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HR and Transparency – #shrm11

June 26, 2011

There’s been a skirmish battle behind-the-scenes story brewing for quite some time.  While the group started working together earlier last year,, it was in the fall, shortly before the SHRM Leadership Conference that the story broke over at TLNT.  You can read all about the SHRM Members for Transparency group here.

For the last number of months the comments have flown back and forth with each side maintaining that the other side is not being quite accurate and forthcoming.  Although I have no particular insider knowledge, I imagine that the reality lies somewhere in between.

But I was interested in hearing, in person, from the SMFT group, so I attended their press conference/briefing today.  There was a pretty impressive bunch of people assembled, including very active SHRM members (some of 40 years standing), SHRM volunteer leaders, former board members, Board chairs, and even former CEO Mike Losey.  In addition, a handful of bloggers and members of the press were on hand.

I picked up a few tidbits:

  • The group has a number of active participants; with 52 members of the steering committee
  • The group has continued its efforts to share its message, including contacting (via email) groups of SHRM volunteer leaders, including all State Council Directors.  As cited today, approximately 6 of those State Directors have asked to be removed from the mailing list.
  • As announced earlier today on TLNT, yesterday the SMFT group received notice that the SHRM Board of Directors has voted and agreed to meet with them.


I think the issues are important.  As an active SHRM volunteer and former chapter President, I’ve always felt that the heart of SHRM was the sense of grass-roots (for want of a better word) leadership and volunteerism that has propelled the organization forward.  Unfortunately, as with any organization, as SHRM has gotten larger and larger and larger, the disconnect between the Board and Executives and the rank-and-file membership has grown.  It’s a common theme that arises whenever SHRM volunteer leaders are surveyed; that the folks at SHRM HQ don’t “listen to” the chapters.

But does the average member care?  Does it matter to Trixie in Tupelo if the board members receive compensation for the service?  Does she spend a lot of time thinking about this?  Did she even realize that Lon O’Neill resigned as CEO last year and that the Board has been spending a year searching for his replacement? (Announcing today, of course, that Hank Jackson is the new CEO).

One comment that stuck with me from today’s SMFT conference was this from Gerry Crispin:

“I’m not just a member; I’m an owner (of SHRM)”

So fellow SHRM’ites – are you a member? Or an owner?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2011 6:56 pm

    I’m an owner in my company. I should be an “owner” in my professional organization. We all should.

  2. June 27, 2011 4:49 pm

    That last question reminds me of the public who used to complain about something I did or didn’t do when I was a working police officer. I would often hear the line: “I pay your salary.”

    “Then I want a raise” was my standard reply.

    It creates a lot of issues to say that you “own” an organization. But a non-profit like SHRM should definitely by more transparent and more responsive to ALL of the members.

  3. John Jorgensen permalink
    June 29, 2011 1:33 pm

    Joan, both sides in this “discussion” could use lessons in transparency. Let’s just move on.

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