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President & CEO, Society for Human Resource Management

The COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest and economic uncertainty elevated the role of human resources (HR) professionals, who became especially crucial to business leaders as they navigated some of the toughest challenges of their careers. Throughout 2020, SHRM continued to forge ahead with new opportunities to support our 300,000+ members and champion important workplace policy, impacting the lives of more than 115 million employees and their families worldwide.

Even before the pandemic emerged, we were tackling the skills gap and working with business leaders and policymakers to remove barriers that leave some of the best talent on the outside looking in.

We brought SHRM’s thought leadership on COVID-19; diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I); and a range of issues to national and global audiences that included the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and YouTube influencers. We produced webcasts featuring the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oxford Economics and the Department of Labor that reached more than 230,000 members and nonmembers. SHRM brought strong, necessary guidance to CEOs and CHROs across industries as they looked to create safe, inclusive, better workplaces.


And we continue to elevate the HR profession across the globe: In 2020, SHRM garnered more than 34 billion impressions across targeted mainstream and industry-specific media outlets, including NBC’s “Today,” CNN, CNBC, “Good Morning America,” USA Today and The Economist, as SHRM’s executive team and knowledge experts provided powerful insight on a changing workplace landscape.


We’re ready to partner, adapt and lead the way to a better world.


At SHRM, we came together in partnership and learned how to lean on one another. We adapted to face adversity—and to grow—adjusting quickly, reimagining projects, having difficult conversations and forging ahead. And we led the way forward, charting a brand-new path for the workforce. We thrived thanks to innovation, inventing new ways to keep our remote workforces engaged and ensure we could return to work safely and with confidence.

In 2020, SHRM and its members came together to partner, adapt and lead the way to better workplaces and ultimately a better world.


SHRM’s Advocacy:

  • Secured assistance for SHRM affiliates with the expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Endorsed modernized health savings plan rules through key changes included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
  • Kept open a critical talent pipeline by defending the Optional Practice Training program to allow highly educated international students to contribute to U.S. workplaces.
  • Increased the ways employers help students by advocating the expansion of employer-provided education assistance to include student loan repayment.
  • Protected the employer-employee relationship in California through important changes to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018.


In 2020, SHRM worked to deliver important results for workers and the workplace. We connected HR professionals and business leaders to lawmakers with more than 1,600 unique interactions at the federal and state levels, and we held the largest Capitol Hill Advocacy Day ever, with over 550 HR professionals meeting virtually with policymakers.

Additionally, SHRM worked with the National Foundation for Women Legislators to showcase powerful women and celebrate 100 years of the 19th Amendment, sponsored career development initiatives with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and partnered with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to promote the education-to-employment pipeline.

SHRM partnered with chapters and state councils to deliver programs on COVID-19 and DE&I to more than 30,000 chapter members.

We provided training to over 3,900 Volunteer Leaders and accelerated the sharing of best practices for virtual events to help those individuals lead their organizations.

The SHRM Speakers Bureau acted as a premier partner to SHRM chapters, doubling its audience while providing top-tier professional voices on the front lines of the most pressing workplace issues of today.

The SHRM Foundation worked with key partners to bring attention to untapped talent such as older workers, veterans, people with disabilities and the formerly incarcerated. These partners included:

  • The Entertainment Industry Foundation and Delivering Jobs, to bring awareness of the workplace contributions of people with autism and intellectual and/or developmental differences through employment and leadership opportunities.
  • Google, to connect diverse tech talent with opportunities at major companies across the U.S. Through the promotion of Google Career Certificates for job seekers and Google’s hiring consortium of employers, the company hopes to empower HR professionals with programs that create economic opportunity, promote inclusive hiring practices and provide essential digital-skills training.
  • One Mind at Work and Psych Hub, to launch Mental Health and Wellness in the Workplace, an initiative to engage HR professionals in educational and training opportunities to lead mental health and wellness change in the workplace.
  • Veterans at Work, to empower HR professionals to attract, hire, and retain veterans.

SHRM and the Association of Corporate Counsel announced a first-of-its-kind alliance between Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) and Chief Legal Officers (CLOs) as allies for change. The alliance offers opportunities for CHROs and CLOs to examine existing workplace policies and create an open space to foster crucial exchanges between employees to drive understanding, respect and empathy as the foundation for real change toward more-inclusive workplaces. 

ParagonLabs, SHRM’s workplace innovation lab, announced the first-ever Better Workplaces Challenge Cup, a national competition for startup enterprises to receive mentoring and present forward-thinking workplace tech innovations directly to HR and business professionals around the country.

2020 brought a year we never expected. We learned how to adapt in life and in work. We learned how to lean on one another. We learned how to lead differently. To advocate for better policies, to elevate human resources. To develop people into stronger managers.

Global Impact:

With a membership spanning 165 countries, SHRM has continued to advance HR practices across the globe through learning and development opportunities, partnerships and certification.

SHRM held five world-class international conferences in 2020: SHRM Tech in Dubai, with live audiences from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia; and SHRM India’s first-ever virtual events: SHRM NxT 2020, SHRM Edge 2020, SHRM Tech APAC and the SHRM India Annual Conference. The ability to pivot to a virtual format during the pandemic enabled many more global HR and business leaders to attend at a time when they needed SHRM’s support and resources more than ever to leverage emerging technologies and best practices for remote work and employee health and safety.


In 2020, organizations had to rethink the way they do business. Employers took unprecedented measures to support their workers, customers and communities, including by making physical changes such as redesigning offices to adhere to social distancing guidance, and implementing workplace policy changes that address flexible work-from-home arrangements, benefits programs and the needs of working parents.

