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CincySHRM Offers HR for All

The Society for Human Resources Management rebrands and expands sources to business leaders in all seats and suites.

by Elizabeth Miller Wood

As a national organization, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is the authority on all-things HR. It offers an arsenal of e-library research and resources, hosts sophisticated conferences, and manages the industry’s leading certification programs: SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

On a local level, CincySHRM boasts a personality all its own. Formerly known as GCHRA, it extends the parent organization’s capacity with a relational twist. “It’s much more about networking and relationship-building,” says CincySHRM President Karen Brandenburg, who has been a member since 2000.

Her employment at Custom Built Crates, a family-owned company with limited in-house HR resources, means her two-decade membership with CincySHRM has allowed access to sophisticated data and compensation tools that would otherwise be out of reach. It’s also given her—and other small-company managers—a much-needed sense of community. Brandenburg explains that many HR employees of small- and mid-sized companies lack the luxury of “walking down the hallway to talk about what’s going on” on an HR-related issue, as a larger company might provide. Connections within CincySHRM provide that “hallway-like” comradery.

With CincySHRM’s recent rebrand came fresh efforts to attract non-HR professionals into the organization. That’s right: CincySHRM members needn’t have a title in HR to get involved. In fact, the diversity is encouraged. “We’re all in the people business,” Brandenburg says of the common thread that unites all professionals who perform HR-related duties, including those in the C-suite.

For smaller organizations, in particular, where employees wear many hats and may dip into HR roles by default, CincySHRM’s resources can be a powerful tool. From the broad-interest topics at monthly Connect and Learn meetings and bi-monthly presentations on legal and talent acquisition trends to certification prep courses, how-to programming, and a special group for “emerging” HR professionals (notice it isn’t just “young” professionals, as many people choose HR as a second career), there are plenty of avenues for members to choose their own adventure. But arguably the biggest value comes—fittingly—in the simple connection with other humans. “It’s getting to know people that do the same work as you and having a network of people to reach out to when you need help,” says Brandenburg.

Founded in 1935 and now a “mega” affiliate with approximately 500 members, CincySHRM is one of the nation’s oldest affiliates and has thus “been woven into the fabric of our greatest companies here in the region,” says Dan Netter, an employee of Aquarius Professional Staffing who assumes the group presidency in January 2023. “Our HR community is one of the most welcoming and open collections of people I’ve ever found in the Greater Cincinnati region.”