The SHRM Certification Flap: How to Fail Communications 101

123RF Stock Photo
123RF Stock Photo

As an SPHR (certified senior human resources professional), I should be worked up about the Society of Human Resource Management’s recent announcement that they are pursuing their own certification.

It was a public serving of divorce papers. HRCI (HR Certification Institute) has for 37 years had a close relationship (they share the same headquarters building– awkward!) and administered SHRM’s HR certification exams. This apparently came as a surprise to HRCI, though SHRM said they had been in discussion for some time.

Snooze.

Hard to get worked up over HR certifications

I can’t, for some reason, muster much more than mild curiosity. The test was hard, and I studied a lot for it. It involved a lot of Supreme Court decisions, OSHA regulations, union rules and other things that were interesting, but had no relevance to my job.

HRCII’m not saying they have no relevance to anyone’s job – just not mine. I still think as an HR professional I should have the background to at least know when to look something up, and so I feel at least prepared for that.

I’m also not worried about the continuation of my credentials, and I’ll see what SHRM is adding with “behavioral competencies.” I’m guessing. as a person with 20 years of experience, it still just reflects that I can study a bunch and contort myself into the mind of the test writer.

Real world relevance? Maybe in a pinch.

What does this say about the need for HR communications?

What does concern me is I remember a significant portion of the SPHR exam had to do with effective communication and stakeholder management. In fact, the word “communication” appears no fewer than eight (8) times in the SPHR body of knowledge standards.Shrm_logo

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Now as a consultant and HR professional, that IS what I do every single day, and I would argue is the single-most important skill in my job.

Hmmm. SHRM announces its own certification and surprises/confuses its current provider and certification holders in the process?

Sounds like SHRM might want to review effective communication and stakeholder management before the test.

This was originally published on PeopleResult’s Current blog.

Barbara Milhizer, CCP, SPHR is a partner at PeopleResults, a human capital consultancy focusing on change, organization, talent and communications/new media. Barbara’s background includes over 15 years of HR with key leadership roles in rewards & recognition and talent strategy at both Accenture and PeopleResults. Contact her at bmilhizer@people-results.com.

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4 Comments on “The SHRM Certification Flap: How to Fail Communications 101

  1. Great take on this break-up. Back to the basics of long-term success – Communications & Relationships.

  2. Good post, Barbara, and important lesson on “practice what you preach” when you want to maintain credibility.

  3. This is one of those things that make you go, “Hmmmm” – or better yet – “Really??”. Credibility is definitely an issue here. Plus, I studied hard for that exam and I pay way too much to maintain the credits for them to mess it up now.

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