Baby Steps to Better Workplaces


Happy New Year to our esteemed SHRM members and to all who value the HR profession. I know you join me in wishing 2021 brings good health and business recovery—and I believe it will, thanks to HR leaders like you.

But it’s almost certain that in the coming year (like every year), businesses will lose millions of dollars in productivity and squander top talent because of toxic work environments. Discrimination, exclusion, harassment and ill-equipped People Managers will hold back essential COVID-19 business renewal efforts.

Today’s workplaces are strewn with roadblocks that rob employees of the chance to do their best work and realize their goals. And for so many of us, it’s personal.

As children, we dreamed fearlessly of our futures, declaring, “When I grow up, I will be…”. But those childhood aspirations almost always crash into the realities of adulthood and the modern workplace.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Now more than ever, we must break the cycle of disappointment and discontent in the workplace. SHRM aims to forge solutions to toxic workplaces, challenging our profession and the business community to break down barriers to human potential.

That is the message behind our new national campaign, “When I Grow Up.” Its imagery of endearing babies is combined with the message that professional dreams can be crushed by unhealthy workplaces and bad managers—illustrating the need to change workplace cultures now for a healthier future for businesses and workers.

Workplace change starts with baby steps that add up to a monumental journey. We are asking business leaders and managers to consider specific measures to create a future world of work that enables everyone to achieve their full potential, including by pursuing inclusive hiring and making demonstrable improvements to workplace culture.

SHRM, its members and well-trained People Managers can help through such solutions as the People Manager Qualification, the Together Forward @Work platform and SHRM’s full array of membership benefits.

In 2021, make it your resolution to combat old habits, banish outdated and ill-informed thinking and drive disengaging and toxic behavior from your business.

With SHRM at your side—and our bold solutions, guidance and data-driven insights—you can lead your organization to increase performance, fulfill business goals, and preserve a happy, healthy, motivated workforce in 2021 and for years to come.




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