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Great blog! This is a particulary important time for HR compensation experts to make themselves heard. On national health care, the issues are so complex that HR compensation professionals are desparately needed to filter through the contrary claims of the interest groups. On EFCA, the key promise that EFCA advocates make is that it will improve compensation of the working class (but they fail to address the higher unemployment as well). On bailout and stimulus oversight, congressional leaders have no idea how to design pay-for-performance in federal employment yet want to tell the private sector how to design PFP. If we don't speak up, just think about who the president and congress IS hearing from on these issues!


Thanks for the thoughts and specific pointers. This was exactly Cara's point, which prompted another one of those "hair at the back of my neck standing up" moments - that most of these issues are being addressed, and decisions made, with little input from those who actually know what they are talking about, and who are professionally schooled and experienced in these matters. Talk about scary.


We also need the total rewards association to play their part, even if it means proposing solutions counter to those offered by the current incumbents in the executive and legislative branches of government.


My first thought in entertaining the question of why HR professionals are 'notably more passive' in response to impending legislation is this:

Even though it really isn't true, an HR professional is frequently perceived as being an employee advocate. So, if an employee of a company sees his perceived advocate actively lobbying *against* legislation that is perceived to be pro-worker, it can create a real trust issue for that employee. "Yo! I thought you were on my side!"

We'll need to address that underlying issue before you'll see HR professionals rising up en masse to effect legislative change. One good way to start is to make sure we properly position ourselves with our employee bases so that their perception is, indeed, accurate and is thus not jolted too far when they see us take action.


Agreed - we do indeed need our representatives (those representing our profession, that is) playing their part.


Very, very interesting hypothesis and point - that we (as a profession) hesitate to take a stand as part of our effort to appear "balanced" in our loyalties. Which raises very, very interesting questions, including: "Should we be balanced - should we be advocates for employees or management .... or both, or neither? Thanks for adding an interesting element to the discussion.


As shown in yesterday's news, sometimes speaking out can be a very daunting task. Did you see the clips of the CNN reporter mistreating Tea Party protesters? Did you see the stream of vitriol coming from some of the TV networks about the Tea Party? It was a shame to see so many TV networks denigrating the 1,000s of US citizens exersizing their freedom of speech rights.

But hey, if we don't speak up, who will?

Here's how I handle the issue of balancing conflicting loyalties. When doing my employer's work, I speak my peace and try to influence decisions; but if I am over-ruled by top management, I'm paid to support the decision or leave. But on my own as a US citizen I am free to write or email my president, his administration, and my elected representatives in federal, state, and local government. I'm not always successful, but at least I can say that I made my voice heard.

Cara Welch just posted today on her WorldatWork blog that they will be developing a public policy toolkit to help members communicate with their elected officials. Great idea! Check out the blog at: http://www.worldatwork.org/waw/adimComment?id=32350#comments

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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