Speaking out is hard. Sometimes it’s because you are afraid of the reaction from others. Sometimes it’s because you just don’t know what to say. And sometimes it’s both. (all me.) That’s where having awesome friends come in and help!
And I’ve been there. I wrote about an experience I had in the workplace where I found the courage to speak up. Looking back, after speaking up, the job became unbearable. Odd things began to happen to me — accusations out of no where. Directly related to my unofficial complaint? I really can’t say, but even knowing the outcome, I would speak up again. So I know it’s hard to speak up when you know you may lose something by doing so.
Last year, I wrote about my decision to attend the National SHRM conference. SHRM has made some decisions (or lack of decision) that bothered me. I attended with a heavy heart. It was fantastic to see friends, do some learning (Brene Brown & Blake McCoskey were great keynotes), make some great content for my blog and the podcast. But it was hard. Actively participating, supporting an organization that seems to actively support a presidential administration that I cannot support? I struggled with how could I speak up? I hoped to have time to speak one on one with trusted SHRM professionals, but that time never came up. As it doesn’t when you wait around for the right time. And that was my privilege. But no longer.
I had stood on the sidelines encouraging others to speak up, supporting them. Then Kate invited me to a Zoom meeting where she was seeking advice and support of her Change petition to SHRM, asking them to stop touting “policy over politics,” to stop supporting policies that mostly support conservative/pro-business ideals. To be a champion for #BlackLivesMatter and #LGBTQLivesMatter. It was disappointing that SHRM sat by while a case to protect the employment of the LGBTQ community was in front of the Supreme Court — they did not have an article on their site even mentioning that it was happening. SHRM continues to sit by and let these events just happen.
As an individualistic society, many are saying, just put your money where your mouth is and let your membership lapse. Surely, SHRM will notice if people drop their membership. But will they? I’ve been boycotting a local restaurant for about a year & telling everyone I know about the crappy service, but that restaurant is still the “hot spot” in town & everyone tells me I just need to give them a 2nd chance (nope, I’d rather go to Culvers). Just like the local restaurant doesn’t notice when one person doesn’t show up, SHRM isn’t going to notice if 5000 drop their membership. Honestly, I’d be surprised if that doesn’t happen on a regular basis.
We need to band together to make SHRM understand WHY. We need to speak as one voice and lobby SHRM to either make some adjustments or drop the pretense of “policy over politics” altogether and just be who they are. If SHRM wants to be a pro-employer organization for HR professionals (which is really what they are right now), then just BE that organization and let those of us who really want to be the voice of all things work, to help employees and employers work together to thrive, find where we can do that.
If you want to know more, please visit this Twitter thread by Lance Haun, who does a fantastic job of highlighting the history (at least this century history) of SHRM.