Society for Human Resource Management – SHRM

A group of SHRM members at a networking event

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Blend Images

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), founded in 1948, is the largest Human Resources industry professional association. SHRM represents more than 275,000 members in over 140 countries. At this writing, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters in the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. 93% of Fortune 500 Companies are represented in SHRM's membership.

The Mission of SHRM

SHRM’s mission is to serve the professional development needs of HR professionals. The organization works through research, publications, and legislative input to advance the interests of the HR profession. Lately, SHRM has extended efforts to impact the workplace as a whole through stepped up legislative recommendations and the development of industry standards. The most common face of SHRM, that practitioners experience, is found at the SHRM website.

The website features articles, legislative updates, news, HR policy and other practitioner samples, books, and jobs. Many of its professional resources are only available to members. Members also receive the monthly HRMagazine by mail or online. If you live outside of the United States, you can be an online member-only. This allows you access to the information but without a hard copy of the magazine.

The SHRM website is a tremendous help to all HR practitioners - whether you're handling HR and other tasks in a small business, or if you're one of the hundreds of HR people within your organization. For instance, with your membership number and name, you can access information such as the 2016 HSA limits or the latest information on the Ban-the-Box rule.

SHRM offers an annual national conference somewhere in the United States, usually in June. The speakers are experts in their respective fields and give valuable information for all. Also, the conference also allows HR people to network with each other, providing the opportunity to grow our careers, as well as help others, grow theirs.

SHRM sponsors additional national conferences focusing on areas such as legislation. SHRM has also traditionally sponsored smaller, regional conferences through its state-affiliated chapters. Typically, a local SHRM chapter offers monthly lunch meetings.

These meetings feature member networking and a speaker with expert credentials who talk on a topic related to member interests. It also allows you a space to meet with other people who understand what HR does on a daily basis. The shared situation and experience can relieve stress. Monthly chapters also feature networking events such as an annual golf outing, an annual legislative update, and a state-wide conference.

Joining SHRM

If your employer pays, the answer is hands down yes. There's absolutely no reason not to become a member. If you are the only HR person or one of a few in a small company, you should petition your boss for membership. 

Human Resources is a constantly changing field, and there is no way one person can keep on top of every regulation change and every best practice. Membership is inexpensive for business and will return value to the company. Remind your management that mistakes are easy to make and expensive to recover from. SHRM membership is a cheap way to stay on top of changes.

If you're part of a large HR team, membership may not be as critical. You have expertise among your colleagues, and you can become an expert in your area of focus. However, having information, networking, conventions, sample templates for policies and procedures, and ideas to help you determine your next steps are also valuable.

SHRM also offers education and training that can help you advance in your HR career. If you hold certification, such as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certificate, you can use SHRM classes to fulfill your continuing education requirements. These classes can be taught in person or virtually, which means you don't have to travel to get great training.