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From the CEO: Preparing Future HR Leaders for the Future of Work

We must prepare the next generation of HR professionals with the skills, resources and knowledge they'll need to create better workplaces.

A man in a blue suit smiling in front of a brick wall.

Our workplaces are undergoing a disruptive revolution, where artificial intelligence, automation, shifting demographics, globalization and rapid-fire social change are transforming every job and every business.

Unfortunately, as our recent reporting on shows, college students are not getting effective preparation for this new world of work. Today's students are lacking in both hard and soft skills, and many new grads find themselves unemployed, underemployed or struggling professionally, even if they land a job in their chosen field.

That is unsustainable. Employers, K-12 providers and higher education must do better at collaborating on needs assessments, educational partnerships and new approaches to learning and working experiences. In fact, that matter is at the heart of SHRM's involvement in the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

Alongside employers and educators, we—credentialed, skilled HR professionals—share the weighty responsibility for developing the future workforce today.

But what about tomorrow?

Ultimately, the responsibility of managing the transforming world of work, workers and workplaces will fall to young people who, right now, are new to—or are still considering—our profession. We must make sure that SHRM, our members and our stakeholders are doing everything we can to attract the best and brightest to HR and provide them with a clear path to success.

Mentoring is key. We must ensure that we are passing on our experiences and offering growth opportunities to the next generation of leaders. That's the focus of this issue's cover story, in which emerging HR leaders share their career paths and offer secrets of success to young professionals. It's a great read, and all of us can learn from this advice.

We must also make sure that students have every opportunity to become an active part of SHRM, taking advantage of all that our student membership and HR Young Professionals program offer. We should also encourage them to become certified early. SHRM enables colleges and universities to request to have their bachelor's and master's HR degree programs aligned with the SHRM HR Curriculum Guidelines. Schools with aligned HR degree programs may offer their students the opportunity to take the SHRM-CP certification exam if students meet the eligibility requirements. Currently, we have more than 400 aligned HR degree programs at more than 300 schools.

The next generation of HR professionals will reap the benefits of change. The best moves we can make for HR today are to ensure that we're preparing them with the skills, resources and knowledge that they'll need to create better workplaces and that we're putting our own passion for this profession on prominent display.

So if you have a young person in your work or your life who might be a good fit for this exciting profession, reach out, share your stories and let them know that SHRM will be here for them for the life of their career.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Photograph by Delane Rouse for HR Magazine. 


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