by Matthew Stollak on Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to sit in on the SHRM Membership Core Leadership Area webinar, "Social Media for Chapters and State Councils: The Rules of Engagement" (powerpoint here; membership may be required), led by SHRM's Manager of PR & Social Media Relations Curtis Midkiff. As described,

Learn how to use social media tools like SHRMConnect, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to engage your members and recruit new members. If you are new at using social media in relation to promoting and communicating information about your chapter, you won’t want to miss this webinar. SHRM's Social Media Manager Curtis Midkiff will provide an introduction to these tools and how they can assist you in reaching your goals.
The session was repeated on Thursday and over 270 people attended one or both sessions.

It is apparent that SHRM is taking a step forward in adopting Social Media, as evidenced by the hiring and work of Curtis, the creation of the SHRM Blog Squad and Social Media Lounge at the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference, and webinars such as the one presented above. However, if SHRM really "knows next," the next step is to make social media a critical component of SHAPE.

The SHRM Affiliate Program for Excellence, or SHAPE, is SHRM's volunteer centerpiece, ensuring that chapters and state councils align and engage with SHRM's overall objectives, as well as focus on activities and initiatives which are more strategic in nature. In addition, "SHRM depends upon each of its affiliates to operate in a professional manner; effective manage its finances; maintain affiliation standards; communicate with members, the community and SHRM, and promote SHRM. (italics mine)" Adopting social media with SHAPE would seem to be a strong fit with these objectives.

So, what would it take to make social media a component of SHAPE?
1. Top Management Commitment - SHRM has already shown some commitment to social media as already mentioned. Let's hope it continues.

2. Creating a Core Leadership Area (CLA) - SHRM already has a number core leadership areas to support the mission, including:
*College Relationship
*Government Affairs/Advocacy
*Workforce Readiness
*SHRM Foundation
*Diversity & Inclusion

While each of those areas could have a social media component (i.e., promoting membership initiatives locally and nationally, highlighting a SHRM Foundation silent auction, bringing attention to a particular piece of legislation), a Social Media CLA could spearhead, as well as support, each of those areas.

3. Adopting social media at the chapter or state council level for SHAPE- This would require:
  • having a volunteer person on the chapter or state council board, or as a director, responsible for advocating social media
  • creating and maintaining a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page at the chapter level
  • creating and maintaining a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page at the state council
  • ensuring that all chapters have a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn presence (if the person is at the state council level)
  • this volunteer person would participate in SHRM-sponsored conference calls, SHRM-sponsored live webinars, state-council sponsored conference calls, and share best/successful practice discussions with CLA peers
4. Adopting a number of initiatives to support the chapter or state council - these could include, but are not limited to:
  • conducting, hosting, or sponsoring a social media seminar, conference, or social media-focused event
  • Contribute to an article or write and submit an article on the topic of social media
  • Maintain and write a chapter or state council blog
  • Be a speaker at a student chapter event
As evidenced by the 270 people attending the webinars last week, there is a demand for an increased social media presence for chapters and state councils. As it was geared to Membership CLA individuals, it does not come close to the number who might have attended but had time conflicts, or were simply unaware of the session. Given this demand, and the growing importance of social media in contributing to chapter growth, it only makes sense to make social media a required component of professional chapters and state councils.


Well said Matt. I think you are dead on that if SHRM would really wished to step out front and lead their chapters and state councils, an effort like this would truly validate that New Media has a business purpose, and that SRHM sees that.

Your suggesttion of adding it to the SHAPE document is a great idea aw well. Having been a chapter volunteer for many years, the SHAPE (formerly the CAP) is largely the chapter's performance review.

Thanks for continuing to press on this issue, we will see how it plays out.

by Dave Ryan on September 27, 2010 at 8:37 AM. #

Matt - thanks for helping drive this important conversation. Working at multiple levels from SHRM National down to state and lcoal chapters is the next stpe in advanicing the process of seeing social media widely adopted in the HR profession.

by Michael on September 27, 2010 at 9:13 AM. #

Excellent ideas. The process has begun to incorporate new media/social media and the related tools and technologies into the SHRM world. Next step is providing the education and information to volunteer leaders and SHRM/chapter members about the business applications and linkages. Incorporating these componenets into SHAPE will demonstrate that HR needs to understand this as a business/HR competency and can no longer sit idly by on the sidelines.

by Robin Schooling on September 27, 2010 at 9:21 AM. #

Excellent comments all

by Matthew Stollak on September 27, 2010 at 4:40 PM. #

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