The Society for Human Resource Management is the premier HR membership association for global HR professionals. An SHRM membership is sought after partly due to the chance to be associated with such a prestigious group, and partly due to the massive learning assets you gain access to, such as the SHRM Conference.
But despite all the value it supposedly offers, will a membership really benefit you as an HR professional?
Let’s jump right in and find out if an SHRM membership is worth it.
The SHRM Membership at A Glance
A membership with the SHRM gives you varying levels of access to the association’s HR resources, guides, mentorship, and specific HR solutions.
Here are some of the direct benefits of an SHRM membership:
- HR News: You can stay up-to-date with the latest HR news through their webcasts, newsletters, and the HR Magazine. Members can also download the official SHRM app to get all the HR news at their fingertips.
- Document Samples and Templates: You get thousands of policy forms, presentations, HR document templates, and working samples. Members also get access to dedicated document design toolkits and how-to guides on creating the perfect HR-related documents.
- Compliance Resources: You receive notifications about local, state, and federal laws and/or policy updates. Members can also get legal and regulatory compliance advice as well as access to an FMLA manager.
- SHRM Connect: You build a network of fellow HR professionals and get your questions answered by experts in the SHRM online members-only community. Members also receive alerts for HR conferences and student programs happening through the platform.
- Ask HR Advisors: You can get expert help directly via phone, live chat, or email. Members can put in both regular and express requests (subject to costs) through the Ask an Advisor service.
The SHRM community serves as a global network of HR professionals from a variety of industries, all sharing tips and tricks of the trade. Plus, the different membership types all have their own perks.
Types of Memberships
There are currently 2 different membership options at the SHRM, which are:
SHRM Professional Membership
The Professional Membership is available to both US-based and global HR professionals. It includes all the benefits mentioned above as well as printed copies of the HR Magazine.
Membership costs $219 a year and applicants can pay in their local currency.
SHRM Global Online Membership
The Global Online Membership is only available to HR professionals located outside of the US. It includes all of the benefits mentioned earlier.
Membership costs $109 a year and applicants can pay in their local currency.
Pros and Cons of an SHRM Membership
Like any professional association, the Society for Human Resource Management has its positives and negatives when it comes to membership.
To better understand what being a member of the association means for an HR professional, let’s take a comprehensive look at some of the reasons why you should, and shouldn’t, get an SHRM membership.
Pros of an SHRM Membership
Here are some of the positives of an SHRM membership:
Access to Valuable HR Resources
Regardless of your membership type, you gain full access to all of the SHRM’s online resources. This includes employee handbooks, presentations, document samples and tools, blogs and articles on a variety of HR-related topics, interview samples, forms, and policy templates.
A Comprehensive Database
The SHRM has a giant database of helpful resources that can be accessed through a smart search system. Members can search via a number of criteria such as company name, company size, job function, job title, and geographical location. The database hosts the SHRM social network, which members can use to share ideas, and get advice on HR issues. In addition, the SHRM Jobs portal helps you post and find jobs in HR, globally.
Regulatory Compliance Support
The aforementioned HR resources also include a full record of all the local, state, and federal laws that dictate compliance. In addition, members get notified whenever the relevant government bodies make any changes to laws already in place.
Government Affairs Involvement
The SHRM has a program that allows members to get involved in any pending government HR regulation, and stay aware of any new regulations that government bodies pass. This gives members a say in HR laws and lets them have an impact on the HR industry as a whole.
Detailed HR Research
Both individual members and HR teams regularly conduct detailed research on a number of HR topics. They compile all their research and findings into various eLearning content assets such as webinars, white papers, and case studies, which all members can access, at any time.
Diverse Member Network
Unlike HR associations that accept specific HR communities, the SHRM has a diverse member base, consisting of over 300,000 professionals in over 140 countries. Members can take advantage of this diversity and gain unique insight and knowledge on HR subjects. Furthermore, the SHRM holds networking events at local SHRM chapters from time to time. These offer a great opportunity for new members to build a network.
Members can get the SHRM certification, namely the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) to add to their HR education. These credentials actually hold a lot of weight in the industry, and are tested according to Buros Center for Testing standards.
Overall, the SHRM has a lot to offer to both new and established HR personnel.
If you're interested in learning about other certifications, then check out our HR Certification Courses at HR.University.
Cons of an SHRM Membership
Here are some of the negatives of an SHRM membership:
Differing Expert Opinions
Considering that the SHRM has members from all over the world, it’s no surprise that some fellow members provide advice that is totally different from what another member may suggest. This could be due to the different HR climates in their local industries, or due to different work experiences. In any case, sometimes it can be difficult to decide which expert’s advice to follow.
Membership Aimed at Sole HR Professionals
Depending on the size of the HR team that you’re a part of, you may or may not benefit from all the helpful resources that the SHRM offers. This is because teams with more members, in bigger companies, already have a number of resources at their disposal, along with strict guidelines to operate within. Any new ideas or HR innovation may be redundant for HR personnel who have to operate within set guidelines.
The Verdict: Is It Worth It?
In short, yes!
And this goes for the majority of HR professionals all over the world over.
The SHRM has always provided human resources professionals such as HR managers and HR generalists with all the latest resources and content for all their training and professional development needs. In addition, it provides not just networking opportunities, but a number of other membership benefits—all of which make it ideal for new HR pros.
Yes, the membership may not be beneficial in some cases, but, for the most part, if you're a regular member, there is a lot you can gain through SHRM memberships in terms of experience and expertise.
In conclusion, if you’re an HR newbie, or even a seasoned veteran, looking to sharpen your human resources management skills, or just looking to learn something new in HR, the SHRM membership is definitely for you.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.