#SHRMChat March Recap


In case you are asking yourself if I made a mistake about including a preview of the April chat, the answer is, “Are you kidding?”  :-)  The April SHRMChat will be hosted by the HR Official Dave Ryan, and he will have the preview and questions on his blog here.

So what happened in March, with our topic of  “What role does and should SHRM and its state and local affiliates occupy in the HR profession?”

 Here is the summary, broken down by each specific question asked:

     1. SHRM national wants to be a professional society and not a membership association. Which is it to your affiliate?

This question prompted my favorite tweet of the night: “If SHRM wants to be a professional society, it needs to push value and not tote bags.” Thanks to John Jorgenson for that response, which sums up the basic attitude of the participants: SHRM’s idea is a good one, but its actions don’t match its message, making most chatters highly skeptical of SHRM’s ability to change the perception of them as a society.

     2. What are the benefits, if any, of a “professional society”? Are they different for a mere membership association?

Most chatters felt that the primary benefit of being a professional society is a large emphasis on professional development of the HR industry as a whole, and not just on the individual development of its members. But while the chat participants were somewhat in agreement that a professional society is more desirable, there was a scattershot discussion of how to achieve that goal with absolutely no consensus of opinion.

     3. Should SHRM and your chapter embrace the middle, or stretch the boundaries of the HR profession as a whole?

Stretching the boundaries of the profession was desired by most SHRMChat people, but there was a sizable minority of people (including me) who had some doubts about the effectiveness of this type of strategy. One of the themes of the dissenters, which ran through the entire evening discussion but was prevalent in this question, was that the size of the chapter has a lot of impact on the ability to embrace some of these forward strategies, with smaller locals at a distinct disadvantage.


     4. How can one association meet the needs of the CHRO and the HR administrator?  Should they?

The majority of the chatters were optimistic that all levels of the HR profession could be reached with one professional society, BUT – and it was a large but, echoing the discussion of the first question, there has to be a very different approach by SHRM than is currently the norm. Several suggestions were put forth, including


“Know your audience and create content specifically for it”

“Have roundtables or other alternatives to address different levels of practitioners”

“Focus on professional development versus a program at a monthly meeting.”


Thanks again to our guests Steve Browne and Donna Rogers for their insight from the SHRM Regional Leadership Conference!

Tune into our next SHRMChat on Tuesday, April 9th at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central.