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Podcast: SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor Discusses Key Issues Affecting HR

SHRM's President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. has made several changes since taking the helm at the beginning of 2018. This podcast features a wide-ranging conversation with Taylor at the SHRM 2018 Conference and Exposition in Chicago on key challenges affecting HR professionals today.

Chief among them is the oft-voiced complaint that, too often when people go to HR, nothing happens. "A lot happens, but people just don't know it's happening," said Taylor. "And that's the part that we've got to do a better job as a profession of reacting to." Taylor explains that much of what HR does must be kept confidential, and people don't always realize that.

Taylor said the number one concern he is hearing from his membership is the dilemma surrounding whom HR represents, the company or its employees? The answer, Taylor said, is both. "That is the biggest thing that keeps HR up at night, and I hear it constantly, 'where do I draw the line between protecting the interests of the company and advocating for employees?'"

Some other notable observations Taylor shared with XpertHR included:

  • There is no such thing as a perfect culture. Just know who you are and be clear with that when recruiting people to join your organization.
  • HR has to be prepared to take positions. SHRM hasn't always jumped out and had an opinion.
  • It might be time that we rethink the definitions of sexual harassment under civil rights laws in the #MeToo environment.

Taylor also pointed to what he called the weaponization of sexual harassment when claims are untrue. "Everyone knows the headline that says you are accused, but no one reads the headline that says you are vindicated." said Taylor. "With the number of employees that we need to keep this American economy going strong, we can't afford to have people pulled out of the workforce because of a potential situation of the weaponization of sexual harassment."

Finally, Taylor noted that many members are telling him they need to "take back HR" because many functions are being shifted to other areas like finance. "I hope that your listening audience will sign on to that so we can reclaim our profession."