This summer SHRM celebrated a record-breaking 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago. It was my first as CEO, and I was blown away by the huge attendance, the more than 700 exhibitors, the hundreds of packed concurrent sessions and our fantastic keynoters.
What impressed me most, however, was watching 22,000-plus members and friends of the HR profession come together to show the world the true impact and value of our work.
Now, we could congratulate ourselves and start planning for the same results next year. But that’s not us. SHRM is striving for even more exciting and rewarding moments in Las Vegas in 2019. Our team at headquarters is already brainstorming how to bring you experiences you’ve never had before.
That drive to accelerate and elevate is exactly what I’m asking our profession to do. At SHRM18, I challenged attendees to “chase their lion”—that is, to go after a dream, no matter how scary it is. I asked them to think about what they want the HR profession—and their part in it—to be in the future and then to chase it vigorously and courageously. I’d like for you to do the same.
SHRM is chasing its lions, too. In recent months, we have been creating a platform to talk about what HR is and does for work, workers and workplaces. At the highest levels of government and in the marketplace of ideas, we are being consulted on hot-button issues such as sexual harassment, immigration and workforce readiness – including the skills gap. We’re stepping in, standing up and speaking out as never before.
However, we can’t do it without you. “Together Forward”—my charge to SHRM and HR—means we all need to invest in this profession of ours. This is a team effort, and you are on the front lines—the grassroots to SHRM’s treetops. It will be you, not SHRM, who will have a monumental impact on your organizations and workforces.
So, I’m asking all of you to reach for the next level, wherever that may be for you. To up your game. To get ahead of the challenges your organizations face and ensure that HR drives business strategies.
My challenge does not minimize the hard work and passion that have gotten you where you are today. “Upping our game” means maximizing our capacity to always improve what we do and how we do it. This is how we will adapt and grow, elevating HR as the expert on all things work and a source of solutions to the people challenges facing the future of business.
As a SHRM member, you’re already ahead. From certification to trusted resources to world-class events, your Society is always creating new and better ways to guide you on your ascent. As we get better at our job, so can you.
Although upping our game may mean stretching and even failing sometimes, we must all have the courage to keep reaching and learning. Let’s rededicate ourselves to excellence and accountability, settling for nothing less from ourselves, our peers, our partners and our profession.