‘State of the Society’ Looks at New Certification

By SHRM Online staff Nov 20, 2014
SHRM President and CEO Henry "Hank" Jackson gives the State of the Society address at the SHRM 2014 Volunteer Leader Summit.
Photo credit: Chris Williams
​​The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new competency-based HR certification program dominated the State of the Society address that Henry G. “Hank” Jackson, CPA, SHRM president and CEO, delivered at the Volunteer Leaders’ Summit on Nov. 20, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 900 SHRM members have gathered for the three-day, invitation-only event, formerly known as the Leadership Conference, which helps prepare individuals for their roles as volunteer leaders in their SHRM chapters and state councils.

“For years, you and business leaders have been asking us how we make HR more of a strategic business partner,” Jackson said.

He quoted from consulting firm Development Dimensions International and The Conference Board’s Global Leadership Forecast 2014/2015, which said “The skills and knowledge that got HR to where they are today probably won’t be relevant in the future. … The role of human capital management will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 30.”

In May 2014, SHRM announced that it was developing new certifications. The SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) are based on the SHRM Competency Model developed in 2011, which was validated by five research universities and more than 30,000 HR professionals worldwide.

The new certifications are the culmination of years of research and discussion that included “our longtime certification partner, HRCI,” Jackson said. HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and SHRM parted ways earlier this year.

“We knew the next evolution of certification should help HR professionals demonstrate that they had the knowledge, the skills and the behaviors needed to excel in their careers today as business leaders.”

That was followed in September 2014 with SHRM’s release of “an improved Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK), which reflects the modern and current HR skills like technology impact, business acumen, leadership and employee engagement,” Jackson said.

“The SHRM BoCK finally sets that new standard for HR that is fully aligned with business expectations.”

A pilot certification exam was conducted in October with more than 1,000 volunteer test-takers, and SHRM is “on track to administer the first exams in May of 2015,” Jackson said.

During the summit, volunteer leaders who currently hold a relevant HR certification will have an opportunity to earn the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP by sitting for the Tutorial Pathway, making them among the first HR professionals certified by SHRM. Beginning Jan. 5, HR professionals can apply to take the exams, with the first testing window set for May 1-July 15, 2015. The 2015 SHRM Learning System will be available beginning December 2014.

“It will be the most current, relevant and efficient certification process in the market,” Jackson said, and noted that 185 schools across the U.S. and 33 global organizations have signed on to deliver the programs in 2015.

Additionally, SHRM:

  • Established its Preferred Provider Program. This allows chapters and state councils to offer certification programs without preapproval from SHRM, as long as they are in good standing with SHRM.

  • Enhanced support for SHRM chapters and state councils that will be based on the number of SHRM-certified members they have at the end of 2015 and 2016 to “help bridge any revenue shortfalls as we launch the new certification.”

Jackson pointed to SHRM’s “Advancing HR” advertising campaign promoting the new certification, including a national TV commercial and an ad in USA Today. He and other SHRM leaders have visited SHRM chapters around the U.S., and nearly 400 chapters and state councils, he said, “have signaled their full support of this program.”

Volunteer leaders also learned that SHRM membership has grown to 282,000 individuals, representing more than 100,000 organizations. SHRM programs are being delivered in more than 30 countries and its global business is up 21 percent from this time last year, Jackson said.

“We expect to meet our goal of a 2 percent operating margin so we can continue to invest in you and our profession,” he added.

He praised the volunteer leaders for the partnerships they have forged with their local businesses and educational institutions, and for the innovative programs their chapters and state councils have created to prepare the next generation for the workplace, support veterans and help close the skills gap.

Peter Drucker, management consultant and author of 39 books, coined the term “human resources” 60 years ago, Jackson pointed out.

“This is a young profession,” he said. “It’s still growing, it’s still evolving.”

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