Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. Testifies to U.S. Senate Committee about the Evolving Workforce

“Today I participated in an important testimony hearing on behalf of SHRM and our 340,000 members to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

Thank you to the committee for the opportunity to share SHRM's thought leadership and insights on the critical issues facing the American workforce. As we navigate the rapidly changing landscape, addressing talent shortages, fostering a positive workplace culture, and leveraging emerging technologies are the keys to building a future of work. The evolving workplace landscape presents many challenges and opportunities, and the private and public sectors, including the Department of Defense (DOD), are no exception. SHRM’s testimony underscores several pivotal areas where organizations can concentrate efforts to attract, retain, and empower the workforce.

Having the chance to share our thoughts on intentional HR strategies with the Senate Armed Services Committee to meet the needs of the DOD and issues of workforces, is the very thing SHRM knows well. Human Capital management. How to recruit people, retain people, motivate them and develop their talent. I am blessed and privileged in my role to represent the HR profession.

When it comes to talent acquisition, retention and skills-based hiring, we need to prioritize the skills and qualifications necessary for the role, irrespective of traditional education and experience prerequisites. This approach unveils untapped talent pools such as veterans, military spouses, and older workers. To really invest in retention, employee engagement should be at the forefront while addressing concerns such as compensation, work-life balance, and career development opportunities.

When we get to the point that we realize we don't have STEM talent available, we're already too late. We look to employers and say you have not hired enough engineers this year. We wait too long to talk about what the talent problem is. We have a pipelining problem. At SHRM we know we have to address the talent needs by developing them all the way from K-12.

Broadening existing apprenticeship programs and contemplating partnering with other organizations to establish new ones, particularly for in-demand skills, is key. We know that we need to double down on transition programs for those retiring from the military. If someone is within 6 months of retiring or completing military service, train them in how to become recruitable in the private sector. 

We have to utilize AI tools for recruitment, learning, and other HR functions while ensuring ethical considerations and transparency are at the forefront. Acknowledge the value of human intelligence and synergizing it with AI to enhance performance and innovation is imperative.

Americans have been having fewer children over the last 2 decades. We have a birth rate problem; we have a replenishment problem. We need to fill these 8, 9, 10 million open jobs. It is nonsensical that, in many instances, we would have people we’ve allowed to come to the US; we’ve educated them in our schools and then we send them back. We have open jobs for them to fill and employers are saying we need this talent. We do not have the luxury of saying we have a bias against people who are not born and trained here.

Increasingly corporations are building their own childcare facilities and fully subsidizing them to draw and retain talent. People often decide not to take jobs because there is no one available to care for their parents and grandparents. It is not only childcare but broadly dependent care that can be a barrier.

We have a middle group of workers who are 45-55 years old and who want to work. So many of our training programs disproportionately focus on young people but we’re ignoring a significant swath of the population that is available and wants to work, and we don’t supply reskilling and upskilling. What happens to that 45-year-old whose job is significantly impacted by advances in technology but does not know how to reskill?

We need to do better about investing in teaching people how to be effective managers. Too often, we naively assume because someone is a great mechanic, that they’ll make a good manager of mechanics. When we don’t invest in training them how to be a manager, they grow to hate the job and the people who work for them hate their job which leads to a spiraling retention problem. We must teach them how to manage people effectively in order to keep people as they grow in their careers.

Lastly, implementing these recommendations will help employers construct a robust and resilient workforce equipped to confront the challenges of today and the future. It’s imperative to remember that attracting and retaining talent is a continuous process that necessitates ongoing evaluation, adaptation, and investment.

By prioritizing the needs of employees and embracing innovative approaches, private and public sector employers can ensure a competitive and thriving workforce. This commitment to the workforce will enhance operational effectiveness and contribute to competitiveness and the need to meet global challenges.”


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.