SHRM Certification, It's Personal To Me

I wanted to share some additional thoughts on SHRM’s development of an HR certification based on competencies.

First, this is personal for me.  I am certified and have been for more than 15 years, and on January 1, 2015, I will be one of the first people to add the new SHRM certification to my list of credentials.

As Board Chair, let me briefly tell you why SHRM has moved forward with the development of this certification.

Research indicates that the current knowledge-based assessment is not responsive to the needs of the business community.  That’s what HR professionals and business leaders are saying.  What they say is needed is a more robust assessment tool to enhance performance and the standing of the HR profession.

The SHRM certification program is the first HR certification that is focused on teaching and testing the practical, real-life information HR professionals need to excel in their careers today, including knowledge, skills and competencies. 

A certification based on competencies will be good for the profession, good for SHRM members, and good for employers.

How do we know this?  Because for the past three years, we conducted a “criterion validation” study, which showed the positive correlation between the skills identified in the SHRM competency model and organizational performance. That’s the conclusion of studies by five major corporations and five major research universities, including Wal-Mart, Boeing, Verizon, AutoZone, Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Lisbon, and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

As I have said, in the rapidly changing business world, the differentiator for HR professionals will not be what you know, but what you can do with what you know.

SHRM has lead the profession in the development of a competency-based education model for the past several years, and certification…that includes these competencies…is a natural step forward.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to briefly mention our organization’s relationship with HRCI.

We have been discussing competency issues for years and during the last five months had extensive discussions with HRCI and repeatedly communicated our desire to move forward in the development of a certification that included competencies. 

Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear from HRCI actions that they did not intend to join SHRM in this effort.  The Board felt strongly that we could not delay this much needed project any longer.

So now we are moving forward in the certification program, which will include:

  • the new global Body of Competency and Knowledge;
  • a comprehensive exam;
  • world-class instructional materials; and
  • certification preparation tools you have come to expect from SHRM.

But I am a firm believer that this is the time when we have to move toward competency certification so that we, as HR professionals, can assume a greater leadership role, contributing to the strategic direction of our organizations. 

We can’t afford to wait.


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