On the new SHRM competency based certification

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SHRM recently announced a new certification program for Human Resources.  This certification is in direct competition with HRCI.  The announcement by SHRM has caused a buzz in the HR world and has left many, including myself, wondering "what now?"

More information on the new SHRM Certification is slated to be released at the SHRM 2014 Annual Conference.  However, There is currently information available about the new SHRM Certification on the SHRM Website.  According to SHRM, the new certification is based on results of a study done by SHRM, and aims to create better global alignment in HR practices and ensure that Certified HR professionals are appropriately equipped to make an impact in the workplace.   The new SHRM is a competency based certification and will cover 9 areas of competency, which include :
  1. Human Resource Expertise
  2. Relationship Management
  3. Consultation
  4. Leadership and Navigation
  5. Communication
  6. Global and Cultural Effectiveness
  7. Ethical Practice
  8. Critical Evaluation
  9. Business Acumen
The SHRM competencies seem to cover important business areas as a HR professional, and not limited only to knowledge of HR practices.  Demonstrating understanding and having competencies in Relationship Management and Consultation are important areas for HR professionals to develop relationships, and work with managers to solve problems, or overcome departmental issues. 
According to SHRM, there will be 4 levels of certification, for different levels of experience in HR.  These areas are:
  1. Early Level
  2. Mid Level
  3. Senior Level
  4. Executive Level
The new certification will provide an opportunity for those without exempt level HR experience to demonstrate their knowledge and competency, in addition to providing upper level HR professionals with an opportunity to distinguish their level of competency based on the model. 

SHRM will be providing an opportunity for current HRCI Certified Professionals (PHR, SPHR, GPHR) to gain the appropriate SHRM certification by going through an online module in 2015.  The SHRM website states that over 30,000 HR professionals were surveyed in planning for this new certification.  SHRM states that “the new SHRM certification will become the new standard for HR professionals around the globe.”  The current certifications offered by HRCI have significant recognition, and there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new SHRM certification. 

The presentation of the new SHRM certification program had a sloppy delivery, with a lack of specifics to build confidence in this program.  The potential benefits were lost in the confusion of the initial announcement. SHRM has done well at providing supplementary details, but these details should have been pitched at the onset to build industry confidence in the certification. 

Through the switch from knowledge based certification to competency based certification, SHRM is making a bold move. It is this bold move that could transform industry certifications and change the way we look at business, or could prove to be ineffective.

The first SHRM certification exams are slated to be in May of 2015.  After that, only time will tell what impact this certification will have on HR professionals.
Connect with Benjamin Patient on LinkedIn.
  • Ricky Boykins on 6/27/2014 10:40:54 AM

    I support competency based models. However, my concerns are how will either cerification be viewed by the employer? Will one certification be favored over the other? Will HR Professionals view both equally? In my opinion, these are the most pressing questions that only time will tell.

  • Jack Dodd on 6/25/2014 11:38:06 AM

    I have been very outspoken about SHRM and their lack of communication. This new certification makes no sense. It will tend to "dilute" the certifications. The rollout was worse than bumpy. It was horrible. I believe that few new professionals will participate and that even when they get the new certification, employers will be like "never heard of it". SHRM needs to rethink this.

  • Tom Hobby on 6/25/2014 8:47:06 AM

    I was thinking about enrolling in the PHR Certification Course his fall but with this News should I wait and enroll in SHRM's program in 2015? Your thoughts.

  • Mary Millard on 6/20/2014 11:07:24 AM

    I for one am looking forward to the new certification. As someone with test anxiety taking a timed multiple choice test is nerve-wracking and have spent thousands to pass it. I would rather be given situational questions like SHRM will do like comprehensives. Kudos.

  • HRman on 6/18/2014 8:46:34 AM

    As a 30-year HR guy, I must say that I am still scratching my head - SHRM really came out from left field on this one! And then the explanation by them and their proposed model really don't make much sense to me. My bet is that most HR professionals will favor HRCI certification going forward.

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