That's Dedication!

Workshop attendees write exam items, build relationships (and snowmen)

By Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP Mar 11, 2016

An elite workshop to create new items for upcoming Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) certification exams carried on without incident early in the new year, even as a blizzard raged outside. Winter Storm Jonas came to the D.C. area at the same time a select group of HR professionals arrived to participate in the SHRM research event.

The item-writing workshop was held from Jan. 21 -25. An extensive review process produced the 50 participants from 12 nations, who were chosen from over 80,000 HR professionals, educators and business partners holding the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credentials to contribute their talents toward maintaining the new gold standard in HR certification.

The workshop was one of the most prolific item-writing efforts in the field, resulting in the creation of hundreds of items, based on the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge, for the exams. Teams of writers worked diligently to generate work and, more importantly, to build relationships.

The latter came naturally to participants during a memorable week that saw two feet of snow fall in D.C., as it did across many parts of the country. For some item writers from India, Malaysia and the Philippines, it was their first encounter with snow. For the frost-familiar, it was a wonderful diversion from the day's important tasks. As survivors of Jonas, their ties won't soon be broken.

Serving as a SHRM subject matter expert is one of the most desired roles in HR. Participation in SHRM research activities also earns participants professional development credits (PDCs) for recertification of their SHRM credentials. Judging from this winter's workshop experience, item writing is not just a job, it's an adventure!

For more information on how to become a SHRM item writer or how to participate in SHRM research, e-mail or

Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, is senior vice president of knowledge development at SHRM.


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