Going Up: Using our Voice to Elevate the HR Profession


This morning, I challenged over 650 SHRM members and employment lawyers to elevate our profession. SHRM must fill a broader space than just the practice and procedures of HR.

First, we must be the voice of “all matters work.” For example, on issues affecting older Americans, Congress goes to AARP to take the pulse of people over 40. In the same way, legislators should come to SHRM to shape policy on issues that affect every person who works, and every organization that employs them. SHRM is already well-known on Capitol Hill­, but primarily among Congressional staff. Now we want to hear our name in the mouths of legislators themselves.

We will also be a voice of courage. And we will back it up with action, unafraid of today’s tough issues. We have already been out front on #MeToo; we will also tackle immigration, pay equity, health care, tax reform, and everything else we need to protect people—their dignity and their paychecks.

SHRM cannot quietly influence policy from the sidelines. We will be in the game and calling plays. We will approach advocacy from the grassroots, through our Advocacy team and our almost 300,000 members, and from the treetops—our nation’s largest employers. Although you may not always agree with everything we do, you can be sure our position will elevate our profession and create better workplaces.

Finally, we will be the voice of nonpartisanship—not to be confused with bipartisanship. We aren’t always going to look for a middle ground, or the most politically expedient choice. We may agree with one side or the other on different issues, or we may forge a third way, bringing the partisans along with us.

Starting today, you will hear SHRM speaking and acting in all three of these ways. In your advocacy work and in your day-to-day practice, I urge you to speak and act the same. This is how we elevate our profession and our Society—as experts on people and work and as a social force that can change the world.



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