2017 State of the Society for Human Resource Management

2017 State of the Society for Human Resource Management

November 16, 2017


Welcome to all of you.


I always love this opportunity to gather with the leaders of HR. And if ever there was a time that your leadership—HR leadership—is sorely needed, it is now.


Every day seems to bring a new challenge, a new crisis, a new headline. And every single one of them finds their way into the workplace, which means they fall squarely on our desk, with major implications for how we move our organizations and our Society forward.


Immigration debates, like the future of the Dreamers or work visas, can mean one thing in Washington, but something else when it comes to your organization, or when you are trying to get the talent you need, whether in Indonesia or Indiana.


Conflicting views on diversity might make for interesting media commentary, but they really matter when the people with those differing perspectives show up in your workplace, and you are asked to make sure those differences create positive outcomes.


Phrases like the "skills gap," "talent shortages" and "leadership crisis" may seem like buzzwords to the general public, but HR feels their effect every single day as they threaten to hold our people and organizations back. You see, for us, immigration, diversity and inclusion, the ongoing conversation about harassment now and other hot issues are what we deal with daily. And we are being called to manage challenges and changes that even top leaders in business, government and industry haven't figured out.


You know, the "little things"—like reforming our entire tax system and overhauling our

health care system. These issues will profoundly affect the workforce. These are our issues. And HR must be prepared to give our input and lead on them.


This is why I believe there has never been a more exciting time to be working in human resource management. It is like being an Internet startup in the '90s, or an American carmaker in the '50s. We are on the verge of something big and important.


It's HR's time—our time—to lead the future of business and work.


Today, I want to share how your Society has been priming the profession for such a time as this. But I would be remiss if I didn't first take a moment to acknowledge the people behind our progress. That begins with SHRM's outstanding Executive Leadership Team, whom I would like to introduce to you now:


  • Senior Vice President for Knowledge Development and Certification,

Alexander Alonso;

  • General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Elizabeth Owens Bille;
  • Acting Chief Human Resources and Strategy Officer, Bettina Deynes;
  • Chief Marketing Officer Jeaneen Andrews-Feldman;
  • CEO of SHRM India;
  • Achal Khanna;
  • Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Society, Mary Mohney;
  • Senior Vice President for Publishing and Media, Jessica Perry;
  • Senior Vice President for Professional Development and Global Operations,

Nick Schacht; and

  • Acting Senior Vice President for Communications and External Affairs,

Margo Vickers.


Please help me thank them for their support, especially as we move through our current leadership transition.

I also want to thank every member of the SHRM staff, and especially the Membership Team led by Elissa O'Brien, for planning and hosting this event. They go above and beyond for this Summit and to serve you and the profession year-round. Amid a lot of change, they have never missed a step, and in fact, have continually created new experiences for our members.


Let's give the staff a round of applause.


And of course, I thank you, our volunteer leaders. You are the backbone of our Society and our profession. We appreciate everything you do to bring HR expertise and leadership to every corner of this country.


Now, we have come together this week to ignite bold HR for a changing world. But to be really bold, and to handle the transformations around us, our profession and our Society must be fully prepared. And I believe we are, because we have spent years laying the groundwork for HR's current positioning and building a Society to support you, the HR professional.


Our Society is thriving and growing


Which brings me to our bottom line: The State of our Society is thriving and growing.


We are over 290,000 members strong, representing 70,000 organizations in 165 countries. We are strengthened by our network of 51 State Councils and 571 affiliated Chapters that you lead.


And financially, we are as sound as we have ever been. Revenues grew 4 percent over last year—even faster than the general economy—so we can continue to invest in the profession and bring more benefits to our members.


Yes, our Society is sound and stable but this does not mean we can rest on our laurels. Nothing stays the same in this dynamic world and those who stand still get left behind. So as the needs and scope of HR change and grow, your Society has been changing and growing as well.


Our focus is on developing people and a profession prepared to lead and to make a difference that impacts organizations. Here is how we are doing that:


Expanding our influence as a thought leader


First, we are expanding our influence as the thought leader for HR. We bring together HR's best ideas, people and practices and make them available to every HR professional.


All year, we organize hundreds of virtual and in-person events, dozens of state and national conferences, and some international ones. These gatherings strengthen our Society and the work of HR.


And there is the SHRM Annual Conference, which has no equal in the world. This year,

more than 15,500 HR leaders gathered in New Orleans, bringing the second-largest attendance in our history.


And when local HR practitioners have a need to connect, we make sure that need is met—as we did earlier this year in Northern California when SHRM began operations there. We wanted to make sure we were serving the 36,000 HR professionals in the Bay Area. So far, we have convened more than 60 local events, and their engagement is strong.


