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CEO DATELINE — SHRM CEO vows to raise advocacy profile

March 13, 2018
By William Ehart

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At his first legislative fly-in as CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management on Monday, Johnny C. Taylor staked out a more aggressive public policy posture for the professional society.

“We are going to go out and advocate,” Taylor said at a news conference during the event at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel. 
    “I want to elevate our profession so that we’re not always reactive but proactive.”

Taylor cited AARP as an example of an organization that advocates strongly and early in the legislative process.

“You’re going see a lot of activism. We are no longer going to be bipartisan. I think that was an overly simplistic way for the HR profession to be positioned,” he said. “We have to be nonpartisan.”

Rather than sticking to middle ground and trying not to alienate either party, SHRM will strongly back proposals from either party at any given time.

“As a profession there will be times when we agree with the Democratic Party’s stated position and there will be times we agree with the Republican Party’s position,” Taylor said.

SHRM will advocate for policies such as paid family and medical leave, he said. One GOP idea percolating on Capitol Hill that SHRM is monitoring would allow parents taking leave to tap their Social Security benefits early to pay for the time off. They may then be required to stay longer in the workforce longer.

Taylor was careful to say SHRM has not made a decision to endorse the plan, but said advocating for paid leave is an example of how we wants HR professionals to drive employment policy debate instead of ceding that ground to other interests.

“Whatever impacts the workplace, SHRM is going to have an opinion about,” he said.

Taylor joined SHRM in December after seven years at the helm of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.