HR Pros #HaveAVoice on Election Day (PICS)

SHRM & National Journal Post-Election Panel LIVE Webcast!

Join National Journal & SHRM for our 2012 Day After Election Conference. National Journal will draw from its robust editorial talent for an intensive look at the results of the 2012 elections and their likely impact on Congress, the executive branch, K Street and the most important policy issues of the day. This conference will include thought-provoking keynote speakers as well as 360-degree look at election trends from Ron Brownstein, Charlie Cook, Matthew Cooper, Ron Fournier, Chris Frates, Major Garrett, Jill Lawrence, Beth Reinhard, Reid Wilson and the Hotline staff.

Local Chapters Join SHRM at the Democratic National Convention

By: Kathleen Coulomber, @KCnSHRMGA
Traffic closures, increased police presence and torrential rain was not enough to keep local SHRM members from the SHRM-sponsored member engagement event held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention. SHRM CEO Hank Jackson was joined by SHRM staff to host several local SHRM chapters and the North Carolina State Council for a public policy update and networking reception.
Local chapters were treated to Vice President, Government Affairs, Mike Aitken’s public policy update, discussing pending legislation, regulatory efforts and what the November elections could mean for HR professionals.  The networking reception also allowed local members to get to know  Hank Jackson and members of SHRM’s leadership team.  The event was in conjunction with SHRM’s efforts at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. 
SHRM staff represented the HR profession at the Republican National Convention, held August 26-30 in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention, held Sept. 2-6 in Charlotte, N.C. SHRM does not have a political action committee, engage in political campaign activity or endorse candidates running for elected office, but recognizes that participation in the National Conventions provides a unique opportunity to showcase SHRM, the HR profession and while advocating on effective workplace public policy.



Conventions Come to a Close, But the Discussion Continues

These past two weeks, ACIP’s Lynn Shotwell and Rebecca Peters have had the opportunity to attend both the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL and Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC thanks to our new affiliation with SHRM. This opportunity has not only been an amazing political experience, but it has been beneficial to ACIP and its members – giving us access to the inside scoop as the parties head into election season, as well as providing us yet another venue to talk to Members of Congress, administrative officials, media contacts and both ACIP and SHRM members in attendance. ACIP’s message on the need to reform our high-skilled immigration system to grow jobs and create a healthy economy was the topic of many one-on-one discussions. We also had the chance to share our opinions on each party’s position on immigration through on-the-ground interviews. Check those videos out here and here.

While fixing the economy reigned supreme as the top issue at both conventions, each party did link high-skilled immigration as an important part of fixing the economy. In both the Republican and Democratic platforms, themost visible tie to the economy came through support for “stapling” a green card to the diplomas of advanced STEM graduates to retain those we educate in our first-class universities – a solution ACIP has been advocating for nearly a decade! In the Democratic platform, we also saw a tie to the economy through support for entrepreneurial start-up visas. Read the Republican platform here and the Democratic platform here.
Though immigration is not likely to be the most discussed issue leading up to the election in November, it will play a role – especially for Democrats, who are working very hard to secure the Latino vote. It is likely President Obama will continue to talk often about the new DREAMer policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Republicans are more likely heading into the election to focus their attention on support for a mandatory E-Verify system to authorize new workers. Both parties are just as likely to emphasize the benefits of high-skilled STEM advanced degree graduates to growing our economy, as evidenced by their platforms.
One important thing to keep in mind about the presidential candidates is who will be advising them on immigration in the coming months. In the President’s corner will be Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who would also likely continue to be his point on immigration should he win a second term. Rebecca Peters had a chance to catch up with Cecilia at the convention just long enough to let her know ACIP will be hosting a webinar this September to educate ACIP members on the President’s new DACA policy (details TBD). On team Romney, John Bailey, a former member of George W. Bush’s Domestic Policy Council and former deputy policy director at the Commerce Department, is a key immigration adviser. An ACIP contact from past administrations, we will be certain to catch up with him in the months to come. These counselors will be people to watch as the campaign season continues.
We’re signing off for the final time from Convention HQ, but to view all of ACIP and SHRM’s tweets, blogs, pictures and videos from both conventions, please visit

Lessons for #HR from the Convention Floor

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By: Mary Kaylor (@weknownext)

The SHRM Government Affairs and Public Affairs teams took Tampa and Charlotte by storm the past two weeks as they advanced the human resource profession by sponsoring several policy forum events at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The events attracted policymakers and business leaders from around the country and examined issues important to HR like the skills gap, immigration and workplace flexibility.

