The Society for Human Resources (SHRM), a member organization of HR professionals has over 280,000 members. This year's State conference held in historic Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Lodge was titled "Revolutionary HR 2015"with over 600 attendees. The annual State Conference allows an agenda to focus on key issues that may be National in scope but also to focus on specific issues and State regulations that are particular to Virginia employers. The programs and sessions started at 7:00am and went through to 8:00 pm each day. In addition, there were over 60 vendors that support HR services and compliance areas. This certainly provided a great opportunity to learn and focus on the key issues of HR in business and organizations today. I personally found the conference a good investment.
The HR professional today is becoming more and more involved with compliance issues than I have observed in the past. Over the last five or so years, technology has assisted HR and organizations in managing such areas as resume tracking, benefit enrollments, employee communications and updating personnel files. Today with the Affordable Health Care Act, new family and medical leave guidelines, immigration compliance/reporting and other areas are a host of yet to be totally defined guidelines, rules and reporting scenarios that must be dealt with in real time. Companies and organizations are deluged with more and more reporting of data and information that if not completed accurately can cost in the way of audits and fines. Much of this is not automated at this point since the regulations are forever changing and being reinterpreted. From this prospective, I now think of the Human Resource profession as a parallel to Finance. You have the compliance reporting segment much like the accounting department; then you have the HR/Talent Management segment which is akin to the Finance department where both help guide strategy and tactics. Personally, I am not sure this is either positive or negative, but it is the "revolution" in HR today.
Melanie and I are, and have been, active in supporting the profession of HR. Approximately 14 years ago, we co-founded the Loudoun-Leesburg Chapter of SHRM with the support of the Dulles Chapter and 10 or so other HR professionals. Each member is encouraged to give back to the profession and support others making their careers in HR. Melanie served as a volunteer in speaker presentations and as a volunteer at the SHRM Bookstore. I presented a session entitled "If Not You-Then Who: Selecting and Growing Talent Management for the Future". The presentation focused on identifying and developing Critical Thinkers and Versatalists, which integrate change within to meet the business needs of tomorrow in a global competitive environment. With so many applicants for each posted position, these tools prove invaluable to an enhanced selection process.
Some final reflections on the meeting for you to ponder on, in no particular order:
- 1 = Are all these new and revised reporting areas hindering organizations from focusing on their strategic goals?
- 2 = Are employees better off, the same, or worse than before?
- 3 = With less than 62.7% of the eligible work force population employed (the lowest percentage in over 35 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — almost 13,000,000 fewer people employed since 2009), are we able to maintain a work/tax balance as we now have in place?
- 4 = What will employers do differently to remain globally competitive?
- 5 = What will be done differently at the company/organization level as it seeks to balance labor costs with the market place?
I am not sure there are answers to the questions above, or that many of the new reporting areas will be resolved in the short term. Meanwhile, as business professionals and customers, we all are faced with these challenges. The revolutionary changes happening in business and the global economy are real and unfolding on a daily basis. Personally, I am pleased to be part of it and welcome any thoughts you may have.