SHRM Competency Model
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SHRM Competency Model

About the SHRM Competency Model

In keeping with SHRM’s mission of serving and advancing the HR profession, SHRM developed the SHRM Competency Model to:

1) Support HR practitioners in their career and professional development.
2) Help organizations build approaches to identifying and cultivating high-quality HR leaders, individual contributors and teams. 

The competency model and the resources developed based on the model:

  • Identify what it means to be a successful HR professional—across the performance continuum, around the globe, from Early to Executive career level.
  • Provide the foundation for talent management throughout the HR lifecycle.
  • Help organizations ensure that HR professionals have proficiency in the critical competencies necessary to solve today’s most pressing people issues and deliver highly effective HR strategies. 

Click here to download a detailed copy of the complete model (PDF).

The model is comprised of nine competencies organized into four competency clusters:  Technical, Interpersonal, Business, and Leadership.  Each of these competency clusters is composed of one to three competencies as follows:

  • Technical Competencies—HR Expertise (HR Knowledge)
  • Interpersonal Competencies—Relationship Management, Communication, and Global & Cultural Effectiveness
  • Business Competencies—Business Acumen, Critical Evaluation, and Consultation
  • Leadership Competencies—Leadership & Navigation and Ethical Practice

The Technical competency cluster includes the technical knowledge needed for proper application of the behavioral competencies. The Interpersonal, Business and Leadership competency clusters each reflect behavioral competencies important for effective job performance.  Click here to view and download a large graphic of the 9 Competencies of the SHRM Competency Model (PDF).

As a whole, the model identifies the foundational competencies HR professionals need for success:

  • at the Early, Mid, Senior, and Executive levels of experience and responsibility;
  • in small, medium, and large sized organizations;
  • in private, public, non-profit, and not-for-profit sectors; and
  • in organizations with multinational and domestic operations.

The SHRM competency model is founded on extensive research, including:

  • A content validation study to show that that the content of the competency model represents what is required for successful performance across the HR profession.  For more information see SHRM Competency Model Content Validation Study Report (PDF).
  • A series of large-scale multi-organizational criterion validation studies to gather data showing whether HR professionals’ proficiencies in the competencies are closely linked to successful job performance.  For more information see SHRM Competency Model Criterion Validation Study Report (PDF).

In 2015, SHRM published a book about the SHRM Competency Model and its development titled Defining HR Success: 9 Critical Competencies for HR Professionals, available through the SHRM Store.


New Competencies Research Findings

Using Competencies to Achieve Business Unit Success: The Executive Perspective

SHRM surveyed executives of business units other than HR (e.g., CEO, CFO, Vice President) to learn more about their views of what it takes for leaders to be successful across HR departments and different functional areas such as finance and accounting, sales and marketing, and IT. Specifically, this report focuses on the competencies needed now and in the future, including Business Acumen, Communication, Consultation, Critical Evaluation, Ethical Practice, Global and Cultural Effectiveness, Human Resource Expertise, Leadership and Navigation, and Relationship Management. The report also looks at which competencies are lacking in the labor pools of candidates for HR and other business units, and how to address those competency gaps.

View the Full Survey Findings (PDF)