Advocacy has become a passion of mine and I believe it to be an important part of the human resources profession. My advocacy journey truly started prior to me joining the HR profession, in fact it was one of the reasons I went into the profession knowing that someone had to advocate for those that couldn’t. In my opinion, if you are in the human resources profession, you are most likely already advocating in some manner. Whether advocating for employees, yourself, your company, or profession, it requires the skill and passion for providing a compelling story for your cause, which I believe HR professionals are perfectly suited for this role.
Unlike the advocacy I did within my company, the opportunity to use these skills to promote workplace issues with our legislators through SHRM’s A-Team was the natural next step of my advocacy journey. I had often commiserated with my fellow HR professionals about some of the common issues or hurdles we faced with the complexity of state and federal laws we managed, but never knew how to get involved to make a difference. Thankfully, our State Council was in the early stages of implementation of the A-Team and held a state Legislative Conference to introduce this new initiative. Mike Aitken, who was then the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, was our guest speaker and said something that really resonated with me, which was, “if you don’t advocate then who will?” That speech had a tremendous impact on my outlook and I now ask that question often to others. Who better than HR professionals to speak to our legislators on workplace issues? We have the experience, relevant stories, the ability to articulate our challenges and provide solutions in a non-partisan manner. HR professionals are uniquely positioned in our roles with representing both the employer and the employee, so we have valuable insight to provide our legislators.
I’ve now been involved with SHRM’s Advocacy Team as one of our state’s A-Team Captains since the inception of the A-Team. I have been attending SHRM’s Employment Law and Legislative Conference and Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. for many years with the highlight of visiting Capitol Hill to meet with our legislators. I appreciate the opportunity to collectively advocate with my fellow HR advocates around the country and believe our elected officials in Washington, D.C. see the value in having constituents who are informed and have opinions on proposed legislation.
Advocacy is an ongoing effort of mine and believe that SHRM has demystified the advocacy process for HR professionals willing to consider their responsibility to their profession. My hope is that more SHRM members will see the ease of getting involved and how they can have a voice in the direction of future workplace legislation.
There are several issues ripe for bipartisan progress in the new Congress that impact work, the worker and the workplace. To learn more click here.