Volunteer Leaders Find ‘Pathway’ to New Certifications

By SHRM Online staff Dec 8, 2014
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Joyce Chastain, president and CEO of Chastain Consulting, is the first individual to achieve the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification.

The president of the HR Florida State Council was among 495 volunteer leaders who achieved one of the two new SHRM competency-based certifications—SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM-SCP. Sunshine Bartlett, PHR, HR administration manager for Golden Living, was the first individual to receive the SHRM-CP.

Ninety-six percent of qualified summit attendees received their certification by sitting for the freeTutorial Pathway at the 2014 SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit. By the end of the summit, 201 people had their SHRM-CP and 294 had their SHRM-SCP.

SHRM announced the new certifications in May 2014.

“Having our volunteer leaders be the very first [to be] certified as SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP demonstrates the evolution of HR and the steps we are taking to be relevant in order to meet the challenges facing today’s HR leaders,” said Elissa C. O’Brien, SHRM-SCP, vice president of membership at SHRM.

A free tutorial is available from Jan. 5-Dec. 31, 2015, to people who have an existing HR generalist certification or who will obtain certification by Jan. 31, 2015. Individuals are not required to surrender their existing credentials to obtain the new certification.

The pathway for obtaining the SHRM certification consists of documenting that one’s certification is current, signing the SHRM Code of Ethics and completing the online tutorial, which focuses on the behavioral competencies within the SHRM Competency Model, developed in 2011.

The scenario-based questions are followed by a choice of four actions; participants have to choose the most appropriate action based on the information provided, Chastain said. She will be eligible for SHRM-SCP recertification in three years.

Chastain has been working exclusively in HR for 30 years and has had her SPHR for more than 15 years. She said she found it surprising that she was the first volunteer leader to achieve the SHRM-SCP.

“I probably was the most vocal person on the planet” in criticizing how SHRM rolled out the new certification, saying SHRM did not ask for input from its volunteer leaders. The state council she leads is made up of 28 SHRM chapters with about 17,000 members.

“I never disagreed that it was necessary or that a certification should include situational responses as opposed to right/wrong, yes/no answers,” she said. She took the Tutorial Pathway, she explained, because “I wanted to share my support [for it] and I wanted to embrace it. I think now we just need to move forward.”

Tutorial Pathway participants receive a Competency Self-Portrait to use as a guide for future development.

Erin M. Stevens, PHR, SHRM-CP, who is a recruiter at Talis Group Inc., found the self-assessment “interesting,” she wrote in a blog post on Nov. 25, 2014:

“They had me choose statements of things I do or have done in my HR career,” wrote the president of the Southern Indiana SHRM chapter. “I’m pretty focused on just certain things and really had to pull from other experiences. ... For example, I scored highly on communication and employee relations. [The self-portrait] showed me where I lack in my ‘experience.’ Kind of intimidating, considering that most of my HR knowledge is from the book and not necessarily applied.”

The Tutorial Pathway is not the SHRM certification exam. Instead, the pathway is an educational program about the SHRM Competency Model. Individuals with the following HR generalist certifications are eligible to take the Tutorial Pathway: PHR, SPHR, GPHR, HRBP, HRMP, CHRP, SHRP, MCIPD, FCIPD and IPMA-CP. Certified professionals who successfully complete the tutorial are eligible for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification in three years.

For people who are not certified or do not sit for the tutorial, the exam for both certifications begins Jan. 5, 2015. The first testing window is May 1-July15, 2015. The 2015 SHRM Learning System was made available Nov. 20, 2014.

Four hundred forty-eight SHRM chapters and 49 state councils have signaled their support for the certification program, and 185 schools across the U.S. and 33 global organizations have signed on to deliver the programs in 2015, according to Henry G. “Hank” Jackson, SHRM president and CEO.

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