#Nextchat: Certify This! The Role of Competency-Based Certification in HR



Success in the HR profession is no longer only about what you know; it is also about how you effectively implement that knowledge in the workplace every day. There is now an increased emphasis on HR competencies as a means to increase the HR profession’s effectiveness.

The profession is changing and growing more rapidly than ever before. Organizations are now demanding greater creativity and productivity from their HR teams, and this will require HR professionals to possess specific competencies to support the desired results.

The growth of the global marketplace and a diverse, multigenerational workforce has created additional challenges for HR professionals seeking to sustain a competitive talent advantage in their organizations.

What’s in a Competency?

A competency is a cluster of highly interrelated attributes, including knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), that give rise to the behaviors needed to perform a job effectively. A competency model is a set of competencies that collectively define the requirements for effective performance in a specific job, profession or organization, such as HR.

The Society for Human Resource Management defines competencies as either technical or behavioral and says that “technical competencies reflect the knowledge required to perform a specific role,” while “behavioral competencies describe the KSAs that facilitate the application of technical knowledge to job-related behavior.” In other words, technical competencies reflect the knowledge HR professionals apply to their jobs, and behavioral competencies reflect how HR professionals apply this knowledge.

In his SHRM Online article Certify This! The Role of Competency-Based Certification in HR, Alexander Alonso stresses the importance of competency-based certification for HR professionals:

“For years, HR professionals have been told that we are not part of the business family. This assertion is all wrong, and a close examination of competencies across various business disciplines, including HR, illustrates their connective tissue. The DNA of HR professionals is only distinct from other disciplines in its technical genome and the relative importance of key behavioral elements. The evidence base suggests HR professionals are not developed and certified the same way other professionals are.

The time for change is now as advancements in measurement, testing and performance appraisal make selecting, training and certifying HR professionals on more than technical knowledge a reality. Only selection instruments, performance management tools, training programs and certifications using a dual-emphasis competency-based approach will succeed in elevating the HR profession. Organizational success is depending on it.”

To function effectively, HR professionals must master specific concepts and competencies and be able to apply that knowledge to specific business situations and settings.

The future of HR is here, and earning your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential, based on the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK™), makes you a recognized expert and leader in the HR field and a valuable asset to your organization—keeping you and your organization competitive in today's economy. This professional distinction sets you apart from your colleagues, proving your high level of knowledge and skills.

How do you view the role of competencies in HR? How will they define and direct the success of HR professionals?

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on July 31 for #Nextchat with special guest Alex Alonso (@SHRM_CKO), SHRM chief knowledge officer, researcher, credentialing expert and author of The Price of Pettiness. We’ll discuss the importance of building a competent HR profession.


Q1. Which behavioral competencies do you increasingly rely on as an HR professional in 2019?  

  • Leadership Navigation
  • Business Acumen
  • Ethical Practice
  • Relationship Management
  • Consultation
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Global & Cultural Effectiveness
  • Communication

Q2. What competencies are necessary for HR pros to function effectively as strategic business partners?

Q3. What are some examples of relationships between specific competencies and the particular responsibilities of HR professionals?

Q4. Does an HR professional’s years of experience in HR or education affect his or her competency? How?

Q5. In the HR profession, where are the largest gaps in the competencies needed to be effective strategic business partners?

Q6. What new competencies will be required to fulfill the new and changing roles and responsibilities of the HR profession?

Q7. How has SHRM certification helped you advance your career?

Q8. What are your best tips for studying for the SHRM certification exam? What resources were most helpful?


How to participate in an HR Twitter chat.





The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: