You are on page 1of 4

Note: Check out the latest articles on the SHRM Board

versus SMFT!
TLNT:
See: http://www.tlnt.com/2011/02/16/shrm-members-for-
transparency-what-do-they-want-the-board-to-do/.
Human Resource Executive Magazine: (HRE)
See: http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533332678.

February 23, 2011

To: SHRM State Council Leaders

Subject: SHRM CEO letter to SHRM State Leaders

You may have received a letter last week from SHRM’s CEO, Mr. Hank Jackson, possibly in
concert with or under the direction of the SHRM Board of Directors. The SHRM Members for
Transparency group (SMFT) wants you to have accurate information as you fulfill your
responsibilities to weigh these issues on behalf of the SHRM members you represent. To
that end, there are a number of statements in Mr. Jackson's message, presumably approved
by the SHRM Board of Directors that could easily be misleading if not clarified.

As SHRM State Leaders and members currently evaluating the merits of SMFT’s positions, it
is important that you critically analyze these issues and we suggest caution in accepting
generalized statements in defense of the SHRM Board’s actions. Our website,
www.shrmmembersfortransparency.com is available to assist you in this analysis. In
addition to state leaders having the opportunity to review that material, we believe it
necessary to respond to Mr. Jackson’s recent letter, in detail, statement by statement. This
presents SHRM State Leaders the opportunity to make reasoned decisions on the merits,
based on actual facts about what steps you should take.

Relevant portions of Mr. Jackson’s letter and our inserted comments, where necessary,
follow in brackets:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sent: Thu Feb 17 15:10:40 2011
Subject: RE: SHRM Members for Transparency

Dear State Council Directors;

We have heard from many of you who have received emails from the Transparency Group. Some of you asked
for more information on the issues so that you can be informed and can respond to questions from SHRM
members. Many others asked how to have your name removed from this Group’s e-mail list. [SMFT
response: Of the hundreds of emails we have sent out and hundreds more
visiting our web site, we have had only ONE person request to be removed from
our list.]

On the e-mail name removal issue, we suggest that you simply inform the Group directly by reply e-mail of your
desire to be removed from their list… [We have had many, many more people join our
cause than ignore our message, as SHRM would want you to do.]

With respect to responding to SHRM Members, you should feel free to share any of the information our current
Chair Jose Berrios, then Chairman Robb Van Cleave and I provided to you at the November SHRM Leadership
Conference in our meeting with the SHRM State Council Directors where we discussed the concerns raised by
the Transparency Group. In that meeting we explained the following:
[The following statements provided at the November SHRM Leadership
Conference were prefaced by the identification of SHRM Members for
Transparency as “… a small group of disgruntled SHRM members who wanted
to remain anonymous.” This is disingenuous. SHRM knew exactly who we
were, that we represented 17 past chairs, two former President & CEO’s and
many more former board members of SHRM, HRCI and the SHRM Foundation
with greater than 1400 years of combined SHRM membership. They also knew
our issues, and had informed us that a recommendation would be made that
the SHRM Board meet with representatives of our group to discuss our
concerns in person. That meeting never occurred.]

The SHRM Board and management have listened to members of this Group on the same or similar issues since
2005. Most recently, I met with their spokesperson and listened to all of their concerns; Robb Van Cleave
discussed the Group’s concerns with their spokesperson; Group members personally wrote to all Board
Members; and the Group shared their concerns with the MAC. [This Group (SMFT) did not even
exist until 2010, nor had some of the issues occurred until 2010. Our
spokesman who talked to Chair Van Cleave asked Mr. Van Cleave if he could
confirm that the new Board Compensation levels would be $35,000, $25,000
and $20,000. He said he could “not recall the exact amounts” notwithstanding
the fact the Board’s position has been that they had considered their action to
increase the Board compensation for two years prior to their decision. The
meeting with Mr. Jackson with a representative of our group was the result of a
recommendation by the Northeast Regional MAC representative. It was at that
meeting that Mr. Jackson, after reviewing our concerns, suggested “The Board
should see this.”

We waited for months, followed up numerous times, but nothing happened,


leaving us with no other conclusion than the Board presumably rejected Mr.
Jackson’s recommendation to meet with us. We are deeply concerned that
anyone would now suggest that the singular informal, preliminary meeting
between Mr. Jackson and only one of our representatives was a comprehensive
review of our issues.]

All decisions made by the SHRM Board have been made in the best interests of SHRM, its members, and our
profession, and have been based upon extensive deliberation, and expert professional advice. For example, the
Board honoraria level and travel policies were based upon a two year board study and upon input from legal
experts and compensation experts, and were adopted for the purpose of recruiting and retaining a diversified
board of specialists appropriate for the global business that SHRM has become. [Our data indicate that
it is extremely unusual for a not-for-profit member society to compensate its
board members, especially in the amounts paid to SHRM Board members.
Furthermore, our information suggests providing unrestricted business class
travel to all Board members, regardless of nature or duration of a flight, is
essentially unheard of in a not-for-profit. Our research, made available to the
Board, further reflects that it is highly unusual and not accepted procedure for
a Board to decide upon its own compensation.

