SHRM Strengthens Its Call for "Getting Talent Back to Work"

Author: Robert S. Teachout, Brightmine Legal Editor

June 26, 2019

Las Vegas -- At its 2019 annual conference and exposition, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reinforced its call for employers to increase hiring and inclusion of underrepresented groups. The topic of the opening keynote address and Monday morning general session, of press briefings, of multiple educational sessions and of a booth for employers to "Take the Pledge" to increase hiring of formerly incarcerated persons, SHRM's Getting Talent Back to Work initiative was front and center throughout the conference.

SHRM first announced it was making increased hiring of underrepresented groups - primarily persons with a criminal history and older workers - a key priority during its Employment Law and Legislative Conference in March of this year. The Getting Talent Back to Work initiative was launched soon after and now also includes persons with disabilities and veterans as the core demographic groups the program seeks to help.

During his Monday general session address, SHRM CEO and president Johnny C. Taylor, Jr emphasized the importance of including each of these groups in the workforce. "We need to trash the biases that deny employment to those who are older, disabled, different, who've made past mistakes and served in our military," said Taylor. "Creating better workplaces means bringing in and including everybody."

SHRM appears very focused on bending hiring practices and trends in this direction. In addition to the initiative, the organization has used its resources to promote the initiative in media and created toolkits and training to help HR professionals in hiring veterans, older workers and individuals with disabilities or criminal histories. SHRM leaders also have testified before Congress and multiple state legislatures on the issue of hiring and including these underrepresented groups in the workforce.

Taylor confirmed SHRM's commitment and focus during a press briefing. He pointed out that the idea of diversity has broadened beyond women and people of color to include the LGBT community, older workers, people with mental health issues and others. Taylor also pointed out that the US has a labor shortage, with more than 7.5 million unfilled jobs and only 6 million people looking for work. "We need people to fill these jobs," Taylor said.

When asked how long SHRM will continue its commitment to use its resources and influence to improve hiring and inclusion for these groups, Taylor said, "We're not stopping."