Group Embraces Its Inner Sherm, Sets New Goals

June 28, 2007
Even SHRM now calls itself "Sherm."

    Most, if not all, of SHRM’s 217,000 members refer to the organization by its acronym, pronouncing it like the shortened version of "Sherman."

    As part of a rebranding effort announced June 24, SHRM is officially adopting its nickname.

    The most visible part of the change is a new logo, "SHRM." Previously, the group’s label consisted of "HR" in a blue box with "Society for Human Resource Management" written underneath.

    "It’s time to embrace Sherm," SHRM president and CEO Sue Meisinger told the opening session of the annual conference. In a meeting later with reporters, Meisinger said, "Our logo was a source of confusion."

    The logo makeover is drawing raves from SHRM members.

    "I like that it brings HR into the center," said Pam Hill, director of staffing at Carmax Auto Superstores Inc. in Richmond, Virginia. "As an organization, they’re starting to think like we do about who they are."

    The repositioning raises name identification, said Shari Armstrong, employee relations manager at Oriental Trading Company Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska.

    "At a glance, you know it’s SHRM," she said.

    SHRM hopes rebranding will enable it to communicate more effectively with its members and enhance its influence on the field, Meisinger said.

    Brand subcategories include SHRM Education, SHRM Research, SHRM Community, SHRM Toolbox and SHRM Advocacy. SHRM members are now more prominently featured in the organization’s communications.

    Kim Anderson, corporate call center employee relations manager for Oriental Trading, said the personal touch is important because it defines SHRM.

    "That’s what it is—a group of people coming together with the same goals," she said.

    Communicating with its far-flung membership will require that SHRM become more adept in using online technology.
SHRM will utilize e-mail and other electronic communication to connect with members on their Blackberrys, Treos and iPods. "We’re using technology so that SHRM can be with you wherever you go," Meisinger said.

    The organization also wants to travel farther afield in its substantive agenda by bolstering its international presence. SHRM has established a wholly owned subsidiary in India and an office in China.

    But globalization is a two-way street, Meisinger said. In addition to shaping the development of the field internationally, it is bringing home to its domestic membership insights it gleans from those countries.

    For instance, talent management is a common challenge around the world. For the first time this year, China and India have official delegations at the SHRM conference. A group of about 200 HR professionals is attending from Korea.