Case Study: SHRM Certification Preparation Changing The Way Hormel Foods Develops HR Team

Sep 22, 2015


Hormel Foods Corporation is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of high-quality brand­ name food and meat products for consumers throughout the world.

With approximately 20,500 employees worldwide and a number of leading industry affiliations, Austin, Minnesota is home to the headquarters of Hormel Foods Corporation, along with the Research and Development division and flagship Austin plant. In all 50 states, Hormel Foods sells products through a direct sales force assigned to offices in major cities throughout the United States.


Move beyond specific task-based HR positions toward a generalist skill-set

The acquisition of two brands to the product line and a change in HR leadership spawned a new vision for the HR function: have a more well-rounded HR generalist in each location and in the many HR positions in the corporate office.

For Shawn Radford, Training System Supervisor at Hormel Foods, the challenge stems from how best to provide HR training that will broaden knowledge and develop a generalist view of HR. "Some of our HR professionals have been working in their roles for several years so their connection to other HR competencies is limited. In addition, ou r recent acquisitions have brought to light the need to truly understand HR beyond just performing tasks in siloed positions like Compensation. Our challenge is to have a core of HR professionals with a broad, generalist view of HR that can move between positions."


Offer the SHRM Learning System to prepare for the SHRM-SCPSM certification

To meet the needs of their HR team, Radford turned to SHRM. The 16 participants have been in Hormel Foods' HR positions for 5+ years and come from all facets of the corporate office - Recruiting, Compensation, HRIS, Learning & Development, HR services, as well as a few HR managers from plant locations ranging from low/mid-level positions to directors. They are all preparing for the SHRM-SCP certification exam using the SHRM Learning System self-study format with occasional group study sessions for people who have questions or need a set time to study.

"Our participants say they like the SHRM Learning System because the combination of ways to study­ print, online and mobile- makes it easier to learn. It fits everyone's learning style. There's a lot of information to work through but the program helps you identify the areas you need to study."


SHRM Learning System expands knowledge with sights set on the SHRM-SCP certification

At this point in the training and certification journey, all participants are satisfied and busy working toward their goal of taking the SHRM-SCP exam in the near future. The SHRM Learning System has inspired solid HR conversations.

Radford also notes, "There's a logical connection with the training. As a group, one of the things we do is debate the answer. Sometimes it's not at all how we do it here but that doesn't mean that it's wrong. It's valuable to know the difference between what we do as a company versus what the HR profession recommends."

"When our participants take the assessment to identify their challenge areas, study the materials and then get a better score on the post-test, that, to me, says the program is doing what it is set up to do - to help someone through the learning process. The checks and balances allow you to pinpoint the deficiencies and see improvement. That's why I think the SHRM Learning System is better than other HR training that's available."


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