The HR Profession is Ready… Are You?

SHRM CEO Hank Jackson and SHRM Board Chair Coretha Rushing visit the “Commitment Wall” at #SHRM17, where participants are confirming what they are “All In” for.

Greetings from New Orleans and the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition—the largest gathering of HR professionals in the world, and maybe even in history. On Day One of #SHRM17, we are closing in on record attendance, with more than 15,400 registrants.
Everyone here, and all of you out there, face a common challenge today: How to cope with the tremendous pace of change barreling toward us every day. In times like these, it’s not enough to simply adapt to change or try to manage it. Successful people and companies are the ones who are great at preparing for and leading change.
These are the same requirements for good HR today. We are the ones who must lead and prepare our organizations for an unpredictable future. We must be the force that shapes the new world of work. But is HR ready?
In my view, the answer is a resounding yes. I am very proud of where the HR profession is today. We have laid the groundwork for a solid, successful future.
HR has changed the conversation on what leadership looks like in our organizations. Not content to be just partners, we have become influencers and trailblazers—true leaders. Organizations now understand that people are the only real bridge between mission and results, and that good HR makes the winning difference in today’s competitive marketplace.
This is due in large part to the extraordinary people who make up our profession—people from all walks of life, from a range of professional, social, and cultural backgrounds. People like yourselves.

And there has never been a more exciting time to be in this profession. HR has become a highly desired career, attracting exceptional people and routinely appearing on the lists of top jobs. And what we do is so rewarding, as we are called on to improve our organizations every day, in every capacity. As a result, HR is quickly becoming a proving ground for strategic leadership. It’s no surprise that Harvard Business Review reports that CHROs can make the best CEOs.

There has never been more at stake for our profession, or more possibilities for HR to shape the future. But whatever is on the horizon, we have positioned ourselves well. Together, we have built a strong foundation.

The profession is ready. Your Society is ready. And I know you are ready.


Hank’s Opening General Session remarks can be found here.



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