- The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has launched a survey and formed a committee as part of a "call to action" for the profession to address systemic racism. A spokesperson told HR Dive the efforts are "in response to the heightened attention to racial and social injustice issues across the country that all our members and the entire business community broadly are facing."
- In two separate emails, SHRM invited members to weigh in on how it should leverage its expertise as the nation confronts systemic racial bias and injustice, and also announced its "blue ribbon commission." "As each of you is guiding your organization on this topic, we want to hear your expert opinions and understand what resources are most useful and where you need more," Mike Aitken, the organization’s SVP, membership, wrote. "With that goal in mind, SHRM is currently reviewing the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) content we offer to our members."
- The moves come on the heels of a petition that, at press time, had been signed by more than 6,000 industry stakeholders requesting that the organization support the Black Lives Matter movement and protections for LGBTQ employees.
The petition followed a June 4 statement in which SHRM condemned George Floyd's killing. "We stand in solidarity against injustice, racism, discrimination, and violence of any kind, including those against law enforcement," the statement read in part.
That and other recent statements have drawn criticism from members and former members online. Kate Bischoff, a now-former member of SHRM's special expertise panel on corporate ethics and social responsibility, and founder of tHRive Law & Consulting, launched the petition, previously telling HR Dive that HR, as a profession, has a "horrible" reputation. Its failure to protect employees from sexual harassment and assault gave the industry "a black eye," Bischoff said, and now "SHRM is helping inflict that black eye."
The organization’s president and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, however, in a statement said he acknowledges that SHRM and HR pros have an obligation to use their expertise to help solve "a significant workplace equity crisis" in the U.S. "While some workplaces excel in this area, we can all be bold in broadening our commitments, calling for accountabilities and creating real, measurable and lasting impact. In this substantial way, we demonstrate the power of HR and elevate perceptions of the value we bring to the organizations we serve."
While the results of the survey, committee and the rest of the Together Forward @Work initiative remain to be seen, several HR professionals have decried the moves on Twitter, arguing that the committee is a "sham," for example, and criticizing SHRM for failing to say "Black lives matter."
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Bischoff was a member of the SHRM panel. Her last day was April 30, when her membership lapsed.