On the SHRM-HRPS Alliance

It’s common knowledge that the Society for Human Resource Management has long wanted to strengthen its position among senior HR executives. So it was hardly a surprise to learn yesterday that it has agreed to “join forces” with HR People & Strategy (otherwise known as HRPS).

Earlier today, HRPS board chair Kevin Rubens, who has been involved with HRPS for about 10 years and is also a senior partner at Korn Ferry International, told me the affiliation will enable his organization to address a long-standing issue: “We’ve always struggled with how to grow our association so it could have the kind of impact it should, considering the caliber of people involved with it. This affiliation will provide us with the opportunity to leverage the resources of a much larger organization and finally achieve these aspirations.”

Meanwhile, SHRM President and CEO Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, who will be joining HRPS’ board, said in a press release announcing the alliance:

“Together, we will be better positioned to impact the practice of human resource management for business results globally, as well as deliver high-quality programming and services to all HR professionals no matter where they are in their career.”

allianceBut there seems to be little question SHRM moved forward on this alliance because it viewed it as a way to leverage HRPS’ preceived senior-level brand.

SHRM currently serves a global community of around 260,000 HR professionals while HRPS’ membership ranks are around 3,000, including local affiliates.

Specifically, the SHRM-HRPS affiliation will:

• Provide dual membership opportunities for both groups’ members;

• Create a stronger, higher-impact and unified voice on human capital issues both domestically and globally;

• Share research to develop and deliver stronger programming; and

• Provide information and resources aimed at helping HR professionals keep up with future trends as well as influence regulations and compliance guidelines.

Under the agreement, SHRM will take over HRPS’ operational duties, which currently are outsourced to an association management company.

Susan Meisinger, a former president of SHRM and HRE‘s HR Leadership columnist, describes the alliance as good for both organizations, noting “there’s a great mutuality of interest between the two associations and they should be stronger together than as two different entities.”

Similarly, Boston University Professor Fred Foulkes believes it has the potential for “good synergy,” giving HRPS members access to SHRM’s extensive resources and SHRM members access to HRPS’ strong programming.

Less clear, he adds, is how the affiliation will play out on the chapter (in the case of SHRM) and affiliate (in the case of HRPS) level, particularly in those cities where they overlap and have previously competed. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.