Why will the Board not show us their data if it substantiates their actions? If
they are correct or can otherwise convince us, we will all benefit. Yes, some of
us have been fighting some of these issues at least five years. The 2005
decision to compensate the Board was appealed by many of us and the Board
did review their decision. However, upon the completion of their review, in
2006, we were told that a major reason the Board wanted to compensate the
Board was so that “… board members could afford to take their spouses on
SHRM business travel.” We did not then and do not now believe this is
appropriate justification.]
The Board has been unwilling to make HRCI certification an absolute requirement for each and every member of
the Board because such a policy would unduly limit SHRM’s ability to have a Board comprised of individuals
with many different and important areas of expertise, which is a best practice for high performing organizations.
[This is a practice in the private sector, not non-profits.] The belief is that this practice
will always allow for a sufficient number of certified members on the Board to represent the HR profession.
[Less than one-half of the Board is currently HRCI-certified and worse, the Chair
of the Society, Jose Berrios, is the first Chair of the Society NOT certified since
the establishment of HRCI in 1976. As you know, many of our chapters have
implemented strong local programs to support the furthering of certification for
their members.]

We believe, if there was any question on transparency, it was taken care of by the posting of all of the Board
minute summaries that were not posted for a period of time when we were designing the information architecture
in conjunction with the development of our five year Strategic Plan. All minute summaries have been posted and
remain current. [It was our Group that insisted that the summary of the Board
minutes (not the actual minutes) be reinstated after the postings, without
explanation, had been discontinued.]

We realize that reasonable people can disagree on policy issues and that all members are entitled to raise
concerns they have. But the issues raised by this Group have been exhaustively heard by SHRM management
and the Board and we have explained the reasoning behind our decisions and stand by them. [It is an
enigma that they say they had exhausted themselves when we have never met
and they have never provided the relevant research or citations that was the
basis for their decisions. A meeting is all we have every asked for.

It is important to note that at the 2010 November Board meeting, an


unreported action was the hiring of APCO, a crisis management consulting
company. We believe the commissioning of such a major firm, at assumed
substantial costs, reflects the serious concerns the SHRM Board has about how
to respond to our legitimate issues and actions when, in reality, a meeting with
a few of our members to review these issues would have sufficed.]

I very much look forward to seeing you at the SHRM Regional Summit in February in just a few weeks where
we can all set the agenda going forward. Until then, if you need any further information, or if you hear from
SHRM members in your state who have concerns that you cannot respond to, please feel free to refer any of
those concerns to me at CEO@shrm.org. [Please also feel free to refer any concerns for
additional facts or information from our perspective to our website or directly
to your SMFT Regional Representative or any other member of our group.]
End of Excerpts from Henry Jackson's letter
----------------------------------------------------------

When you attend the upcoming SHRM Regional Summit, SMFT asks you to consider
asking the volunteer leaders these important questions:

• What is the rationale and research or citations for the decisions on the policy
items challenged by SHRM Members for Transparency?
• Why were these decisions necessary or appropriate for a non-profit membership
association?
• Does the Board consider itself to be a volunteer-led Board? If so, why has the
Board found it necessary to hire search agents to recruit HR professionals for the
Board who were NOT SHRM members or HRCI certified?
• What obligation does the Board have to its members who disagree with its
decisions? (For instance, meet with individuals such as the SHRM Members for
Transparency?)
• What kind of organization does the leadership consider SHRM to be?
• How are the members best served by the policies the Board has adopted, many
of which benefit the Board more than the members?

We hope you ensure that the Board’s agenda for the future is your agenda and one you
can believe in and support. That is what the SHRM bylaws and your state councils'
bylaws require you to do.
You, as a leader of SHRM, can decide if these issues impact you as a member and impact
our professional society. SHRM is a professional society. We all belong to a non-profit
professional society whose charter is to serve the profession and develop its members.
We are not a for-profit international business. Our concern is that SHRM strategy more
and more looks like that of a for-profit business, with an emphasis on marketing and
geographic growth. The strategy appears to de-emphasize the Human Resource
experience and credentials appropriate to a non-profit professional society.

Best Professional Regards,

SHRM Members for Transparency Steering Committee

Former Chairs of the SHRM Board of Former SHRM National, HRCI and SHRM Foundation Board Chairs,
Directors members, SHRM state and local voluntary leaders
Merle Alvis, SPHR
John Blodger, SPHR
Gerry Crispin, SPHR Lin Little, SPHR
Neal Bondy, SPHR
Nina Drake, SPHR Tommy Little, SPHR
Chuck Gallagher, SPHR
Jac Fitz-enz, Ph.D Arthur (Arte) Nathan, SPHR
Bruce Ellig, SPHR
Cathy Fyock, SPHR, CSP Tim Orellano, PHR
Gary Howard, SPHR
John Goodwin, SPHR Steve Rice, SPHR
Dave Hutchins, SPHR
Anita Gorino, SPHR Michael Rogers SPHR
Elmer Jackson III, SPHR
Jim Granfor, SPHR Fran Sincere, SPHR, MSIR
Tom Kelley, SPHR
Keith Greene, SPHR John Sturges, SPHR
Wanda Lee, SPHR
Hank Hennessey, Ph.D, SPHR Sue Tempero, SPHR
Kathleen McComber, SPHR
Kate Herbst, SPHR Ray Venero, SPHR
Kathryn McKee, SPHR
Arthur Hershey (Mbr 52 years) Beth Vonnegut, SPHR
Jerry Sellentin, SPHR
Marilyn Hoppen, SPHR Susan Warner, SPHR, Esq.
Jim Skaggs, SPHR
Alan M. Jaramillo, SPHR Ray Weinberg, CCP, SPHR
Ommy Strauch, SPHR
Jim Ware. SPHR
Former Presidents and CEOs
Michael Losey, SPHR, CAE
Ronald Pilenzo, Ph.D, SPHR