Does Getting an SPHR Really Matter?

Anybody who has spent much time in or around HR knows this to be a fact: a tremendous amount of time and personal effort goes into getting (and keeping) human resource certifications.

Gerry Ledford got into this a few weeks ago here at TLNT in his article Do Professional HR Certifications Really Help Job Seekers?, and he did a pretty good job of digging into the ambivalence that so many have about the certification process.

Well, good things seem to come in pairs, because now Laurie Ruettimann — HR pro and author of The Cynical Girl blog — has weighed in on HR certifications as well. And as usual with Laurie, she cuts to the heart of the matter when she asks, What the Hell is an SPHR?:

I’ll tell you what — HRCI does God’s work in trying to define and promote a standard for Human Resources professionals. And I’ll tell you something else. I’ve had failing HR Generalists turn their performance around because I made them study for and take the certification exam. These men and women learned more about their profession through the process of studying for the exam. They became smarter people. I’m proud of that.

But do I really think that the HR certification means anything special? Do I really think it’s required to do business in the field of Human Capital?

No way.”

You need to go read Laurie’s full post over on The Cynical Girl blog to get her full take on WHY HR certifications aren’t the be all and end all for human resources professionals, but like most everything Laurie comments on, it’s frank, honest and pulls no punches.

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And by the way, both Laurie Ruettimann and Gerry Ledford will be presenters at the first ever TLNT Transform conference in Austin, Texas later this month (Feb. 26-28).

Gerry will be talking about employee engagement (always a great topic) and Laurie will be part of a panel discussion of social media in the workplace, but they are just two of the great speakers who will be there. Go here to sign up for the conference, and use discount code TF12TLNT to get an additional $250 off. (And, you can pick up some HRCI credits as well!)

 For the rest of Laurie Ruettiman’s post on What the Hell is an SPHR?, click here. 

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


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