You might say that they’re “mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.”
SHRM Members for Transparency, the group of respected former SHRM Board members, executives, and current SHRM members who have challenged the incumbent SHRM Board for a lack of transparency and refusal to stand up and publicly explain what it is doing, has given up on trying to get the Board to sit down and talk.
So, they’re taking a different approach and are going to run a slate of candidates for seats on the SHRM Board.
Changing the Society by changing the Board
At a press conference Sunday in Atlanta before the start of the 64th SHRM Annual Conference and Exhibition, the Transparency group announced that they will push six (6) candidates for seats on the SHRM Board of Directors in an attempt to change the Board’s actions from the inside.
“A SHRM member told me, ‘If you want to change the Society, the way you should do it is to change the Board,’ ” said Mike Losey, a former SHRM CEO and a current member of the Transparency Group’s steering committee. “We’re not going back to beg them anymore.”
It’s a tough task for anyone to try to make an independent run for the SHRM Board given that without help from the nominating committee (an unlikely prospect), any outsiders would have to make the bid as “write-in” candidates. And, given that fewer than 5 percent of SHRM’s 260,000 person membership actually vote in the Board election, it’s a daunting prospect to convince them to write anyone in, and in large enough numbers, to have a legitimate chance of success.
First four Transparency Group candidates
Four of the Transparency group candidates for the SHRM Board were made public Sunday; two more will recruited and added to the slate later.
The four named Sunday are:
- Kate Herbst, SPHR, former chair of the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI);
- Marilyn Hoppen, SPHR, a 31-year SHRM member and current President of SHRM West Sound Human Resource Management Association;
- Susan Warner, Esq. and SPHR, president of Human Resource Trouble Shooters; and;
- Mike Losey, SPHR, CAE, the retired CEO of SHRM.
The decision to field a slate of candidates reflects the frustration the Transparency group has with the SHRM Board’s unwillingness to continue to meet with them to discuss the issues they are concerned about. After announcing last year before SHRM Las Vegas that they were willing to talk with the Transparency Group, the Board has only actually sat down to talk twice — in October and then again in March — and no more meetings are scheduled.
With no more meetings scheduled, and no real progress apparent, the Transparency group decided in May to push ahead with a survey of SMFT group members because, “it has become apparent — as many of you suggested it would — that continuing to meet (with the SHRM Board) is unlikely to be a successful means to achieving our goals.”
A key survey result
The Transparency Group announced the results of the survey on Sunday (and TLNT will have more on the survey tomorrow), but the key question for SMFT, according to Losey, was the following:
To avoid any conflict of interest, Board Source and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recommend that, if a non-profit Board wishes to consider compensating itself, an independent committee should be formed to study the issue and make a recommendation to the non- profit Board. The SHRM Board has chosen not to follow these recommendations. Do you think it is important for the SHRM Board to avoid any conflict of interest by following Board Source and ASAE recommendations?
According to Losey, 98 percent of those who responded to the survey voted “Yes” to that question – that is, they think the SHRM Board should follow the generally accepted conflict of issues standards that most not-for-profit associations follow when it comes to pay and premium travel for Board members. Most boards do not accept either, although the SHRM Board does both, and that is one of the big bones of contention for the Transparency Group, who also feel that the Board voted for these items secretly and then refused to explain or justify their actions.
“It’s an inherent conflict for the Board to design and approve a compensation plan (for themselves),” Losey said. “This Board has a right to do anything they want — just tell us about it.”
With six SHRM Board members elected to just one-year terms last year, it’s clear that the Transparency Group can get their members on the Board if they can navigate the many hurdles ahead. But, those hurdles won’t be easy to get over — and the SHRM Board will surely have some sort of response that makes them more difficult than they already are.
Stay tuned for more.