Friday, January 4, 2013

The Cliff - The Hill And A Voice

The ILSHRM Crew posing before lobbying.
The end of the year has passed now, and the jury is still out on whether or not my efforts and the efforts of 380 of my SHRM peers will really pay dividends.   During the SHRM Leadership Conference, we were part of the largest contingent from any Leadership Conference to storm The Hill.   Our message had mostly to do with preserving existing tax code, for employee benefits.  We spoke about preserving benefits for college reimbursement, health care deductions, and the continuation of tax credits for retirement contributions. So with the Fiscal Cliff behind us it would appear that our efforts were effective, in as much as we did not hear about these benes  being whacked, in the 11th or maybe I should say 26th hour.  But this whole mess got me to wondering, did our efforts really matter? Was it worthwhile?

I have been involved in business and life long enough to know that you don't win all the battles, just ask Mr. Obama or Mr. Boehner.. Sometimes any small success is a victory. So even if our trip to The Hill does not result in the exact outcomes that we desired, we (all of us who participated) all made progress in the relationship building area.  This is largely what the whole effort  of going to Capitol Hill, is all about, the relationship thing,  I like many others am trying to build a relationship with our folks in Congress, so that if they ever have questions or need information about HR, they might contact me.  Remember, and the SHRM A Team tells  us this repeatedly, there are only two members on Capitol Hill who have any experience as an HR practitioner.  You can do the math 2 divided by 535 is 0.003,  three tenths of one percent, a very small minority.

These folks in Congress are busy every minute of the day and if you can make just a small in-road into getting their ear about an issue or two that is a success. While we did not get to speak to either one of my Illinois Senators, my group did get to speak with our Congressman Aaron Schock from Peoria, IL.  Rep. Schock listened to our issues as did his staffers.  As for the Illinois Senators, we did not see Sen. Kirk as he was still recovering from a stroke.  Regarding Senator Durbin, nothing was said regarding his whereabouts.  We did meet with one of his staffer, who was most gracious and attentive - but at my advanced age they all (All Congressional Staffer) make me feel like I am talking to my children.

While some of the HR folks who attend the Lobby Day are overwhelmed by the whole process, I find it exciting and invigorating to be that close to the process and to think that I actually do.... have a voice!

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC-SHRM