While political convention schedules provide plenty of partisan revelry, most convention goers are there to work as well. They attend to network, to learn and to build awareness for their company, cause or issue. Access is key. They want access to the convention hall and to the most popular and well-attended events with the smartest and most influential people. They select the events which hold the most promise and the best audience for accomplishing their goals. And of course they want to have fun, too.

Access to these events is organized by a hierarchy of credentials which are worn around the neck like badges of honor — mostly because of the heavy-duty networking it takes to trade and secure them — and for the envy they incite.

Attracting convention attendees to an event is a lot like attracting talented employees to your organization — and organizations should strive to be the “A-Ticket” event.

It’s about building your culture, your brand and your reputation as an employer. Are your employees excited to be a part of your organization and are their friends envious of their “awesome gig?”  Do the most talented job seekers look to your organization as a highly desired destination? A place where they can make talented contributions, work with other smart people, accomplish their goals, and have some fun, too? Would they trade a salary cut, a shorter commute, or a job title just to be there?

When November 6 rolls around, may the best candidate win.  And when it comes time for prospective job candidates to cast their votes, may the best employers win.

Charlotte, A City With A Heart of Gold

By: Bill Leonard, SHRM Sr. Writer

Not many people know that Charlotte, N.C., site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, was one of the first gold-rush boomtowns in the United States. That’s right; Charlotte was the epicenter of the first gold rush in U.S. history and had two of the largest operating gold mines, (the St. Catharine’s and Rudisill) in the nation prior to the discovery of gold in California.

The gold mines brought the first branch mint in the U.S., then a railroad, and then of course the banks—which Charlotte is now famous for. So the heart of Charlotte is literally gold.

And this week, during the Democratic National Convention, the city shined just like its golden heart. Many of the 50,000-plus visitors were commenting just how friendly, welcoming and warm people in Charlotte were. On the front lines of this “good will fest” were the police. Police were everywhere in Charlotte’s downtown, but it was just amazing to me that this huge police presence wasn’t intimidating at all. In fact, the police were a pleasure. They were engaging, cheerful and should I dare say it … even fun.

Some of the police directing traffic were literally performance artists. Convention-goers stood on the street corners laughing, applauding and taking pictures. If one of these cops had a Native American name it would have to be “Dances with Cars.”

I had several encounters with the police as I looked for ways around blockades and closed streets. Each time I stopped or was confused by the road closures, the cops who came to my aid were just so nice, and I thanked them profusely for their help several times. I even began just randomly thanking cops and complimenting them doing a great job. It seemed to work because I think the police became nicer and friendlier with each passing day.

I think all this good-will began permeating the entire downtown area; everybody seemed upbeat, friendly—even the protesters. The co-operation and friendliness became pervasive, and I benefited because someone with the New Mexico delegation whom I had never met, handed me a pass to see President Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night (Sept. 6, 2012).

This effusion of good will and friendliness got me to thinking about the value of good customer service. Because as corny as might sound, good customer service and relations were really what lay at the heart of these golden moments in Charlotte. I think we could all learn a wonderful lesson from what happened at the DNC this past week.

First and foremost, be nice and civil to people. In addition be helpful whenever you can, and compliment people on a job well done; tell them that you appreciate their good work and efforts. Do this, and I swear you will be paid back in something much more valuable than gold.

Immigration News From the DNC

By: Rebecca Peters, Director and Counsel, Legislative Affairs ACIP

These past two weeks in Tampa and Charlotte have been a blur! But we at ACIP have enjoyed our time educating at both conventions and spreading the word on the need to reform our high-skilled immigration system and why it is important to growing jobs and the U.S. economy. We’ve been to events all over Charlotte this week – we even ran into Anderson Cooper! See the pictures of meeting him and more here. Continue reading for the full scoop on what has been happening at the DNC so far this week or catch up on last week’s RNC immigration buzz here.

