My Advice for SHRM: It’s About Business

by Frank Roche on November 10, 2010

in Business

Frank wrote some advice to SHRM on Voice of HR. I have some additional advice to offer.

To me, it’s two things:

1) Understand the business and be business people.

2) Fix the culture and reputation of the organization. It’s about the BUSINESS

The best HR people I know, those I admire, the “named” HR executives are business people first. That’s all. That part is really clear.

Culture/Reputation
Service companies and professional organizations are all about reputation. Culture and reputation are intermingled. They affect each other. It’s almost funny—we’re the cobbler’s children. The very culture of SHRM undermines it. It’s all about reputation. In MBA school we talked a lot about culture and reputation—many times it’s easier to start over than to reinvent an established one. I think SHRM has some heavy lifting to do. To improve it’s culture and reputation, I would suggest the following (based on what Frank recommends).

SHRM needs to up its game—Frank made a very important point about the experience level of many participants (at least the perceived experience level). In an ideal world, SHRM would be a place to find mentors—an organization that facilitated apprenticing. Only experienced HR pros should have influential roles in SHRM. I think the organization should Seek out those who are known in the industry (the “named” HR pros). Engage them. Give them real influence over the focus of SHRM. Give practitioners like Randy McDonald a reason to get involved.

SHRM has to supply content that isn’t available elsewhere—To engage HR stars, SHRM has to offer them a chance to learn too. Look at NASPP. That’s an HR organization that delivers high-end content. Exec comp folks who are at the top of their game can still learn at NASPP events. Engage technical experts who can share current, relevant, complex information. Make it an organization experts want to be part of—one that offers higher quality information.

SHRM should listen more—Replace the echo chamber with a think tank—bring in voices from other functions and backgrounds. Involve thought leaders—even from areas that don’t immediately seem like HR. Invite psychologists, sociologists, economists, marketers. Listen to what they say about what would make HR better in organizations. Don’t be afraid to completely refashion HR.

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