As the foremost HR thought leader, we also bring the profession together around the issues that affect us most, such as building inclusive organizations. That is why our affiliate, the SHRM Foundation, has begun two inclusion initiatives focusing on the

aging workforce and the integration and engagement of military veterans.


But to truly be the preeminent, globally recognized authority on HR, we know we must engage and serve the entire profession, from students to CHROs.


This year, more than 22,000 student members were among our ranks. And at the other end of the career spectrum, SHRM's Executive Network, HR People and Strategy,

is engaging those at the top of their field, not only to make them more effective leaders,

but to empower them to explore and help us define the future of HR. And we know that future will be defined by the steps we take now.


That is why the SHRM Competency Model has been so key to our success in recent years. It has literally changed the conversation about our profession and what is expected of us as HR leaders.


The Competency Model has put us squarely in the driver's seat and launched the

fastest-growing HR certification program in the world: the SHRM-SCP and
SHRM-CP. After just three years, more than 106,000 HR practitioners now hold this credential, and over 23,000 applied to sit for the exam this year.   


If you hold the SHRM credential, please stand up now so we can recognize your commitment to this new standard for HR.


But what the numbers don't tell you is this: SHRM-certified professionals reported greater career satisfaction, higher salaries and more promotions. That is what certification is doing. And it is why we continue to invest in this program and stress the importance of recertification to keep up with the dramatically changing demands of our work.


Based on all we have accomplished I stand here to declare SHRM Certification an unqualified success. It is clear now that the SHRM Competency Model, and the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP, were the right ideas at the right time—for the careers of thousands of HR leaders, for their organizations and for the profession we serve.


And we could not have done this without your help. So, I will say it again: Thank you, volunteer leaders for believing in SHRM's Competency Model and Certification. I am confident it will continue to prepare our profession for years to come.


Another important way that we prepare in today's ever-changing environment is advocating for pragmatic policies that work for employers and employees.


The Administration and Congress have asked for our input on workplace issues nearly 140 times so far this year. And just two weeks ago, a bill we helped draft—the Workflex in the 21st Century Act—was introduced in the U.S. Congress by Representative Mimi Walters of California. It is a bipartisan approach to workplace flexibility that is a win for both employers and employees.


And this is just one of the many issues that we are working on. We are also serving as

HR's voice—your voice—for accessing global talent in partnership with our affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration.


And as I mentioned, tax reform and health care are huge, complex legislative matters that profoundly affect our work. They need SHRM's voice of reason. And we are giving it to them.


I recently sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee outlining our positions on tax reform, such as preserving the 401K deduction, keeping health care affordable and deductible, and other measures that will allow employers to continue to use the flexibility of benefits to recruit and retain needed talent.


And this morning, more than 400 of you visited Congress to support these efforts. Please stand up if you went to Capitol Hill for Advocacy Day!


Thank you for speaking up for our profession and our workforce. I urge all of you to get involved in the process to join our Advocacy Team and make sure HR is heard across the nation.


Growing our global engagement and influence


Now, our thought leadership is not just national. It is global. Because business can not, and will not retreat from globalization. Your Society is growing internationally

faster than ever before.


SHRM India continues to expand its influence hosting two international conferences this year and breaking attendance records. Certification is rapidly growing overseas, and we now offer Spanish language materials and testing to make certification more inclusive across the globe.


SHRM is the Secretariat of the World Federation of People Management Associations, which represents 600,000 HR professionals in more than 90 countries. And next year,

SHRM will be hosting the WFPMA World Congress alongside our own Annual Conference in Chicago. Don't miss it!


So, your Society continues to influence the agenda for the global practice of HR. It advocates to make the new workplace work. It develops HR experts to lead, wherever they are in their career. And as a thought leader for the profession, it brings together the best people and practices of HR.


Now, with all that said it is a good time to pass the baton. And as all of you know the person taking it up is Johnny Taylor, Jr. Some of you know him from his years as a

Board Member. And all of you will be pleased to know he is SHRM certified!


Johnny has a great appreciation for what has made SHRM and the profession successful. And I know he will continue our progress.


In the right place, at the right time


I can say that after 12 years of being a part of SHRM, this Society prepares itself for moments like this. We have taken this profession to new heights and have defined it as the driver of business.


We have positioned SHRM as the voice and thought leader of HR. And I believe we are in the right place at the right time. This Society, and this profession, have a bright future. I am pleased to have been a part of this remarkable journey.


I want to thank the SHRM Board for their constant support. And with all of you, I leave SHRM in very capable hands.


Thank you.








Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Search Jobs


HR Daily Newsletter

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