As leadership development professionals, we constantly find ourselves inundated with invitations to join various organizations. Here is just a partial list of some of the ones we regularly run across:
- The Association for Talent Development (formerly the American Society for Training and Development)
- International Coach Federation
- International Association of Coaching
- College and University Professional Association for Human Resources
- American Coaching Association
- National Human Resources Association
- New England Human Resources Association
- HR Certification Institute
- Talent Acquisition and Management Industry Association
And, of course, the granddaddy of them all…
- SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management
SHRM, with more than a quarter of a million members worldwide, dwarfs all the others. It is the “go-to” for most HR and leadership professionals; joining is an obvious no-brainer—or so it would seem. But do people actually use SHRM, and is it worth it?
In a word: Yes.
We’re not just talking about the perk that is the annual conference, a well-rehearsed affair with an array of wonderful keynotes (Condi Rice in one of the years we went), numerous topical sessions, decent food, and fantastic networking opportunities. We’re talking about the actual resources they provide, principally through their website, various education offerings, and nearly 600 local chapters. (The jury will be out for a while on their new certification venture, so we’re setting that aside for now.)
And people truly use these resources: according to Alexa, a website ranking tool, the SHRM website is one of the top 25,000 most-visited websites in the entire world. (Lest that number not impress you, keep in mind that there are over 1 billion websites out there right now.) That translates to about 250,000 visitors (and 1.1 million pageviews) per month—pretty impressive for a special-interest site.
So why go there? Well, here is our Top Five List of reasons to join (and use) SHRM:
- The Trends—An incredible number of questions in the HR world boil down to the “What’s happening out there?” variety. SHRM offers consistently useful trends to tell you how you compare with others. See, for example, their 2015 Salary Trends Report.
- Samples and Templates—Need some guidance on how to write a policy or handbook entry? Interested in sample job descriptions? Just about anything you can imagine is available at SHRM and, unlike what you may find with a random web search, you’ll know it’s been used by others in the HR community.
- Research and Metrics—Validating what we do (and turning it into numbers for the rest of the management team) is often a challenging exercise. SHRM provides a ton of current and historical research findings and surveys on just about any HR topic you can think of.
- The Legal Angle—It’s amazing how quickly the legal and public policy arenas shift when it comes to HR. Having a “one-stop shop” for these issues is invaluable, and we’ve used this SHRM area to help numerous clients.
- Community—Whether it’s about finding a local group or attending the national conference, no organization provides the level of community for HR professionals the way SHRM does.
All in all, we have to say that the resources SHRM provides are unmatched in the HR world. We visit, and often. Visiting, of course, means joining, and the annual membership fee (which costs about $15 a month) is well, well worth it.