SHRM Certification Exams Grow in Global Popularity, CEO Says

'The state of our society is strong,' SHRM president and CEO tells Volunteer Leaders' Summit

By Kathy Gurchiek Nov 18, 2016

​SHRM President and CEO Henry G. "Hank" Jackson delivers the State of the Society address at the Society for Human Resource Management's 2016 Volunteer Leaers' Summit in Washington, D.C.

​Two years after the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) launched its certification program, the exams required to attain SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credentials are the most widely taken HR certification exams in the world, said Henry G. "Hank" Jackson, SHRM president and CEO, on Nov. 17.

Jackson's State of the Society address at the opening of SHRM's Volunteer Leaders' Summit in Washington, D.C., followed an announcement Nov. 15 that the SHRM certification exams have been accredited. Nearly 800 SHRM volunteer leaders are attending the summit, representing 571 affiliated SHRM chapters, 50 SHRM state councils and the SHRM Pacific State Council, which is made up of Guam and the Mariana Islands.

"This is a real big step for HR," Jackson said.

Fundamental to the two certifications is the SHRM Competency Model. In 2011, SHRM began years of extensive research to develop the model, which identifies eight key Behavioral Competencies—Ethical Practice, Leadership & Navigation, Business Acumen, Relationship Management, Communication, Consultation, Critical Evaluation, and Global & Cultural Effectiveness and one Technical Competency, HR Expertise (HR Knowledge) —that are the foundation of successful HR practice. The model is designed to advance the HR profession and hold HR professionals to the "highest standards of performance," Jackson told summit attendees.

The competency model also provides the framework for the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge, which certification exam item writers use to develop exam questions and individuals use to develop exam preparation materials. This fall SHRM updated the SHRM BoCK—"because HR competencies evolve just as business evolves"—and will give volunteer leaders a preview during the summit before releasing it to the public in December, Jackson said.

"The SHRM Competency Model is now our road map, our GPS—allowing us to navigate our organizations through a rapidly changing world—and certification is our vehicle," he said.

More than 96,000 HR professionals were SHRM-certified as of September 2016. Certification exam applications were up by nearly one-third over 2015, "making the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP the fastest-growing HR certification," Jackson said, adding that more employers are asking for SHRM-certified professionals in their HR job ads. He encouraged attendees to become certified and maintain their certification.

"Certification is a journey that includes recertification, and recertification is really how our profession continues to adapt and grow, so we are counting on you to continue playing your important role in this process," Jackson said.

That is why, he added, SHRM will be providing enhanced financial support for chapters and state councils based on the number of their members who recertify for SHRM certification in 2016. For each of their members who recertify, chapters will receive $20 and state councils will receive $10.

Today, there are more than 37,000 competency-based educational offerings available through SHRM and its network of 1,800 providers, he told attendees.

Also ranking high on SHRM's list of accomplishments for 2016  are SHRM's continual advocacy efforts before Congress on behalf of HR professionals and their organizations. Members of Congress and the Executive Branch requested SHRM's input on policy issues more than 110 times this year. Key among those issues is the revised overtime rule.

"SHRM is supportive of an increase in the salary threshold, but the new overtime rule was simply too far and too fast," Jackson said. "So we have worked with members of Congress to introduce bills that will phase in the new salary threshold more gradually and eliminate the automatic indexing."

SHRM hopes a new version of the legislation will be included in the end-of-the-year spending bill, he added.

Jackson thanked SHRM members for their advocacy efforts, which included members of SHRM's Advocacy Team sending their elected representatives more than 2,600 letters supporting a bill that would reform the new overtime rule.

"You will be the ones on the front lines of implementing the new regulations and legislation that come from Washington," he told them.

"Whatever the outcome of our advocacy efforts, I want you to know that SHRM will remain at your side as you work to implement these new overtime changes."

[SHRM members-only resource: Overtime Policy 2]

"The state of our society is strong and getting stronger," Jackson said. He shared the following accomplishments:

  • SHRM membership has grown to 289,000, and members represent more than 70,000 organizations.
  • Student membership has grown to 23,000.
  • SHRM has made strides in building its executive HR network through HR People + Strategy (HRPS) initiatives. SHRM now has more than 1,100 executive members—up 150 percent since SHRM's affiliation with HRPS began.
  • SHRM products and services are delivered by a network of partner organizations in 65 countries.
  • The Council for Global Immigration, a SHRM affiliate, has served as an ambassador for SHRM at international business meetings such as the B20 and the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
  • Global revenue is up 10 percent over 2015.
  • Revenue grew 4 percent in 2016.
  • The SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition drew 15,000 HR professionals.

Finally, Jackson singled out the SHRM Foundation, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, "as a catalyst for HR thought leadership"; SHRM Research for its work during 2016, including the 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report; and a new and improved SHRM website that launched in July.

The website is now easier to personalize and search, and it features more content on talent acquisition, enhancements to the Volunteer Leaders' Resource Center and improvements to SHRM Connect, he noted.

Jackson thanked the volunteer leaders for their efforts in raising the profile of the HR profession and cultivating the next generation of HR leaders. 

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