Valuing My Connection to the SHRM-CP Community


By Sijia Bu, M.A., SHRM-CP September 13, 2018

​Professors and colleagues always cited SHRM as a trustworthy and resourceful HR community, so when I decided to become a certified practitioner, I chose to take the SHRM-CP exam. Now that I am a credential-holder, people from the U.S. and other countries see those letters after my name and admire my achievement. For me, the true value of SHRM certification is finding myself in a larger community and the sense of belonging.

Preparing for the SHRM-CP exam took me back to my time in graduate school, when I was also reading, doing research and sharing views with other students. The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge was a well-developed structure within which I could holistically strengthen my academic HR knowledge, as well as apply that knowledge to real-world client cases. Often during my exam prep, I found inspiring answers to client issues.

Support in My Career as a Consultant

I continue to find the SHRM competencies helpful in my work as a young professional in a big consulting firm in China. More company management teams are accepting the competency concept, which in turn (and more importantly) inspires HR practitioners to adopt the right skill sets for facing new challenges. Technical competencies are required by the job, but behavioral competencies enable HR professionals to become true business partners and create value for the organization.

The Business Acumen competency, for example, echoed recently throughout a client project involving HR transformation. My team facilitated a shift in mindset from responding to business requests to proactively thinking about business needs and providing services that deliver people-oriented value. That mindset shift was supported by my ability to understand the organization's strategy, operations and external environments, the essence of business acumen.

With my SHRM-CP credential, I have gained the trust of clients looking for a consultant with global insights and a solid understanding of people and organizations. My proficiency in HR knowledge areas and the Global & Cultural Effectiveness competency played a role in another recent project for a client that wanted to improve its employee experience across several geographic regions. I was able to help raise the client's awareness of the cultural and mindset differences between its regional leaders (who were mostly from the West) and local staff (who were located in countries across Asia that had quite different cultures and religions, despite being neighbors). The client was then able to place further emphasis on diversity in assessing the project's current status and in planning appropriate initiatives. 

Recertification and Enriching HR Knowledge

Study never ends, even after one passes the certification exam.

I use my free time, usually while traveling to and from the office or clients' offices, to read SHRM's HR Magazine and newsletters and catch up with popular topics across industries. I also learn from the stories of other SHRM credential-holders to see how I might further elevate my career. At work, the SHRM website is the first resource I go to for insights and practice aids and what I recommend to colleagues and clients. The SHRM Connect online community is where HR peers discuss real issues we encounter daily, express diverse ideas and debate possible solutions. I find the conversations inspiring, as they expose me to cases in the corporate world—a perfect supplement to my work in the consultancy world.

It was most exciting to be invited to join in SHRM-CP test-development activities and to work virtually with a diverse team. Since 2017 I have participated in several rounds of technical review, content validation, bias and cultural sensitivity review, and other important activities, which help to maintain a consistent and high standard for upcoming tests. Completing my assignments and submitting them on time are part of my commitment to HR professionalism.

When I lived in the Washington, D.C., area, I saw the SHRM headquarters building in nearby Alexandria, Va., as a symbol of knowledge. Now, as a SHRM member living on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, each WebEx meeting is a great opportunity for me to feel more connected to the larger community of SHRM-CP credential-holders.

Sijia Bu, SHRM-CP, is senior consulting associate, people and organization consulting, at PwC Management Consulting Limited in Shanghai, China.


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