SHRM Certification Holders to Get Digital Badges

By Kathy Gurchiek July 6, 2015

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) will begin issuing digital badges in July 2015 to those who hold SHRM certification. The badges will allow SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recipients to post their digital badge on social media sites such as LinkedIn and in e-mail and digital resumes.

Digital badging is “a topic of interest to all HR professionals, since it offers a way to verify credentials electronically,” said Heidi Byerly, vice president of certification services for SHRM.

Digital badging is important to the HR profession, she added, because “it allows for instant credential verification without having to chase down references.”

An October 2013 Training Industry article by Tracey M. Flynn, a teacher of instructional design at the Graduate School of Education for the University of Massachusetts, called digital badging “the next generation certification.”

“The world we live and work in drives the need for knowledge workers and an innovation economy,” Flynn wrote. “As advancements in technology have changed so, too, have assessment types, and digital badging is a further extension of assessment type.”

The badges also provide a connection to the issuing organization, which can validate their issue and “an emerging, consistent standard regarding what constitutes a badge,” according to a research report from the American Institutes for Research, The Potential and value of Using Digital Badges for Adult Learners.

SHRM is partnering with BadgeCert, which uses a cloud-based platform, to administer the digital badges. The difference between a digital badge and just an icon, said Ginger Malin, Ph.D., founder and executive vice president of BadgeCert, is that information may be pulled up in real time from a digital badge. Information on the SHRM digital badge contains metadata about who issued it, the issue date and expiration date.

“That information is current,” Malin said. “It mitigates the risk of somebody saying they’re certified when they’re not ... it just isn’t an icon.” With digital badging, she noted, “you can’t issue yourself a badge.”

She thinks badge-holders like the digital aspect of sharing their credentials.

“They want to have something that’s really tangible in a digital way,” she said. “We find that retention and things like that are higher when you recognize your talent in a more meaningful way.”

Additionally, the availability of analytics is a plus for organizations that offer digital badging, Malin noted. “We know h​ow often people are clicking on the badges—the eyeballs on your brand, we can track that,” she said.

SHRM certification recipients will receive a letter of congratulations that includes information about the digital badge, offered at no additional charge, as well as a printed certificate. Once a badge expires (for example, when someone does not recertify), it’s no longer able to be shared. SHRM will begin sending re-certification reminders about a year from the expiration date, Byerly said.

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News.


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