SHRM Launches Initiative to Improve Management-Employee Communication

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 25, 2019

Las Vegas -- The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced the launch of a new initiative aimed at improving workplace culture through dialogue between managers and workers, during its 2019 conference and exposition in Las Vegas. The focus of the Workplace Convos & Coffee initiative is to set constructive conversations in motion about the biggest issues impacting workplace culture.

According to SHRM's research, one out of every five American workers has left or wanted to leave a job due to their workplace's culture. When asked, 64 percent of US workers say managers contribute the most to the workplace culture, but 38 percent of managers say that creating the right culture is difficult.

SHRM CHRO Sean Sullivan and Chief Knowledge Officer Alexander Alonso said the campaign is meant to encourage managers, HR professionals and other workplace decision-makers to foster crucial one-on-one conversations about culture with and among employees. "To create better workplaces, we must be open to honest dialogue that leads to strategic action," said Sullivan.

There are a host of issues that can benefit from communication and sharing ideas between employees and managers, including:

  • Handling workplace harassment;
  • Addressing skills gaps;
  • Improving inclusion; and
  • Ensuring equity in the workplace.

But Alonso cautioned that these conversations should not be from the top down. Instead they need to be planned encounters, where each person is on equal footing. He explained, "Managers must understand the concept and figure out where it can be applied best for their employees and in their workplace."

Alonso also said that this new initiative complements SHRM's ongoing initiative to increase hiring and inclusion among older workers, veterans, persons with disabilities and those with a criminal record. "When we think about having an inclusive culture and advancing the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals, that's one of the core conversations that exists within the sphere of culture," said Alonso.

SHRM also launched a website to provide tools and resources to employers on how to encourage meaningful conversations, along with information on key workplace culture issues and engagement.