The New SHRM Designation: From SPHR to Human Resource Ninja

So, currently you have a PHR (Professional of Human Resources), or a SPHR (Senior Professional of Human Resources), or a GPHR (Global Professional of Human Resources) from HRCI.

Well, SHRM recently announced it was launching a new competency based program of certified HR professionals, and the one thing everyone wants to know is what are my new letters going to be!

Hello, my name is Tim Sackett, SPHR. But not for much longer. Soon I’ll acquiesce to the new SHRM certification because that’s what we do as HR Pros — we give in and take it.

I like having letters after my name. It makes me feel important, even though only HR people have any idea what they mean.

I proud to have letters behind my name

I’ve always known the letters were a little bit of a fraud. I got my SPHR without ever working in HR. I can say that now because the statue of limitations has run out on SHRM legally taking away my SPHR, plus, my SPHR is now worthless in the eyes of SHRM so they could care less about it!

In 2001, I accepted my first corporate HR gig after working at a recruiting agency for eight years. I sat for and received my SPHR without technically ever working in HR. However, I did have eight years of recruiting experience, which mostly consisted of sales.

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Either way, I felt proud to have letters behind my name. This is why I’m super excited when SHRM chose my little old blog to make such a super big announcement of their new designations!

Some new designations SHRM should consider

Here are the new SHRM Certification Designation letters (if they allowed me to choose them):

  • HRN – Human Resource Ninja. The HRN designation is for HR Pros who actually get something done, and you never have to hear about it. That shit just happened and nobody knows how it happened. That’s because it was done by an HR Ninja!
  • SHRN – Senior HR Ninja – Like the HRN, the SHRN gets stuff done without needing acknowledgement, but also without any notice gets rid of horribly performing employees and leaders so they never will be heard from or seen again. Yes, they’re cold HR killers. You need to get rid of an under-performing employee? Call a SHRN!
  • CHRR – Corporate HR Recruiter – The CHRR is a designation for those folks who work in corporate recruiting but don’t actually recruit, but they do a lot of stuff that sounds like recruiting but isn’t really recruiting, because, they don’t really want to recruit — they want to be in HR. Is that clear?
  • SCHRR – Senior Corporate HR Recruiter The SCHRR is not only savvy enough to not do any real recruiting, but they’ve made a career out of coming up with analytics to prove how good of a non-recruiter recruiter they really are. The SCHRR is also tech savvy enough to find programs that will endlessly post and pray, so now they can find ways to use Pinterest to not recruit great talent.
  • NHRBP – Not HR Business Partner – The NHRBP is someone who is so strategic and so business savvy, that they aren’t actually considered to be in HR any longer. A NHRBP can actually run your company. They know everything: Operations, Finance, Marketing, Sales, etc. Just don’t ever ask them to plan a picnic, organize your annual United Way drive, or send flowers to a grieving employee, because they don’t do that!
  • SNHRBP – Senior Not HR Business Partner – Or as we like to call it, “The CEO.” Moving forward, SHRM will now push so that every single CEO in the world gets their CNHRBP certification.
  • HRGP – HR Global Professional – The HRGP is like the current GPHR, but we moved the letters around. This is for those people who fell into HR and traveled overseas in either high school or college and decided they would rather live outside of the U.S. We don’t understand them either, but American companies like to feel like the people they send overseas to offend other countries have some insights, so here you go. No SHRGP will be offered because why.
  • Ph.DP – The Doctor of People – I had to do this one for my professor friends who teach HR – hello Matt Stollak and Marcus Stewart! The only way you can get this designation is by spending most of your life at a university and actually getting a Ph.D and teaching HR classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 10:30 am. I might actually go back to school because having a Ph.DP would be the coolest designation ever!

I can’t wait to use my SHRN designation! Thanks Hank!

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


7 Comments on “The New SHRM Designation: From SPHR to Human Resource Ninja

  1. LOL! Loved the line “my SPHR is now worthless in the eyes of SHRM” – I earned mine in 1994…

  2. So when I am officially designated a SHRN, that means I will then neither confirm nor deny the work that I do…or don’t do.

  3. You have hit upon some of the real problems with the Human Resources profession:
    1. HR people just love having initials after their name, that is why many of them take the cert exam. Little do they realize how much laughter that evokes from non-HR folks. In a similar vein, HR is always working to invent new titles for their jobs, perhaps to disguise what they really do. For example, I really do know someone who is “John Doe, BA, MSHR, SPHR, CCP, CSSBB, IPMA-HR, CSP”, Senior Talent Acquisition Development Specialist. You have to turn the card over to find out the name of the company. Everyone understood “recruiter”, now we have “talent acquisition” which would be a good title, if…you worked for American Idol.
    2. Not to belittle your SPHR (and mine), but the fact that you achieved that designation without ever working in HR shows the value of that designation. Paying for a cram course, for flash cards and a test review manual is how too many get their “accreditation”. Far too many of the certified HR people I meet are clueless about good HR practice.

  4. I have no confidence that the HRGP will be any better than the GPHR which is not a body of knowledge in any way, form or fashion. SHRM doesn’t even know what it means. Further proved by the fact that there will be no SHRGP —- not that this really matters because it would just be a higher level of nothing. Get my drift?

  5. “Soon I’ll acquiesce to the new SHRM certification because that’s what we do as HR Pros — we give in and take it.”

    This line speaks more about our profession than anything else.

    Good article, Tim.


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