Why Should HR Advocacy Matter to Californians?
Since history shows that policy initiatives originating in California can lead to national legislative efforts, I was hired by SHRM in March 2014 to work in SHRM’s new advocacy office in Sacramento to make sure the voice of the HR professional in California is present in shaping effective workplace public policy. While establishing an office in Sacramento is a major step forward, we still need help from our SHRM members in California to guarantee that the interests of HR professionals are heard.
When working to comply with various federal and state laws and regulations – especially in California - how many times have you wondered if lawmakers had any input from HR experts? As HR professionals, SHRM members are best suited to communicate to elected officials how these proposals actually impact employees and employers. SHRM’s Advocacy Team (A-Team) program ensures that HR professionals are engaged and active through a branded network, all working together to shape effective workplace public policy. With my presence in Sacramento, these advocacy efforts will be further bolstered in the coming months, ensuring HR professionals statewide have a voice with legislators.
Not enough of a reason to get involved in HR advocacy? Consider the following:
- Employee Advocacy Group Influence in California—Labor unions and employee advocacy groups in California are very influential when it comes to the creation of workplace public policy. These groups are very active in the advocacy process and will once again sponsor bills this year that affect the workplace. It is time for legislators to hear the voice of the HR professional, not just the opposing perspective.
- SHRM’s A-Team —Establishing and maintaining a relationship with a lawmaker at the local level can make the difference when key workplace issues come before legislators. The SHRM A-Team, made up of thousands of HR professionals just like you, is a critical part of the Society’s enhanced member advocacy initiative, working to advance the interests of the HR profession and communicate the HR perspective on workplace issues in Washington and state legislatures across the country. Through the A-Team, SHRM highlights the value of its advocates having an ongoing dialogue with their elected officials throughout the year. A-Team members work to become reliable resources for their members of Congress – or state legislators in Sacramento. Because the changes impacting the HR world – particularly in California - are constant and ongoing, we invite you to become an official member of the A-Team and join others in raising your voice in support of the HR profession. Click HERE for more information on this fantastic program.
- Effective Outcomes—Through ongoing interactions with California lawmakers, SHRM’s A-Team has made a significant difference when it comes to policy. For example, California HR professionals recently lobbied state legislators against a paid sick leave mandate bill, AB 1522. While this legislation did pass the state legislature and was eventually signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (D), the HR advocate community came together to educate the bill champion, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D), and lessen specific mandates on employers. This education effort, along with an onslaught of email and phone communications from HR professionals, ultimately helped alleviate burdens of this legislation on the workplace, and helped lay a strong foundation with state legislators moving forward.
As we head into new federal and state legislative sessions this year, we at SHRM, and you as HR leaders in the pivotal state of California, need to come together through advocacy. We need to collectively welcome these new lawmakers, educate them on the evolving nature of the workplace, and work together to address workplace developments in Washington and Sacramento.
Want to get started today? Take this opportunity to reach out to your state and federal California delegation members, particularly to those new to Congress and the California State Legislature. Please visit SHRM’s HR Policy Action Center online at www.advocacy.shrm.org for all the resources you need to join the A-Team and serve as a valuable advocate for HR in California. As SHRM’s official lobbyist in Sacramento I am readily available to help California members become active at the state level.
Questions about SHRM’s A-Team and advocacy efforts? Please contact Meredith Nethercutt, SHRM’s Senior Associate for Member Advocacy, at Meredith.Nethercutt@shrm.org. Any California-related legislation questions can be sent to me, Jason Gabhart, SHRM’s California State Government Relations Advisor, at Jason.Gabhart@shrm.org. On Twitter? Be sure to follow @SHRMATeam and SHRM’s Government Affairs team.