Prepare for the 'What Ifs' by Maintaining Your Credential

Keeping up with recertification keeps you up-to-date, which helps you in your everyday work

By Rena Gorlin Jul 13, 2017
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​Raquel Morales, SHRM-CP

​Raquel Morales, SHRM-CP, assistant vice president and HR employee relations officer at Center State Bank in Delray Beach, Fla., knows that more than a few SHRM-certified colleagues are feeling overwhelmed by the need to earn 60 professional development credits (PDCs) within a three-year period to maintain their credentials. After all, Morales says, this recertification requirement is "in addition to our daily work responsibilities, which don't change." She attributes her admittedly unusual ease at keeping up with her PDCs to a talent for planning, working and studying independently. Another big plus? "I love what I do," she says. 

To take some pressure off the push for PDCs, Morales advises fellow SHRM credential-holders to "do something every month. Take courses. Network. Don't wait until the last minute to obtain credits." 

Maintaining a regular pace for development activities has practical benefits for more than certification, she adds: "You'll stay up-to-date on all of the trends and hot topics in the HR field, which helps you in your job. There are lots of 'what if's' out there that HR professionals need to know about." The work of recertifying pays off at work, in other words. 

Apply Yourself to the Job of Recertifying 

Morales finds the pursuit of PDCs not unlike other educational experiences, wherein understanding comes from simply putting one's nose to the grindstone, doing whatever's necessary to absorb information and turn it into knowledge. "When I say recertification is easy, I mean, 'apply yourself,' " she says, taking to heart the responsibility of lifelong learning. 

Morales is maintaining her SHRM-CP credential by attending local SHRM workshops, online and in-person seminars, and meetings and presentations offered by other businesses. She tends to focus on activities that address the Communication, Relationship Management and Consultation competencies and various aspects of HR Expertise. She also goes to conferences, and at the 2016 annual meeting of the HR Association of Broward County, her local chapter, she served as a volunteer. 

Leading a work project is another good way to garner PDCs, and Morales has led several. She has facilitated and participated in merger and acquisition meetings, served as the HR strategic partner on an internship committee and is currently spearheading a project to train all managers in behavior-based interviewing techniques. She regularly provides input and advice to co-workers at every level on hiring, employee development and career pathing. 

SHRM Credential Adds to Credibility 

Having the ear of her colleagues is important to Morales, and having her SHRM credential has made a difference. She has 15 years of management experience and was a 2010 summa cum laude graduate with a bachelor's degree in organizational and human resource management. But since obtaining her SHRM-CP last year, she has felt "more credible, more responsible." She says SHRM certification "validated what I already knew." 

"My SHRM credential has provided me with a platform and a voice at important meetings, and the opportunity to share my feedback regarding imminent changes within the organization," Morales says. "It has proven to the leadership team that I have a vested interest, not only in myself but in our HR group." 

One surprising result of becoming SHRM-certified, she says, is that her colleagues now regard her as a representative of the HR profession as a whole. "They know they can get from me what HR can do for them." 

That suits Morales, who is "passionate about the development of people and doing the right thing by them as well as by the organization." Keeping up with recertification, then, is indeed easy for her, because she loves what she does: "I love the HR investment in people." 

Have a plan for keeping your SHRM-CP / SHRM-SCP certification? Start planning today.

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

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