At SHRM, when it was clear we wouldn’t be able to convene with our fellow HR professionals in person, we quickly transitioned our major signature events online, starting with the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo. Virtual did not mean disconnected, as hundreds of attendees gathered for a vibrant experience featuring interactive educational sessions and real-time networking.

Our members came with us throughout the year, even growing in number. In fact, INCLUSION 2020, held virtually, attracted a record number of participants for three action-packed days focused on bold action and bold change that included conversations with NASCAR President Steve Phelps and Philonise and Rodney Floyd, brothers of George Floyd.

We engaged our largest-ever gathering of Volunteer Leaders through our virtual Volunteer Leaders’ Business Meeting—nearly doubling normal attendance levels.

We launched powerful new programs like “Tune in Tuesdays,” a digital series featuring fresh perspectives from workplace leaders, curated news you can use and solutions focused on all things work.


We rolled out products to help solve persistent workforce problems. SHRM PaySolution, an electronic payroll delivery option, streamlines payroll administration for employers and empowers employees—especially the millions of unbanked and underbanked Americans—through quicker access to hard-earned income. And we helped provide businesses with affordable legal resources in a time of uncharted compliance and liability issues through SHRM LegalNetwork.

SHRM supported its members with learning and development opportunities to help navigate the changing workplace. SHRM certification and credentials continued to grow and demonstrate their importance: For the first time in SHRM certification history, more than 30,000 people were granted eligibility to take the SHRM-CP or SHRM‑SCP exam. In another milestone, we achieved 111,000 SHRM-certified professionals. We even introduced a new program for certified professionals to earn professional development credits to recognize their hard work supporting organizations and maintaining business during the pandemic.


We can transform the workplace with a culture of optimism and opportunity. Together we can build inclusive organizations where all people thrive. Together we can build a world of work that works for all. Together, let’s create better workplaces and a better world.

In the summer of 2020, SHRM launched Together Forward @Work, a call to action for the HR profession and business community to drive racial inequity out of U.S. workplaces.

This multifaceted platform included:

1. Original research.

Highlighting the current state of U.S. workers’ viewpoints on racial inequity in the workplace, the first of more data to come.

2. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Equity.

A coalition of top business executives and academics from both within and outside HR to drive actions and solutions.

3. Ongoing learning, conversations and collaboration.

Conversation starters and resources on racial equity and inclusion in the workplace, open to all to help organizations address inequity.


    In 2020, CEOs and business leaders faced the biggest challenges of their careers—and many looked to SHRM for answers. With workplace leaders, HR led amid the coronavirus crisis to balance the needs of business and people while doubling down on company values. Notably, 90 percent of HR professionals say they contributed to their organization’s success in an extremely challenging year. We helped managers build the skills most needed to lead with PMQ—SHRM’s People Manager Qualification (PMQ), an interactive and evidence-based virtual learning program.

    SHRM has been deeply involved in the critical workforce issues of the day. Our chapters and state councils quickly rolled out and amplified SHRM resources on navigating COVID-19, remote work, and driving racial injustice and bias out of the workplace.

    SHRM research reports kept members apprised of the changing workplace landscape with consistent COVID-19-related research and insight on other key workplace issues.

    Our When Work Works Against You campaign tackled hidden bias, exclusion, ageism, toxic work environments and other constraints that keep individuals from performing their best at work and even driving them to more-inclusive workplaces.

    The SHRM Foundation led the charge to get talent back to work—with 3,000 individuals and organizations pledging their commitment to provide job opportunities to qualified people with criminal records—launching the Getting Talent Back to Work Certificate program.

    As we look to the future landscape of our profession, SHRM’s heightened focus on the next generation of HR leaders is well underway. In 2020, SHRM amended key sections of its bylaws to reflect the new definition of student members and removed barriers of entry in membership, student chapters and governance. These changes provide stronger continuity and sustainability of SHRM student chapters and will foster greater engagement with our professional membership, supported by new avenues of content specifically for students and emerging professionals through webinars, mentorship and a podcast geared toward emerging professionals.

    SHRM led on the global HR response to the pandemic, working with organizations like the IOE on an international return-to-work guide and participating in conversations with the United Nations, UN Women, the European Commission and the International Labour Organization on the COVID-19 crisis and recovery.


    In addition, SHRM continued to take an active advocacy role in global workplace policy, contributing to the B20 Future of Work & Education policy report and offering insight on issues such as the U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement.

    SHRM executives were appointed to new leadership roles in the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA), for which SHRM serves as secretary general. SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, was elected president of its regional federation, the North America Human Resource Management Association, and SHRM’s head of Government Affairs, Emily M. Dickens, joined the WFPMA 2020-2022 board.

    At the end of 2020, HR People & Strategy (HRPS) became the SHRM Executive Network, allowing it to better meet the unique needs and challenges HR leaders face and leverage the strategic expertise of those leaders to create a stronger, more unified community for SHRM’s entire membership. Prior to this transition, HRPS provided more than 700 HR executives from global organizations peer networking, thought leadership and executive-level content on critical issues such as mental health, inclusion and global challenges impacting the workplace.

    To wrap up a year of learning to adapt, partnering for change and leading a resilient workforce, SHRM positioned the organization for implementation of an all-new, audience-centric business focus. By refocusing internally on key audiences, SHRM will shape and tailor resources to fit the unique needs of every HR professional to help create better workplaces for a better world.


    In 2021, SHRM will continue to partner with our members in the journey to impact and shape better workplaces that lead to a better world.

    The SHRM team adjusted quickly, reimagining projects and functions, having difficult conversations about injustice, and forging ahead into the unknown.

    SHRM 2020 Financial Statement