I have been a member of SHRM back to the days of ASPA, the American Society of Personnel Administrators. It was located in Berea, Ohio at that time. I have seen the organization undergo a tremendous amount of change during that period. Some of it I was happy to see and some I was not happy about. I have let my membership lapse occasionally but I have always decided to come back. When I was asked to write a piece to offer some advice to SHRM on what it might do to attract more CHRO members I accepted. I think that has been one of the failings of SHRM. It let HR leaders get away from its organization.
I would like to suggest that SHRM put in place an organization that focuses on senior level professionals in much the same way it focuses on Young Professionals. I would like to see material written and published for the senior level that recognizes the challenges of HR at that level. I would like to see conferences and training for that level as well.
In order to do this they will have to develop an outreach program to contact CHROs to determine what appeals to professionals at that level. The programs, training and literature are all designed to appeal to the “masses” of mid-level and entry-level HR people. This is the same thing that happens at the chapter level and as a result they lose the senior members of the HR community.
I am sure SHRM has thought about this before, but I have not seen much activity in that direction. I have seen no outreach to senior level HR folks. If there had been then maybe someone who has been a member as long as I have been would have been contacted. (No this is not an appeal to be called it is just an example of something that has not been done.) I have seen no publication that is geared toward the senior market to compete with HR Executive Magazine. I don’t recall conferences geared specifically to the CHROs or training offered at that level. I think something geared toward the newly promoted CHRO or VP of HR would be a great hook. Asking CHROs and VPs write about their challenges and opportunities would be a good opportunity as well.
Current members are the future CHROs
I think there is some work to be done to turn around the view that SHRM is geared toward the mid-level and below, but it can be done with the appropriate programs and materials. These will work to show the current population of HR professionals that they do not have to abandon the organization when they get promoted to senior positions.
Just my two cents worth.