Nonpartisan Approach Will Strengthen Workplaces, SHRM Says

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

March 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Gathering here in the center of partisan politics for its annual Employment Law & Legislative Conference, leaders of the Society for Human Resource Management called for HR to chart a nonpartisan course in today's polarized environment.

"SHRM has to be nonpartisan," said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM's president and CEO. "There will be times when we absolutely agree on the Democratic Party position, and there will be times when we agree with the Republican Party position. Yet there are going to be times when we have our own position - one that is staked out very differently."

SHRM's Director of Congressional Affairs Lisa Horn expressed similar sentiments. "One of the things that really makes our advocacy efforts unique is that we are nonpartisan," she said. "We are for good workplace policy. … The key to achieving that is hearing from and working with people who have different viewpoints."

Speaking at a lunch session, two political professionals encouraged HR professionals to help create a workplace environment where employees feel free to give voice to their political opinions in a respectful manner.

"Let's make our workplaces free of this kind of polarization," said Donna Brazile, a veteran political strategist and former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee. "Let people know that they can talk without getting into the weeds of politics."

Trying to completely shut down political conversations - rather than fostering a culture of healthy respect - will only backfire, warned former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. "It's just like Jell-O if you try to stifle it," he said.

SHRM's latest positions can be found in its newly released 2018 Guide to Public Policy Issues.