The 113th Congress is official, redistricting is over, and now it’s time to get reacquainted with lawmakers. It is also an opportunity to begin developing relationships with more than 90 new members of Congress. It is critically important that HR advocates reach out to elected officials (new and returning) to educate and inform them of the role HR plays in today’s workplace. Soon, Congress will begin discussions concerning comprehensive tax reform and immigration reform. The only way we can ensure a positive legislative environment in which the HR profession can continue to grow is by amplifying our voice both in Washington and in state capitals across the country.
It’s not too late to make another New Year’s resolution: to join the SHRM Advocacy Team (also known as the A-Team). The A-Team is a way to assist HR advocates—professionals like you — in making their voices heard on public policy issues that affect the workplace. The Advocacy Team is a crucial component of SHRM’s advocacy efforts and works with you to advance the interests of the HR profession at both the federal and state levels. As a member of the Advocacy Team, you will join the ranks of other HR advocates committed to moving the HR profession forward and be the voice of your profession.
Although SHRM’s Government Affairs Team meets with lawmakers and their staffs regularly on Capitol Hill, here are a few reasons why YOU should join the A-Team:
● Lawmakers prefer to hear from their HR constituents.
● Lawmakers are more likely to be swayed by voters who visit, write or call than by the efforts of lobbyists.
● Congressional staff have an incentive to represent their bosses in a favorable light and to listen to constituents’ opinions.
● Lawmakers prefer to hear personal stories and anecdotes of how policy would affect constituents.
We encourage all HR professionals nationwide to join the A-Team. In 2013 we are seeking volunteer HR advocates from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and Vermont. To sign up, click HERE.
For questions about an HR advocate’s duties in supporting SHRM’s advocacy efforts, please contact David Lusk, SHRM’s senior associate for member advocacy, at (703) 535-6158 or email@example.com, or Chatrane Birbal, SHRM’s senior specialist for member advocacy, at (703) 535-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, legislation to prevent the United States from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, included several provisions of importance to HR professionals, including making permanent the tax code supporting employer-provided education assistance.
SHRM has advocated for 10 years in support of Section 127 of the U.S. tax code (which allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 a year in educational assistance at the undergraduate and graduate level regardless of whether the education is job related) and has co-chaired the Coalition to Preserve Employer-Provided Education Assistance, a broad-based group representing business, labor and education organizations dedicated to making Section 127 a permanent tax benefit.
Throughout 2012, SHRM actively advocated on issues of significance to the HR profession. Most recently, SHRM took the lead for the employer community before Congress on such issues as employer-provided education assistance, employer-provided on-site childcare and employer-provided retirement plans. These all were included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was passed by Congress in rare New Year’s sessions and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 2. For an overview of other HR-related provisions included in the bill click HERE.
SHRM communicated directly with members of Congress and their staffs, brought hundreds of SHRM members to Capitol Hill to share their views and expertise with congressional offices, and generated thousands of letters to Congress on critical issues. In a late-year letter to Congress, Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Aitken urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would include provisions to support the HR profession and avoid plunging the country over the fiscal cliff. Click here to see the letter.
SHRM appreciates the many HR advocates for their support, time and assistance on the many public policy priorities that SHRM has discussed on Capitol Hill. The engagement in these issues not only has raised the visibility of HR on Capitol Hill but also has resulted in Congress coming to a consensus as it works toward building the economy. This win demonstrates that the HR voice is critical and has been heard.
The SHRM Government Affairs Team will provide an analysis of the provisions included in the legislation in the next issue of the HR Issues Update e-Newsletter.
By Lisa Horn (@SHRMLobbystLisa), co-leader, SHRM Workplace Flexibility Initiative
It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year – resolutions that we may or may not keep, of course, but that we make nonetheless. As we turn the corner into 2013, here’s a resolution HR professionals should make (and keep!) for their organization: BE FLEXIBLE!
The 21st century workplace and workforce demand that organizations think about work differently. Work, for example, is no longer someplace we go, but tasks we complete from home, the airport, or the Little League bleachers. Work means delivering results for customers and clients, not sitting in a cubicle after the work is completed for no reason other than not wanting to be the first to leave.
The Building Construction Products Division of Caterpillar Inc., with 95 employees based in Cary, N.C., is a Sloan Award-winning worksite that focuses on results. Here, the leadership realizes that flexibility is not only a necessity for employees to manage their personal and professional issues, but it also helps the company attract new talent, ensuring that the company remains competitive in its field. Caterpillar Inc. focuses on results, rather than hours worked, so employees understand that as long as they get their work done, supervisors are able to support flexible work schedules without questions.
All 362 recipients of the 2012 Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility are excellent examples of organizations that have figured out how to make work “work” for both the employer and employees. Whether they are well-known large firms, or medium or small organizations known primarily in their own communities, they embrace workplace flexibility as a business strategy.
So whether you are wondering how to make workflex a reality for your organization in the coming year or whether your company already utilizes innovative flex strategies, resolve in 2013 to get involved with When Work Works, a joint project of the Society for Human Resource Management and Families and Work Institute.
This national workplace flexibility initiative brings cutting-edge resources, research, and best practices uncovered through the Sloan Award to HR professionals and business leaders across the country via a network of community partners. When Work Works will be rolling into 15 target states in 2013 –Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington – and continuing in California. Keep an eye out for a program near you!
Applications for the 2013 Sloan Award open on Jan. 14, providing you an opportunity to either showcase your organization’s flexible work environment or learn how your worksite stacks up against other employers. Apply online at www.whenworkworks.org.
Don’t let this resolution end up like that gym membership – unused! Flexible work is the future of work. Your organization’s ability to compete may just depend on it.
Extensive challenges face President Obama—and the nation—in his second term. The economy, budget, energy, health care, workforce, and national security are among the areas where the administration and Congress will be confronted with problems.
With Democrats in control of the White House and Senate, and Republicans in a majority in the House, bipartisan agreement will be needed for any legislation to be signed into law. Will the gridlock that characterized the past two years continue, or will the election spur leaders in both parties to work together?
Watch LIVE as experts including David Axelrod discuss these issues and more at a forum sponsored by SHRM and hosted by the National Journal.
By Nancy Davis, editor, HR Magazine
HR metrics have grown so important to every HR professional that we’ve redesigned our annual Trendbook around them. The 2013 HR Benchmarks Trendbook, an insert in December’s HR Magazine, contains data to help you gauge your company’s progress in every HR discipline. It will help you answer questions such as:
*For organizations of your size, what is the average share of operating expenses made up by salaries in 2012?
*For private-sector employers, what is the average ratio of salary to benefits?
*What is the average share of medical plan premiums paid by employers?
*For employee homeowners in the United States, what is the average cost of relocation?
*How does my cost per hire compare with other U.S. organizations of the same size?
*What is the average cost per training hour?
In addition, the Trendbook contains national workforce statistics you will need throughout the year, statistics such as:
*The projected change in the age composition of the U.S. workforce.
*Growth projections for U.S. industries through 2020.
*The percentage of foreign-born workers in the U.S. labor force.
When you get your copy, please let me know what you think of this offering by writing me at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading and contributing to HR Magazine!
By Curtis Midkiff, Jr. SHRM Director of Social Engagement
Join us at 6 p.m. ET, for an interactive Q&A on social media topics LIVE from #KronosWorks12. We will discuss some of the hot topics in social media and HR, including social media policy, social recruiting, employee engagement, cool tools and more!
Guests: Lars Schmidt (NPR), Jonathan Brewer (B2C Revolutions), Eric Meyer (Attorney)
Click the “PLAY” Button to watch