HR News & Trends

SHRM Board Elections: The Results Are In … Sort Of

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Nothing should be surprising when it comes to this year’s election of new members to the SHRM Board of Directors — not even the way the results are being announced.

With six (6) Director At Large positions at stake and two competing slates of candidates — one official slate being pushed by SHRM versus an alternative slate that was touted by the group SHRM Members for Transparency (SMFT) – it was, as I described it last week, “one of the most contentious and talked about elections for the SHRM Board of Directors, ever.”

Now, the results are apparently in with the SHRM-recommended Board candidates winning all six Director At Large Board seats.

The “official” election announcement

But, there is no official announcement from SHRM on any of this, and none coming until Monday. The official “announcement” of the Board election results comes from an email sent by SHRM Board Chair Jose Berrios to a selected number of SHRM members (and I was not one of the SHRM members in that select group).

Here’s what Berrios wrote, as forwarded to me by SHRM’s media relations staff after I asked them about it:

September 13, 2012

Dear SHRM Member:

A few weeks back, I sent you a message urging you to participate in the election of candidates running for the SHRM Board of Directors. I also asked that you consider voting for the slate of candidates recommended by the SHRM Board Governance Committee.

Thank you for that support!

The third-party election oversight company that SHRM retains to administer our board election processes, Election Services Corporation, has confirmed the election results; and the SHRM member Inspectors of Voting have certified the results. Your votes were overwhelmingly in favor of the vetted and experienced group of HR and other business leaders recommended by the SHRM Board Governance Committee. Each of the elected Directors received at least eighty-eight (88%) percent of the votes cast; and no other individual received more than 6 percent of the votes cast.

You can trust that the SHRM Board takes seriously its role in setting the strategic direction of the Society, so that it can continually meet your needs. Whether in assisting you in meeting the everyday challenges you confront as an HR professional, or in helping you grow in your career by developing business competencies — SHRM will be there to provide what you need. With the support of all SHRM members, I am confident that the board you have elected will continue to advance SHRM’s position as a globally recognized authority on human resource management.

Again, thank you for your support. Please let any of us on the SHRM Board know how we can best support you.

 Sincerest regards,

José Berrios

New members (unofficially) of the 2013 SHRM Board

I’ve never seen the results of a SHRM Board election announced in this manner, and I’ve never seen the results of a SHRM Board election announced to a select group of SHRM members and not the full membership without any official announcement of the results from SHRM’s media relations staff. But then again, I’ve never seen a contested SHRM Board election either, so this is all new ground, it seems.

Here are the official and SHRM-endorsed Board candidates that have apparently been elected to the 2013 SHRM Board of Directors, according to Jose Berrios:

  • David Windley, Chief Human Resource Officer for Yahoo;
  • Jorge Consuegra, a business and marketing professional who is currently a Partner at The Fearless Group;
  • My-Chau Nguyen, CPA, Senior Vice President, Direct Sales & Marketing, Sirius XM Radio;
  • Coretha M. Rushing, GPHR, Chief Human Resources Officer, Equifax, Inc;
  • Brian D. Silva, SPHR, GPHR, Senior Vice President of HR and Administration for Fresenius Medical Care; and,
  • Jose Tomas, SPHR, President, Latin America and Caribbean, and Global Chief People Officer, Burger King Corporation.

Transparency group responds

The SHRM Members for Transparency group sent out this press release Friday in response to the Board election announcement by Berrios:

We are not surprised to hear that SHRM won the election. We knew it was an uphill battle and SHRM did everything possible to put obstacles in our way.

We are not necessarily disappointed if it is true that our write-in candidates got no more than 6% of the votes. Last year, no write-in candidate received more than two actual votes (.019%), so 6% is a huge increase in SHRM members not voting for the Board-sponsored candidates. We also don’t know how many more members voted this year than voted last year.

Many questions remain. We will be requesting more detailed information about the number of candidates who received ballots and returned them, the number of votes garnered by each candidate, the number of ballots that were disqualified, and the reasons for those disqualifications. Given the complexity and special requirements related to matching SMFT candidates exactly against the SHRM candidates, we fear a disproportionate number of our voting supporters’ ballots were disqualified or the votes were diluted. We also had to wait until the SHRM ballot was released in order to match our candidates – a delay which cost us votes, since many members vote immediately upon receiving the ballot. …

During the next few days, we will convene our Steering Committee and assess where we should go from here.”

Since I won’t be getting any official announcement of the Board election results until at least Monday from SHRM media relations, this is as “official” as the Board results will get for now. But, the SHRM Members for Transparency group seems to accept the results as announced by Jose Berrios, so perhaps the contentious and nasty Board election is, finally, over.

That’s what is appears has happened. But in a year full of surprises when it comes to the normally quiet and dull election of new SHRM Board members, don’t be shocked if there is still a surprise or two yet to come when the official results are made public next week.

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of TLNT.com, and the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices. Contact him at john@tlnt.com, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnhollon.
  • John A Bushfield

    Admittedly, I have not been a participant in SHRM activities for a good while.  I think they are stuck in the past, and see little innovation or radical ideas coming out of their midst.  The election fiasco you describe actually doesn’t surprise me; it only supports my instinct that bureaucracy and politics are alive and well within the organization, and that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the changes occurring in the 21st century.