Transparency Group Says It Will End Push to Change SHRM Board Policies

From the HR blog at TLNT.
From the HR blog at TLNT.

SHRM Members for Transparency, the outside group that has been challenging the Board of Directors of the Society for Human Resource Management to be more open, transparent, and to modify certain questionable decisions and policies, has decided to end their efforts.

According to an email sent to members of their mailing list, the leadership of the Transparency Group now says that, “These last several years have been an incredible roller coaster ride, but it’s time for us to get off. This was a gut-wrenching decision, but a necessary one for us.”

In a longer message attached to the email titled SMFT Passes the Torch, the group wrote:

The 2012 SHRM Leadership Conference has ended, and there was no substantive discussion of SMFT’s issues during the event. It has become clear to us that SHRM’s volunteer leaders are not going to confront the Board about these concerns, and without the support of the volunteer leaders, SMFT in its present configuration cannot move forward.

We have also mentioned in a previous Update that our collective activism resulting in further negative publicity will likely have a damaging effect on SHRM and the HR profession, in general. That is not our intent.

In our last Update, we spoke of the potential for compromise and provided some suggestions on how this could be accomplished (see SHRM-SMFT Common Ground). We continue to hope that the 2013 SHRM Board members, under the direction of Bette Francis, SPHR, will take it upon themselves to comprehensively review and act upon these issues for the well-being of our Society.

Now it is time to pass the SMFT torch to the individual SHRM members and volunteer leaders who have supported SMFT’s activities over the past several years. You have our hearfelt gratitude and we are forever indebted to you! While we didn’t bring about all the changes we had hoped for, we did work together to raise member awareness around SMFT concerns, thus achieving our primary goal.”

Losey: “With a little effort,” Board could address issues in dispute

SHRM Members for Transparency (SMFT) is a group of respected former SHRM Board members, executives, and current SHRM members who have challenged the incumbent SHRM Board over a number of issues, including a lack of transparency and refusal to stand up and publicly explain what it is doing. The group fielded a slate of write-in candidates for spots on the SHRM Board last fall, but the effort ultimately fell short when they failed to get any of their candidates elected. 

Mike Losey, the longtime but now retired SHRM CEO who spearheaded the Transparency Group’s efforts, said in a statement sent along with the latest SMFT email that:

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SMFT is confident that with just a little effort the Board could satisfactorily address these important policy issues that are in dispute. … While SMFT is discontinuing its collective effort, many SMFT supporters will continue individually to informally audit SHRM governance issues. However, it is now time for the volunteer leaders and general membership to accept their responsibility to understand and act on policies and practices that are not in the members’ best interests.”

Losey also told TLNT that he has hope that perhaps incoming SHRM Board chair Bette Francis (her two-year term starts next month) might be able and willing to deal with some of the issues the Transparency Group has raised now that SMFT is out of the picture.

“I hope they’ll say, ‘now that this is over, what can we do?’ Losey said. “If we aren’t around, maybe the SHRM Board might move ahead voluntarily.”

TLNT has asked for SHRM CEO Hank Jackson and/or Board Chair-Designate Francis for comment and reaction to the decision by the Transparency Group to end their efforts. I’m currently waiting on a response (and will update this post should I get one), but in all of my previous requests for comment, current Board Chair Jose Berrios, the Board, and SHRM’s leadership have all declined to respond or offer up a statement to TLNT of any kind whatsoever.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


2 Comments on “Transparency Group Says It Will End Push to Change SHRM Board Policies

    1. Rob — I look forward to a response from SHRM’s CEO and Board Chair as well, but given their track record of NEVER responding to my questions about anything having to do with the Transparency group, or the SHRM Board’s controversial practices, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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