On HR Professional Day, Looking Back and Moving Ahead


Today, September 26, is recognized as HR Professional Day—established in 2013 to recognize and celebrate the people who play a role like no other in the workplace.

We are business strategists, problem-solvers, talent developers, culture curators and so much more. I doubt there is any other role in an organization that wears so many hats, or shoulders so many diverse responsibilities. It’s hard to imagine how an organization could function, much less thrive, without our expertise and counsel.

As I look back on three decades of my own experience in HR, the work we do now vs. then is almost unrecognizable. Over the years, thanks to SHRM’s advocacy and guidance, we have transformed an operational function into a strategic leadership role that shapes almost every aspect of business and human potential.

Members of this great profession have made an impact on Capitol Hill, fighting for policies that support American workers and businesses alike. We invented a world-class, behavioral competency-based HR certification credential that is being modeled around the globe. We are building robust bridges between educators and employers. We have gotten veterans, people with disabilities and older workers back into a U.S. workforce hungry for new sources of talent. We have motivated employers to give people who have made mistakes a second chance at dignified employment. We are working every day to close this country’s critical skills gap.

Our current accomplishments are already part of this profession’s rich history—so what about the future?

Our profession has set no less lofty a goal than to create a better world. Because we know that social change begins at work. We are asking business leaders, policy makers, People Managers and each one of us HR leaders to begin having honest conversations about how workplaces can become catalysts for positive change. And then accomplish it.

A tall order? Not when you look back at how far we’ve come.

So on HR Professionals Day, let’s all take a moment to reflect on our professional accomplishments and give ourselves—and our HR colleagues—a well-deserved high-five.

Then we’ll get back to work making work better.




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