Ep 90 – What Workplace Issues Matter to the RNC & DNC?

workplace, politics, republican, democratic

You might be surprised to know that this year is an election year and that last week was the Republican National Convention. On Monday, 1.6 million tweets were sent by 449,000 people in the US about the first night of the RNC and 9,900 tweets were sent in one minute during Melania Trump’s infamous speech.

My social media streams have been full of memes, strong opinions and lots and lots of video, but what are the real HR and workplace issues that are being discussed at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions? That’s what we are here to talk about today.

Episode 90: What are the HR Issues of Importance for the Republican and Democratic Parties? with Lisa Horn (@SHRMLobbyistLisa)

Attending a national convention is for some a once in a lifetime opportunity. I know it’s on my bucket list. Lisa Horn from SHRM who is today’s Workology Podcast guest was in attendance at both the RNC and DNC.

I asked Lisa why an organization like SHRM would be at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. It seemed weird in my mind especially since SHRM doesn’t support either party. Lisa says attending the RNC and DNC is an opportunity for HR issues to be front and center among policy makers. These policymakers often call upon SHRM for expertise and input.

Lisa says people in attendance at both conventions are generally positive about HR, however, there is lots of misinformation about the role of HR and our impact in businesses. Attending the conventions leads to many different questions about what HR does, the issues that we care about, and what the impact issues like healthcare have on the workplace, for example. We, meaning SHRM members and HR practitioners are responsible for designing these plans and strategies.

What Workplace Issues Are Most Important in the Upcoming Presidential Election?

Social media banter, strong opinions and political PR nightmares aside, Lisa says that workplace issues were front and center at both conventions. The RNC had daily themes at the convention. The DNC was similar, with many workplace and HR issues being the topic of conversation among speakers, policy makers and attendees. For example, Elizabeth Warren spoke in great length during her speech about the gig economy (article link below).

Here are a handful of the topics that generated a lot of buzz and conversation at the conventions when it comes to HR and the workplace:

  • Equal Pay
  • Immigration
  • Workplace Flexibility
  • Healthcare (including the ACA)
  • Working Parent Issues (including leave, paid time off and work scheduling)

Lisa said there is a focus on the overall economy and its continued growth and  health in light of the recent May Job Report (resource link below). She says the presidential candidates are laying out their vision about how to continue to grow the economy. This will continue to be an issue on the campaign trail. HR and business leaders should continue to take note.

When it comes to the touchy topic of the Affordable Care Act or ACA, Lisa says the topic at the conventions wasn’t that the ACA was going to be repealed if Trump was elected, but that it would be revised. SHRM continues to work and push for the repeal of the ACA excise tax.

In this episode of the Workology Podcast, Lisa also discusses the conversations surrounding paid leave. She says Secretary Clinton has been really focused on this topic on the campaign trail. There have been lots of discussion among the presidential candidates and policy makers on paid sick leave mandates and paid FLSA. She says that Republicans have opposed those efforts. Legislation on these issues depends a lot on who is elected but we discussed the possibility of tax incentives and other programs speakers have mentioned. SHRM has actively been pursuing policy changes and updates. She says they are in support of providing additional regulatory relief for businesses when it comes to paid leave.

Interesting to note is that only a few policymakers actually have a background in human resources making SHRM’s presence at the Democratic and Republican conventions extremely important. There is a great deal of re-education happening around the role of HR in businesses, making sure leaders know that the work HR does goes beyond the stereotypical responsibilities of hiring and firing.

Connect with Lisa Horn on LinkedIn.



*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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