I'm in the airport in the Big Easy, getting ready to head to the SHRM convention. A question hit me during the flight - SHRM's sitting on almost $200 Million in cash, most of it from membership dues like mine. So why hasn't the bailout (read: the remake) of HR begun with some of that money?
More on the concept of the SHRM-funded bailout of HR from an earlier article I did at Workforce:
"You can’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper today without getting a rundown of the latest entity/industry/organization that is seeking a bailout from the federal government. The economy has been in the tank, and any bailout (of financial institutions, auto manufacturers, etc.) is designed with the firm belief that the organizations in question need a capital infusion to ensure they don’t go out of business, and that their survival is crucial to the U.S. economy.
What about HR? Where’s our bailout?
Before you dismiss this as grandstanding, consider similarities between the state of HR and the plight of the U.S. and its economy:
Consumer confidence is reported to be at an all-time low.
Approval ratings are in the toilet.
People are scared and unsure of what to do.
Experts are worried about our ability to compete in a global economy.
Now, are those statements about our economy and government or about the HR profession? OK, I confess: They are about the economy and government, although the HR profession’s naysayers could easily claim they’re an accurate reflection of the state of HR as well.
But there’s a silver lining to this reputational cloud. If you agree that the HR profession as a whole could use a capital infusion (a kinder term for a bailout) to retool, reinvent itself and prepare HR pros everywhere for the challenges that lie ahead, a source of such capital does exist.
We don’t even have to go into debt to get access to the funds. The Society for Human Resource Management, the professional group of choice for HR professionals everywhere, is sitting on a cash reserve in the neighborhood of $179 million. Most of that cash, which came from dues from its 233,000 members, hasn’t been spent on services.
To be fair to SHRM, every well-run nonprofit sits on a cash reserve. But now’s not the time to channel the conservative side, button up the business suit and ignore the problem. Now is the time to channel Hank Paulson, spend the cash and double down on the investment in HR pros and the HR profession.
In a nutshell, the funds for the HR Bailout of 2009 should be focused on technology, leadership and the cultivation of business savvy.
I know Jack Welch would approve of my list of 8 things I would spend SHRM bailout money on. Click through to see if you're down with the list. Hit me in the comments if you aren't...
To be fair to SHRM, I'll keep everyone posted on what what's going on in some of these areas. That's why you go to conventions, right? That and to get a big bag of CareerBuilder calculators. Maybe even a book or two that I'll never read...
The Cincy Recruiter has been in the Big Easy since early Sunday. I suspect she's already collected all the available swag...