After months of frustration over ignored invitations to meet about their concerns, a splinter group of former leaders of the Society for Human Resource Management announced at a news conference on June 26 that SHRM’s board of directors has voted to accept the group’s invitation.
Kathryn McKee, a former SHRM board chair and a spokeswoman for the SHRM Members for Transparency, reading from an email sent by Henry Hart, the HR association’s general counsel, said that SHRM hopes to “re-establish a relationship of understanding and respect between the two groups.” She called the surprise development “a miracle.”
“It doesn’t exactly take the wind out of our sails, but it takes us in a new direction,” she said.
The announcement was made across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center where the world’s largest HR professional association is holding its 63rd annual conference from June 26 to 29.
The transparency group, which formed last year, has a detailed list of grievances against association leaders that includes the SHRM board’s 2005 decision to pay board members an annual honorarium to allow reimbursement for business-class travel for board members. Another key issue is the number of board members without credentials from the HR Certification Institute, which is affiliated with SHRM. Currently, only four of 11 board members have this certification, which is viewed as the industry standard for evaluating human resources practitioners’ expertise.
The transparency group had wanted to force a meeting with the board by launching a push to enlist the support of 10 percent of the SHRM membership, according to the organization’s bylaws, said Gerry Crispin, a transparency group member. He said that he is “almost positive” that the board was unaware of the group’s plans, but added that “it’s nice encouragement for them [the board] to come to our meeting in good faith knowing the alternative.”
SHRM officials were unavailable for comment.