Workforce.com

SHRM, Dissident Group Set Summit to Air Differences

August 2, 2011

A long-awaited meeting between board members of the Society for Human Resource Management and former leaders of the HR association who have been critical of recent board decisions has been set for Oct. 5 at the SHRM Strategy Conference in Chicago, says Kathryn McKee, spokeswoman for the dissident group.

“We want to understand better their positioning of the society and to discuss the concerns we’ve been talking about,” says McKee, a former board chair and member of SHRM Members for Transparency. “We are looking for a healthy dialogue.”

The transparency group, which formed last year largely over concerns about the SHRM board’s 2005 decision to pay board members, had been asking to meet with SHRM leaders since the fall of 2010. The SHRM board voted to accept the invitation at the association’s 63rd annual conference, which was held in June.

Among the transparency group’s other grievances is the board’s vote to allow reimbursement for business-class travel, to raise membership fees and tie future increases to the consumer price index, and to boost the number of board members with credentials from the HR Certification Institute, or HRCI, which is affiliated with SHRM.

Currently, only four of 11 members have this certification, which is viewed as the industry standard for evaluating HR practitioners’ expertise.
SHRM board members have requested to meet only with past chairs and four were chosen to represent the transparency group, according to an announcement on the group’s website.  They are David Hutchins who served as board chair in 2003-4; Wanda Lee, the 1990 chair, Kathleen McComber the 1998 chair; and McKee, who served in 1991.

McKee says no agenda has been set but she hopes the group will have an opportunity to air its concerns and heal the divisions between former and current leaders.

“I have no idea where it will go, but I see it as a positive opportunity,” she says. “We want to understand them and what their hopes and dreams are for the organization. I see this is as a journey of discovery.”   

Rita Pyrillis