#SHRMAdvice Day: Your Members Matter from Victorio Milian

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2886a18It’s the first week of June 2013, and the world hasn’t changed.

Let me explain that statement…

On May 23 I discussed my ambivalence toward renewing my SHRM National membership on my Facebook wall. It was set to expire at the end of the month. Here’s part of it; you can read the full statement here.

Facebook wants to know what’s on my mind. Here you go…

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook timeline that my SHRM National membership was set to expire in several days. I stated that I was “on the fence” when it came to whether or not to renew it. Colleagues chimed in and at this point it seems to be a roughly 50/50 split. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. There were clear yeas and nays. Yet many simply asked whether or not I found value in the organization, and to use that answer to shape my decision.

I’ll continue to think about it. This is not an easy decision, least of which it may mean that I also lose my membership to the state SHRM chapter, HR/NY. However, I spend a lot of time consulting job seekers to define and communicate their value proposition. They need to be able to convincingly answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Why shouldn’t I expect the same from an organization that is supposed to have my best interests at heart? (emphasis mine)

Many colleagues chimed in, both for and against renewal. The pro side talked about access to resources, as well as about changing the culture from the inside. The naysayers talked about value, and whether I was getting enough bang for my buck. It was a good conversation; I appreciated the arguments that were made.

In the end, I decided not to renew. And the world didn’t change.

Do you know the movie It’s a Wonderful Life? Don’t laugh; I only saw it three years ago, much to my wife’s disappointment. If you don’t know the story, it’s about what happens to the main character, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) as he’s thinking about making a particular choice in his life. Contemplating suicide, he’s shown an alternate future, one in which this critical decision leads to those around him suffering tremendously. In other words, his actions have the power to make the world better or worse.

I don’t pretend to have that sort of power. I also don’t pretend that dropping off the proverbial SHRM map is going to impact the organization. That’s part of the frustration. I wanted to be a part of an organization where I felt that I mattered. With SHRM, it felt like I was shopping in a clothing store and all of the sales associates were ignoring me. This, after numerous attempts to engage them on projects of mutual interest. No thanks; I’ll take my time and talent elsewhere.

So, while I’ve moved on, I do want to add one more thing: SHRM, you have amazing advocates. People from state and local chapters whom I’m connected with argued strongly on the organization’s behalf. You should find ways to thank them, as well as further harness their advocacy so that more members don’t drop out. Because while one person may not change SHRM’s world, enough people might. Your members matter.

Bio: Victorio Milian is a Human Resources Consultant, writer, and speaker living in the best place on Earth–New York City! Creative, hard working, and smart, his goal is to make brands great by maximizing their talent initiatives. Along with this, Victorio has spent the past four years articulating his thoughts through social media about the Human Resources profession, as well as the ever shifting work landscape, via his blog, Creative Chaos HR.
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