Transparency Group Will Meet With SHRM Board in Chicago on Oct. 5

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

Today, the SHRM Members for Transparency (SMFT) group is announcing that the long sought after meeting with the SHRM Board of Directors — a meeting that was promised in June by SHRM leadership — has finally been scheduled during the SHRM Strategy Conference on October 5 in Chicago.

As TLNT reported in June, one of the keys for the Transparency Group — made up of a number of respected former SHRM Board members, executives, and current SHRM members who have expressed concerns about the current SHRM Board’s seeming lack of transparency and refusal to stand up and publicly explain what it is doing — has been simply getting a face-to-face meeting with the Board to discuss a number of Board policies and decisions that SMFT believe “are not in SHRM members best interests and, in some cases, were unknown to SHRM members.”

These issues include a lack of openness and transparency by the SHRM Board as it secretly voted to raise the annual salary for Board members and increase perks for Board travel.

Meeting will only be with previous SHRM Board chairs

Some of SHRM’s leadership — notably SHRM general counsel Henry Hart, current Board Chair Jose Berrios, and immediate past Chair Robb Van Cleave — reached out to leaders of the Transparency Group during SHRM’s annual conference in Las Vegas and indicated that the Board was willing to finally meet with the SMFT group and discuss various issues with the hope that it would help to re-establish understanding and a more positive relationship.

“We’re pleased the Board has reached out and wants to have a dialogue,” said former SHRM Board chair and Transparency Group steering committee member Kathy McKee. “It is positive that they reached out.”

McKee said that the SHRM Board and the Transparency Group leadership had been talking about meeting dates in July and early August but that they could not find any that worked for both sides. The Oct. 5 date, during the SHRM Strategy Conference when the Board would be in attendance, seemed to be the one that worked for both sides.

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One wrinkle to the meeting: the SHRM Board said they would only agree to meet personally with Transparency Group members who were past SHRM chairs. This means that Mike Losey, the former longtime SHRM CEO who has been deeply involved in the SMFT group, will not be involved in the October discussions.

“We have no idea where the journey will lead,” said Kathy McKee, who indicated that there is no formal agenda for the meeting with SHRM Board.

What the Transparency Group is telling its members

Here is what the Transparency Group is posting on its website today from David Hutchins, 2003-2004 SHRM chairman, about the upcoming October meeting with the SHRM Board.:

At the SHRM Board meeting, held immediately prior to the June SHRM Annual Conference (in Las Vegas), the Board of Directors voted to agree to meet with representatives of the SHRM Members for Transparency (SMFT).

At the subsequent SHRM Regional and State meeting, also held at the conference, Chair (Jose) Berrios and CEO (Hank) Jackson confirmed with those volunteers present that an invitation to meet had been extended to SMFT representatives. At the time the invitation was made, there were no stated conditions related to the meeting.

Subsequently, during conversations to develop a date and location for the meeting, Mr. Berrios stated that the Board wished to meet only with Past Chairs of the SHRM Board of Directors. While this request was disconcerting to us, after discussion we felt it important that we engage in the opportunity for dialogue with the Board of Directors about the issues we have raised over the past several months. The Past Chairs who will represent SMFT’s interests will be:

  • David Hutchins, SPHR, CEBS, CCP and 2003-2004 Chair;
  • Wanda Lee, SPHR and 1990 Chair;
  • Kathy McKee, SPHR and 1991 Chair;
  • Kathleen McComber, SPHR and 1998 Chair.

The initial meeting with SHRM Board representatives has been scheduled to be held in conjunction with the SHRM Strategy Conference on October 5 in Chicago.

Our SMFT representatives will participate in good faith and will effectively represent the many SHRM members who share an interest in reinforcing transparency and responsibility within our professional Society. We fully anticipate that the members of the SHRM Board who participate will do so in kind. We look forward to a successful and meaningful outcome on behalf of all SHRM members.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. 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 workforce.com, 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 johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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