SHRM Advice – Your Members Are Your Competition

One aspect of my introversion is that I am a DIY guy. I try and figure things out and will read or do research before I ask someone for help. As a plant HR leader, I had corporate resources to turn to for specialized needs. I became a go-to guy for some of the other HR folks in manufacturing, especially regarding teams and team processes.

Then I got to corporate.

One of my team leaders, relatively new to the company, asked me about my network. My network consisted almost entirely of employees. She challenged me to develop a network outside, and of course living in Atlanta, there are plenty of opportunities to join local chapters of several associations, including SHRM.

I had already been a blog reader, but now I began more actively commenting and considering how I might enjoy blogging about work. Along the way, I joined twitter and started working a little more diligently on my LinkedIn profile. Soon, I was not only commenting, but exchanging emails with other professionals and getting lots of support for my blogging ideas. I attended a couple of HREvoltion unconferences, and have met up with some of these fine pros when they happen to pass through Atlanta.

I now have a network well outside of my work-mates. In fact, I probably know more about the current projects and challenges these people have than of some of my peers in my own company. And the investment of 30-60 minutes a day catching up on blogs and twitter have turned in to real learning and expanded my capabilities.

So many of these people are SHRM members. They are chapter leaders, program leaders, and speakers. Some of them are part of the Voices in My Head series. They are giving, sharing people who have broadened my understanding of HR and I believe, improved my work in many ways.

Lots of organizations see the internet and social media as a marketing opportunity. SHRM has entered that, and I follow Curtis Midkiff, SHRM We Know Next, and about a dozen other SHRM-specific Twitter accounts. But I have never felt compelled to join SHRM because SHRM social media has given me so much access to knowledge and talent. Do I need SHRM Connect, the exclusive social media site form SHRM members? I don’t think so. Your members are everywhere. Yes, you have many more member resources, but many of us can find similar help elsewhere.

So here’s my advice SHRM – your members and their involvement online is your competition. You need to buy them out by helping them capitalize more on their time invested online. You need to reward them for their online contributions to the field. If you don’t already, you should strongly consider how to reward those who bring you new members via their online efforts.

Oh, and work harder on CHRO’s to sell the benefit. If the company’s leader doesn’t actively suggest SHRM membership as a development opportunity, you might want to figure out how to sell harder to them first.

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