Critical Time for HR Involvement

This blog is provided by Katie Reid, President of Chippewa Valley SHRM.

In August, I had the privilege of attending the WISHRM State Leadership Conference in Door County, WI.  The conference was filled with great knowledge and energy from all the wonderful volunteer leaders from across the state. 

Conference participants were very lucky to be able to listen to Pam Green, SHRM Chief U.S. Membership Officer, deliver a keynote address entitled Future of HR – What’s Next for the ProfessionI wanted to share some of the keynote highlights with you below. 

While economic news has been somewhat encouraging, current projections for U.S. GCP growth in 2012 are still only about 2 – 2.5 percent.  That is not enough to bring down unemployment quickly.  With employers adding relatively few jobs in 2012, HR professionals will most likely be focusing more on retaining and engaging current employees than recruiting new ones.

This is a critical time for HR professionals!  Organizations need “people” expertise and vision to remain competitive in this economic climate.  We need to think differently and drive organizational change.  Why?  Pam cited four main reasons:

  1. Stressed Employees:  Many U.S. employees feel undervalued and stressed out at work.  A March 2011 survey by the American Psychological Association found some startling statistics – Only 52% of employees said they feel valued on the job, 32% had an increase in workload, and 25% of employees nap at work!
  2. Low Employee Engagement:  According to Gallop’s October 2011 employee engagement survey, 71% of workers were “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work. According to PEW Research, 52% of employees would rather lose their nose than Facebook. 
  3. 84%:  The percentage of employees that Right Management reports will be leaving their employers this year!
  4. Increase in employment law disputes.  According to Jury Verdict Research, employers have less than a 48% chance of winning an employment law dispute at trial.

When faced with the evidence above, it is clear that many organizations need to further develop employee engagement, organizational culture, and have clear and lawful policies that are implemented consistently across the organization.  Along with this, HR professionals need to be aware of the “game changers” of our profession:

  • New employment legislation
  • Global trends in education
  • Low employee engagement
  • Global demographic shifts
  • Values and attitudes towards work/life balance
  • Women and People of Color: education and workforce participation
  • Improvements in HR technology and Social Media
  • Rising benefit costs
  • Talent needed vs. Talent available
  • Push for more talent innovation and creativity

Wow!  It is clear why the HR professional is a key part of any organizational structure and can and must contribute to long-term success. 

Involvement with SHRM, CVSHRM  or other local chapters is an excellent way to stay abreast of these trends and current research and solutions. 

I enjoyed the conference and the information that was presented!    I’m looking forward to attending the WI SHRM State Conference on October 3rd – 5th in Wisconsin Dells at the Kalahari Resort.  I hope you can attend too!  For more information visit:


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