2016 Republican National Convention

Turn here for coverage of SHRM's activities and for workplace and HR news at the gathering

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​​​​​​​​​​The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) was the only HR organization that attended the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland on July​ 18-21. SHRM took part in events such as a discussion with female representatives in Congress and industry leaders on women's issues, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute describing the impact of the Hispanic vote in the 2016 election cycle, and the GOP Urban Mayors Forum.

SHRM hosted a public-policy presentation with the Ohio SHRM State Council and Cleveland SHRM Chapter that highlighted SHRM's 2016 policy agenda, important legislative and regulatory developments, and SHRM's advocacy efforts. This presentation was live-streamed on SHRM's Facebook page and is available to view for SHRM-SCP credit.

SHRM Online also attended and covered the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia the following week.

Henry G. "Hank" Jackson, SHRM president and CEO; J. Robert "Bob" Carr, J.D., SHRM-SCP; Michael Aitken, vice president, government affairs; and Tony Lee, vice president, editorial, led a SHRM contingent at the RNC. 

While in Cleveland, SHRM's government affairs staff called on elected representatives, candidates for office and government officials to embrace the three core principles SHRM is advocating to advance policies for the 21st Century Workplace. SHRM also intends to spotlight the HR profession and raise awareness of SHRM and its thought leadership on key workplace issues facing employers and HR professionals.

In addition to HR news coverage, staff from SHRM and its affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), provided real-time election coverage of the conventions through social media channels such as daily blogs, Twitter messages, and the SHRM and CFGI websites. 


Day 1: Global HR and Women

​​Ignore Immigration and Global Issues at Your Own Peril
By Tony Lee

CLEVELAND—Improving global workplace awareness and gaining a better understanding of U.S. immigration policies have both emerged as core issues in the 2016 presidential campaign. Yet, few HR professionals rank either as an area where they think they need to spend more time researching and staying up-to-date on new trends, which may be a costly mistake.

Out of 14 key HR disciplines measured by SHRM in a recent survey, ranging from employee engagement and benefits planning to developing executive leadership, the need for immigration information ranked last, with 48 percent of SHRM members and 59 percent of nonmembers saying they haven't accessed information on the topic over the past 12 months. Only 5 percent of both memb​ers and nonmembers say they research immigration policies at least once a month, according to findings from SHRM's online survey of 2,377 HR professionals. Global workplace trends ranked next to last, with 44 percent of members and 50 percent of nonmembers saying they haven't reviewed information on international issues in the past year.

Read the full story here.​​

Quiet Voices Can Have a Big Impact​
By Kathy Gurchiek

CLEVELAND—Gaddi Vasquez, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture and former director of the Peace Corps, was one of the honorees at the Latino Leaders Network luncheon held during the opening day of the Republican National Convention on July 18.

In his remarks, Vasquez told of an unforgettable experience years ago when a friend invited him to tea to meet the friend's godmoth​er.

Vasquez recalls walking into a room and seeing a tiny woman at the table. It was Rosa Parks—the woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat in 1955 sparked a boycott that ignited the civil rights movement in the U.S.

Read the full story here.

‘Women’s Issues’ Include Tax Reform, Tackling Opioid Addiction​
By Kathy Gurchiek

CLEVELAND—Opioid addiction was among the wide range of issues addressed during the Women2Women Conversations Tour on July 18 at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University during the Republican National Convention.

‘Women’s Issues’ Include Tax Reform, Tackling Opioid AddictionApproximately 1.9 million people in the U.S. suffered from substance abuse related to prescription opioid pain medicines in 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported in January 2016.

Opioids are substances that produce morphine-like effects and are most often used to reduce pain, including dental- and injury-related pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect brain areas controlling emotion, according to the NIDA.



Day 2: Preparing for the Future

​​Trump vs. Clinton on Health Care: Their Differences Are Clear
By Tony Lee

CLEVELAND—Of all the issues debated by the Trump and Clinton campaigns, few offer a clearer picture of the candidates' philosophical differences than health care coverage. While Hillary Clinton says her goal is to preserve and build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Donald Trump has made clear his intention is to repeal current legislation and replace it with a system that requires less federal government support.

For HR professionals, understanding the differences between the candidates' positions should help to inform and influence their choice in November, based on their own health care priorities and those of their organizations. 

"By monitoring the presidential candidates' positions on employer-sponsored health benefits, HR can better understand how they stand on such issues as the tax treatment of health benefits, the impending excise tax on high-value plans, wellness programs and the definition of full-time [employee]," said Chatrane Birbal, a government relations senior advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).


Entice Millennials with a Culture Emphasizing Quality of Life
By Kathy Gurchiek

CLEVELAND—Employers need to encourage and emphasize the importance of having a life outside  work if they hope to attract Millennials, two big-city mayors said Tuesday during a panel presentation at the Republican National Convention. 

Betsy Price and Mick Cornett, mayors of Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City, respectively, offered their advice at the GOP Urban Mayors Forum sponsored by the Republican Main Street Partnership. The forum—held in the Maxine Goodman Levin College at Cleveland State University—addressed the revitalization of cities and suburbs, including the many human capital issues they're facing. 

"We realized we were quickly hemorrhaging  all of our college graduates to Austin, Texas, while the others were going to Dallas, and we started looking at why that was," Price said. 

The city learned that Millennials were looking to locate in cities that offered such amenities as hiking trails, bike paths and other opportunities for "outdoor living," as well as cultural outlets and transit options that go beyond cars. So, she says, business leaders quickly took steps to add those amenities.


Ohio SHRM Members Updated on Policy Agenda
By Kathy Gurchiek

CLEVELAND—Public-policy issues ranging from the new overtime regulations to the Affordable Care Act were among topics highlighted during a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) public-policy presentation Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.

SHRM, the Ohio SHRM State Council, and the Cleveland SHRM Chapter hosted the event that highlighted the global HR organization's 2016 policy agenda of important legislative and regulatory developments that are expected to impact organizations across the U.S.

SHRM is attending the RNC this week, and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week, in a nonpartisan effort to build relationships with key decision makers in both parties, noted Mike Aitken, vice president of government affairs at SHRM. 

Day 3: SHRM and the News Media

CNN reporter and anchorwoman Dana Bash moderated a discussion Wednesday at the Republication National Convention in Cleveland. Participants were Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator and former communications director for the 2016 presidential campaign for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Donna Brazile, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, political analyst and the first black person to direct a major presidential campaign as campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000. 

Henry G. "Hank" Jackson, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), opened the discussion by noting that presidential election issues such as job creation, health care and immigration are also HR issues that impact business. 

"These are the issues where no profession is more qualified to provide input," Jackson said. He urged CNN, SHRM's media partner and host of the discussion, to interview more HR professionals, "who can add some expertise to the real effects of proposed legislation." 

Brazile and Jackson after the CNN/SHRM Breakfast event Wednesday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

(Photo by CNN)
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