Developing the Next Generation of HR Leaders

SHRM programs for emerging professionals

By Demetrius Norman May 19, 2022
Developing the Next Generation of HR Leaders

​Now more than ever, HR professionals are essential to the growth and health of an organization. As the profession evolves, we are tasked to be multidimensional and ever more creative in our hiring practices, training and development, strategy, and other areas of influence. We are responsible for reaching inward in our organizations, and it is increasingly vital to reach outward to the next generation of HR leaders.

Strengthening others, according to the transformational leadership model of Kouzes and Posner, requires upfront investments in initiatives that develop people's competencies and foster their confidence. When it comes to guiding HR students and early-career professionals, SHRM and the SHRM Certification program are leading the charge.

HR professionals are encouraged to engage, identify and develop the next generation of HR leaders through mentorship, scholarships and grants, student participation, and other SHRM programs.


The SHRM Academic Alignment Program establishes partnerships with domestic and international academic institutions that have undergraduate and/or graduate HR degree programs with a curriculum that aligns with SHRM guidelines. The partnership also affords students enrolled in their last year of the institution's HR program the opportunity to earn their SHRM-CP credential before graduating, through SHRM's Student Eligibility Program. View the complete list of participating colleges and universities in our HR Program Directory.

Scholarships, Grants and Awards

Every year, the SHRM Foundation—SHRM's philanthropic arm—awards more than $500,000 in financial assistance to individuals for education, training and resources. Whether you're preparing for your first job in HR, studying to fast-track your existing career or pursuing SHRM certification, there are funding opportunities available for students and emerging professionals.

Hurry—There is an application deadline of June 8, 2022, for two grants open to SHRM members to:

  • Attend SHRM INCLUSION in October 2022.
  • Take the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification exam during the winter 2022 through spring 2023 testing windows.

HR Community and Employment

Encouraging students and professionals to connect builds a community with the next generation of leaders. And a great way to connect is to become a student member of SHRM, either as an individual or as part of a student chapter. SHRM membership gives aspiring HR professionals access to exclusive content and benefits that will help expand their HR knowledge, activate networking opportunities, simplify job hunting and overall make a great first impression on future colleagues.

The employment search is made easier with a wealth of online tools from SHRM, including resume templates and practice interview questions and answers; listings of full-time and part-time jobs and internships on SHRM HRJobs; current pay ranges by HR title at the SHRM Compensation Data Center; and more.


The SHRM Foundation offers valuable mentorship experiences for both mentors and mentees. Two key programs are designed just for SHRM student members:

  • HR Talent Accelerator: Four weeks of virtual project-based learning, career exploration and skill development, facilitated by HR professionals.
  • HR Career Mentoring: Students are matched one-on-one with experienced HR professionals for a three-month structured program to clarify goals, develop plans and sharpen in-demand skills.

Professional Development

There's no better way to engage and inspire students and emerging professionals than by sharing one's knowledge and perspectives gained from experience. Tune in to the Career Compass podcast to hear from HR professionals, workplace leaders and experts as they share their insights for success in navigating the current and future career landscape. This podcast from SHRM and the SHRM Foundation aims to prepare and encourage the next generation of HR leaders as they pursue their careers.

Dozens of SHRM events offer additional learning and development opportunities. Meet with and build the community of HR leaders at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo, state and affiliate conferences, and conferences exploring inclusion, talent, workplace policy, employment law and other vital areas of HR.

Cause the Effect

SHRM supports the HR community in leading change and the evolution of our profession. Our responsibility is to make an impact through meaningful HR solutions and to seek out the next generation of leaders who will continue the charge. Together we can Cause the Effect of creating better workplaces for a better world.

Demetrius Norman is senior specialist, SHRM Academic Programs and Initiatives.



Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.

Member Benefit: Ask-An-Advisor Service

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.



HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.