This post has some ideas for why you should think about, and maybe even join, a local SHRM chapter… Enjoy!
Wouldn\’t it be nice if there was something to make this HR thing easier to do? Maybe if there was some sort of way to meet other professionals, share ideas, and trade best practice tips, then we all would feel less like we\’re treading water and more like we\’re making a difference. Wait a minute, thereÂ is a way to do that, and it\’s your localÂ SHRM chapter!
Now, before I get into the meat of the post, I’d like to say that not all SHRM chapters are great. Some of them just plain suck. And you know what? This post may or may not be for you. If not, check back later. Or read something inspiring. On the other hand, some chapters really do rock, and this post can help you leverage that for your own career.
Everyone should be involved with a local chapter. It wasn\’t until I started taking HR seriously and began attending local meetings that I got a human resources job. Every possible demographic of human resources professional-fromÂ entry level HR to experienced veteran-has something that they can gain from a membership with a nearby SHRM chapter (Find a local SHRM chapter here).
In recent months, this is the activity that has caught my eye more and more. There are dozens of ways to get involved with a local SHRM chapter through volunteering, from planning events and helping with new member orientation to interacting with HR students and stuffing packets before an event. Maybe you can even be a webmaster like me! Email someone from your chapter to find out who to contact in your area of interest. They will be more than happy to speak with you!
HR people need jobs, too. And, in a unique twist of irony, human resources is one of the tougher fields to break into. It\’s the whole â€œyou need experience to have a job, but you need a job to get experienceâ€ conundrum. However, in your local SHRM organization, there are people actively searching for highly-talented individuals. You never know who you\’ll sit next to at an event orÂ who will be working with you in a volunteer committee, and just a single contact could help you to land the HR position of your dreams.
Years ago, HR was more about thoughts and ideas. Today, it\’s becoming moreÂ technological and strategic. It\’s hard to keep up with every new topic that comes around, and you only have so much time to dedicate to any one subject. Did you realize that everyone else is in that same position? They are all trying to accomplish the same things with the same limitations. What if you took the networking contacts that you\’ve made and used them to learn about EAPs, FSAs, or Twitter? Maybe someone has a vendor they would (or wouldn\’t) suggest using?Â Knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge makes all of us more powerful.
It\’s very easy to see why people join, and I\’ve only scratched the surface on how it can benefit you. I really didn\’t even delve into theÂ other side of the equation (i.e. how your participation helps the chapter). The experiences and potential benefits of joining your local chapter far exceed those of nearly any other tool available to HR professionals. Check out your local chapter and get plugged in.
This post originally appeared on HR Gumbo last year as one of my first guest posts. I have permission from Steven Geraghty to repost it here in its entirety.
I am so glad I found your site. It is so important for the newly minted HR Professionals, like me.
It was extremely hard for me to transition into HR, and like you, I did not find an HR position until I began attending CSHRM meetings (Cleveland chapter).
My problem with SHRM in general, is that it is directed more towards the management side. For professionals new to HR like myself, who only implements policy and is not a policy maker, it can be very off putting or in some cases a waste of time to attend.
I really want to join / attend on a more regular basis. Perhaps in one of your next posts you can write about how we can make chapter SHRMs benefit all levels of HR.
Once again, thanks for an informative site.
Hey, Barbie! I think that’s a brilliant idea. I’m going to put it in my writing queue and start on it today, actually.
I actually have a post right now that I’m working on that focuses more on SHRM, but I can bring the chapters in, too. I talk about how the research and other high-level info is not very useful to someone who’s not in a leadership position. I think that would touch on some ideas that you’d be interested in.
Thank you very much for the comment!
Hey Ben! I love that you’re really involved with your chapter. We need more like you, that’s for sure. SHRM local chapters are as varied as you can imagine. They reflect the makeup of the membership — demographically and functionally; they reflect the economic base of the local community; they reflect the average tenure in the profession of the membership. Some chapters are eager for change and some chapters really like the status quo. Some chapters are focused on recruiting (the staffing management chapters) and some are focused on health care (the ASHHRA chapters). Some are for very senior HR executives only, some are for everyone. It just depends. I’m thrilled that you are part of a chapter that is embracing change and embracing new professionals. But I’ll bet some of that is because you didn’t give up. I’ll bet some of that is because you don’t take no for an answer. I’ll bet some of that is because your enthusiasm is infectious and irresistible and your commitment to the professional all-consuming. I’d love to put a Ben in every chapter we’ve got and start grooming them for chapter and state council leadership roles. I’ve suggested to Chuck Salvetti, who is SHRM’s manager of young professional and student chapter initiatives to reach out to you for input. We can obviously learn a lot from you. Keep up the brilliant work!
Pingback: SHRM Chapter Planning and Marketing | UpstartHR
Pingback: What I’m doing and not doing today | upstartHR
Pingback: SHRM Leadership Conference | upstartHR