resource Center]

Serving the HR Professional

The winners are:

Small Chapters (10-100 members)—LakeNormanHR (North Carolina)
The chapter partnered with Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., in 2017 to offer Web-based educational programs to Duke's 369 HR employees across six states. Topics have included "Dealing with Difficult People," "Finance 101: What HR Professionals Need to Know," "Making Analytics Practical for Every HR Leader" and "Coaching Versus Mentoring." In 2018, the program grew to bi-monthly presentations, reaching an average of 74 Duke HR employees per session.

Medium/Large Chapters (101-500 members)—Northwest Arkansas Human Resources Association

The chapter, located in Fayetteville, provides opportunities for its members and other HR professionals to gain recertification credits. It offers two daylong workshops, a supervisors' conference and certification for attendance at monthly membership meetings.


Mega/Super Mega Chapters (501-1,000 members)—Human Resources Association of Central Ohio
The chapter, located in Columbus, created its first-ever Young Professionals Week with more than 50 events. Programs included "Leadership Lessons," in which leaders shared best practices. The initiative, which attracted more than 2,000 young professionals, involved over 30 community and business partners. The chapter also implemented "Coffee Conversations," a monthly event for young professionals to meet and discuss business concerns and trends.

State Councils—Oklahoma State Council for Human Resource Management

Three dozen Native American tribal nations in Oklahoma support more than 85,000 jobs, with a financial impact of more than $10 billion, according to a study by the National Congress of American Indians. However, HR professionals in tribal nations did not participate in state council programs.

To close this gap and bring a diversity of HR professionals together, the council partnered with several tribal HR departments to create an Indian Tribal Conference. The second conference was this year, with a 47 percent increase in conference attendance.

Enhancing the SHRM Community 

The winners are:

Small Chapters—Snake River (Idaho) Chapter of SHRM
Twenty chapter members spent more than 400 hours in 2017 partnering with teachers at local schools to help students get ready to apply for jobs. Efforts included preparing for interviews, polishing resumes and teaching classes on job hunting.

Medium/Large Chapters—Greater Valley Forge (Pennsylvania) Human Resource Association
The chapter created a three-pronged program to support local veterans:

  1. Resources for veterans who were rejoining the job market following deployment or active duty.
  2. Information for employers on the benefits of hiring veterans and the resources to recruit and retain them.
  3. Fundraising activities with the community to support mission-driven veterans' organizations, including more than $16,000 for the Travis Manion Foundation.


Mega/Super Mega Chapters—Portland (Oregon) HR Management Association
The growth of business in Portland's suburbs, and increasing traffic, was contributing to declining attendance at monthly meetings and other chapter events. The chapter conducted a survey of members' needs and began livestreaming its monthly programs. Members gathered at satellite locations to watch the livestream so that they could still network, albeit with a smaller group. The chapter realized a 53 percent increase in webinar participation and a 51 percent rise in participation at professional development meetings. Chapter membership grew by 23 percent.

State Councils—Virginia SHRM State Council
Recognizing that there is increasing competition for volunteers and their valuable time, the council created a Volunteer Appreciation Campaign for the 300 volunteers serving on state chapter boards. The state director personally visited each chapter to thank board members for their efforts and presented each of those members with a personal note and other tokens of appreciation. The director also wrote letters to leaders of organizations that employed the volunteers to thank them for allowing those employees to volunteer time to Virginia SHRM.

Advancing the HR Profession 

The winners are:

Small Chapters—West Central Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management
In 2018, the chapter in Hot Springs expanded its charitable outreach to partner with community organizations and provide goods and services to boost residents' workforce readiness. It supplied 35 pairs of black trousers and five suits for women at a local shelter to wear to job interviews and 270 bus passes to veterans, money for the local Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children program, school supplies, kitchen supplies, library books, food and hygiene-related products.

Medium/Large Chapters—Central Louisiana Society for Human Resource Management
In light of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, the chapter in Pineville, La., hosted a panel discussion for the local business community on "Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention in the Workplace." The chapter president moderated the discussion, which included a question-and-answer session with the four panelists—a legal expert, a business consultant, a director of a Family Justice Center, and an HR professional. The panel looked at practical solutions for victims of harassment, witnesses and businesses.

Mega/Super Mega Chapters—Greenville (South Carolina) SHRM
The chapter created a series of four lunch-and-learn programs to educate employers about hiring people who have disabilities. The program addressed myths and misconceptions associated with employing these individuals and offered reliable methods and examples of successful hiring and employment techniques. A follow-up survey found 92 percent of attendees increased their knowledge about hiring people with disabilities, 81 percent learned about community resources they can use for recruitment, and 67 percent indicated they would implement inclusion programs.

State Councils—HR Florida State Council
The council wanted to educate HR professionals on employees with hidden disabilities, such as mental and developmental disorders. Through a multiyear plan, it partnered with several agencies, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness Florida, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, and the Dan Marino Foundation to provide a different perspective of diversity. Efforts included distributing literature at the council's annual state conference and holding a panel discussion at the conference on how employing people who are developmentally disabled can create superior teams.





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