While the economy still remains the top issue at both conventions, discussions around immigration at the DNC kicked off with the release of the Democratic platform on Tuesday, where it emphasized that the United States must be “a destination for global talent and ingenuity” and that we must “make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home,” reflecting a central ACIP advocacy message. The platform also highlights that “President Obama has made important progress in implementing immigration policies that reward hard work and demand personal responsibility” and that “[w]e are continuing to work to hold employers accountable for whom they hire.” Additionally, “the Obama administration provided temporary relief for youth who came to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, grew up as Americans and are poised to make a real contribution to our country.” Read the full Democratic platform here.

In a POLITICOPro story today, the tech industry, including ACIP’s own Rebecca Peters, gave its take on both the Democratic and Republican immigration platforms, which you can read here (subscription only).

Together, the SHRM and ACIP teams spent a lot of time discussing global mobility and the skills gap throughout the conventions. In front of an audience of SHRM members at the Ballantyne Country Club in Charlotte, SHRM CEO Hank Jackson shared that on a recent trip to Brazil, he heard that a top concern for the country is how it will address the skills gap. As this shows, this is a global problem we are dealing with. The concern over the skills gap was echoed by Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) at a SHRM-sponsored Third Way luncheon, where she pointed to the 3.76 million jobs open in the United States that cannot be filled because there are not enough workers with the appropriate skills to fill these positions. ACIP’s Lynn Shotwell also provided her thoughts on the discussions around immigration and global mobility while at the DNC. Watch a video of her thoughts here.

Later tonight we will continue to spread the message on high-skilled immigration at events taking place at Charlotte’s Mez and at the convention center. Don’t forget to tune into the President’s speech tomorrow night, when immigration is likely to be discussed. He’ll be speaking around 10:30PM ET, and you can tune in to watch it on the Conventions HQ at

Is this Actually Charlotte? A Charlottean Point of View

By: William Leonard, SHRM Sr. Writer
I was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., but I don’t even recognize my hometown this week. I pride myself in knowing my way around better than most native Charlotteans, but it’s hard to get from point A to point B when there are heavily armed police and Secret Service Agents blocking the streets that I know so well.

It just means giving up your normal well-known routes, improvising and then finding some place to park. I can’t imagine what the people who work and live around uptown Charlotte are dealing with.
HR at the larger employers in downtown made the right call by giving their workers off this week. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy all gave their workers the week off and allowed the most essential workers to telecommute.

And it’s a good thing too, because it is hard to picture what Charlotte traffic would be like if you threw in several thousand commuters with the convention crowd. This just makes me realize the value of flexible work policies. All the office workers in uptown Charlotte are realizing that too. Because, I know they’d be just like me, lost and often confused in a city that I know so well.

The Ghost of Isaac Haunts Charlotte

By: Bill Leonard, Sr. Writer,  SHRM Online

Isaac just may be remembered as the storm with the audacity to wash out parts of the GOP and Democratic national conventions.

The remnants of the tropical storm sent people scrambling for cover Monday night and cut short a planned outdoor concert in downtown Charlotte by singer/songwriter James Taylor, but it hasn’t spoiled the energy and enthusiasm of the Democratic faithful.

The Democratic National Convention begins in earnest at 5 p.m. today, and Society for Human Resource Management staff and volunteer leaders are on hand to provide their insights and expertise into critical work-related issues. Hank Jackson, SHRM’s president and CEO, is in Charlotte and will open two SHRM-sponsored events this afternoon—a town hall discussion and policy briefing session. Top economic and employment issues advisors from the Obama administration and Democratic congressional offices will discuss their political policies and what to expect from the upcoming presidential campaign.

Reviving the struggling U.S. economy and the stagnant job market will be the hottest issues in Charlotte and on the campaign trail, and the Democrats’ top leaders will be anxious to deliver their message and ignite their supporters’ interest and activism. First lady Michelle Obama will headline the keynote speakers at the convention on Tuesday night. Political pundits say her speech should set the tone for the remainder of the convention.

Look for further articles and blog posts from Charlotte as this massive political party gets revved up over the next three days and culminates with President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech from Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Thursday evening.