Accreditation Made the Difference for Consultant

Which organization’s HR credential to pursue? The answer became clear

By Rena Gorlin, J.D. Feb 7, 2017
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Zainab Adio-Saka

​"I've prolonged the decision to obtain my HR certification for a while," said Zainab Adio-Saka, president and CEO of Z.A.S. Consulting Inc. in Chicago. With a master's degree in HR and extensive practical experience gleaned over the past 14 years, Adio-Saka is well aware of the importance of earning a professional credential. 

She started her own business 18 months ago and began pursuing and serving her clients but made time to attend preparatory classes for two different HR certifications. Still, she hadn't made up her mind about which certification exam to take: "I just never got to it. Now it's an easy decision to move forward with SHRM certification, once I found out that the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are accredited."

Adio-Saka became aware of the new credentialing program, launched in 2015, from SHRM member mailings. "I was curious. I believe in progress! But I knew I wouldn't take both certification exams," she said. "My instinct was to go with certification [from a] well-known organization. I want to invest my time in something that would be worth it."

The news that the SHRM credentials achieved accreditation made a difference. "It's a confirmation of respect, like going to a good university," she said. "You want to know that your degree will be respected, known and noted." Professional certification is comparable, she said. Accreditation means that one's qualifications aren't questioned. "SHRM is highly respected in the industry—a class act."

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The certification preparation that she received through the SHRM Learning System and virtual classes has already paid off for her, she said. "The classes were totally engaging. Training was very hands-on, realistic. SHRM teaches you what's really going on around you. The Body of Competency and Knowledge resonates with clients, especially as to everyday strategic planning," Adio-Saka said. "What I learned helped me set up and develop some parts of my business, especially [pertaining to] understanding the needs of clients. It's different being a business owner versus working for another organization, even if it's as the head of the HR department, as I most recently was." (Before starting her consultancy, she was the HR manager at a construction company.)

Adio-Saka plans to take the SHRM certification exam in May 2017 and will use practice exams to prepare on her own until then. Her colleagues' experiences have further convinced her that she is taking the right path. "One of my mentors earned her SHRM certification, which said a lot to me. She encouraged me to go after it, too." And a former co-worker decided to take the SHRM exam instead of the one he had originally planned on taking, telling Adio-Saka that "it made more sense." He passed, and then got a new position as a manager. "I have to think that SHRM certification helped," she said.

Rena Gorlin, J.D., is an freelance writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

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