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The New SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge

Updated guidance for the HR profession and strategies for taking the SHRM certification exams

​The new SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge (SHRM BASK), which revises the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK), will go into effect in May 2022. Corresponding updates to the SHRM certification exams at both the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP levels go into effect for the May-July 2022 exam window. These changes demonstrate the evolution of not only the document and the exams of the SHRM certification program, but also of our expectations for the future of the HR profession.

  • Knowledge and behavior: Changing a profession's body of knowledge and behavioral competencies means new guidance as well as expectations for its professionals. The SHRM BASK focuses on practical applications even more than its predecessor did. As a practitioner, think about how you should be applying your knowledge, skills and abilities in specific situations, versus simply knowing the material. As a certification candidate studying for and then taking the exam, think about the "how" and the "what if" as you go through the questions and scenarios. 
  • 2022 and beyond: Research conducted by SHRM over the past three years provided the information to develop the SHRM BASK revisions. In turn, testing and professional expectations also evolved, focusing on real-world scenarios and the skills that the HR profession will need in future years. Review the SHRM BASK to guide your career evolution and growth as an HR professional. 
  • SHRM Learning System: The SHRM Learning System is designed to prepare test-takers for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. I have taught SHRM prep classes for many years and have relied on the SHRM Learning System as the blueprint for exam success. Along with group discussions, studies of scenarios, and lectures that focus on applied skills and knowledge, as described in the new SHRM BASK, they are all part of exam preparation. 
  • Practice makes improved: As with anything in life, success depends on practice, preparation, discipline and sacrifice. When preparing for SHRM certification, a successful exam strategy means using the SHRM Learning System, participating in study groups and taking prep classes. Focus on practice questions, practice scenarios and practice exams. Understanding the questions and how they should be answered is the key to thorough preparation. 

By providing us with A to Z guidance in our work as HR professionals, the new SHRM BASK will ensure that we have the knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful and effective throughout our careers. Our continued growth depends on continuing our education and development. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, review each area of knowledge one at a time, and stay confident. 

Matthew W. Burr, SHRM-SCP, owner of Burr Consulting LLC Elmira, N.Y., and co-owner of Labor Love LLC, is an HR consultant, an assistant professor at Elmira College, and an on-call mediator and fact-finder for the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. He holds master's degrees in business administration and in human resources & industrial relations, and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.


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