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SHRM Specialty Credentials Evolve with New Talent Development Program

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​SHRM's Education Team is adding a new program offering to the specialty credential library later this year—the Talent Development Specialty Credential (TDSC). Here's how the program is being designed and the benefits that earning this specialty credential will bring to your organization.

The TDSC is a redesign of SHRM's Learning and Development (L&D) program. Instead of redesigning the live L&D program, discussions with stakeholders indicated that the program should be upgraded to a specialty credential. The focus of the specialty credential is on talent development (TD) with some key concepts of L&D, talent management and career management.

L&D focuses on what the learner wants and needs, the needs of the organization and recruiting top talent. TD refers to efforts to build upon employees' existing skills to meet organizational objectives and to ensure succession planning roles are filled with the right people. It is the process of identifying new skills (via upskilling and reskilling) and opportunities to help achieve organizational goals, and it is the key function that ensures organizations have the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. While TD focuses on internal development to fill roles and meet organizational objectives, creating a brand and a culture of continuous learning and development to entice candidates are also important to include in this specialty credential.

The TDSC will help organizations meet their strategic objectives, engage employees, entice candidates, create a high-performing workforce and ensure smooth leadership transitions. As the title of this article suggests, we're breaking out of our norm with the TDSC and taking calculated risks with highly innovative hybrid design concepts and deployment tools.

There has been a standard approach to the design and development of a specialty credential that has worked well over the years. However, for this new TDSC program, we will push the envelope to appeal to early-career HR professionals and to bring a more innovative approach to our design using the latest technologies for synchronous and asynchronous learning.

The synchronous, or live, portion of the TDSC will be divided into three sessions. Each session will include an introduction and content review, a midpoint check-in, and a capstone presentation, feedback and conclusion session. The live portion will be a total of 15 learning hours for which SHRM-CPs and SHRM-SCPs will earn PDCs toward recertification. The first session will be seven hours long, the check-in will be two hours long, and the final session will be six hours long. There is additional information below that talks about how to expand the number of learning hours and PDCs earned to 22 by completing additional learning components required to earn the TDSC.

A few key items to know as you consider adding this new program to your learning plans:

  • Any learner, member or nonmember, who wants to take the content-only portion of the live program can do so and earn 7 PDCs. With this option, the program essentially becomes a one-day course.
  • The initial session and the capstone assessment presentation and feedback session will be delivered both virtually and in-person, but the check-in session will be virtual only.
  • Minimal slides with comprehensive instructor notes, a participant guide and train-the-trainer components will be included. We envision co-facilitation for the live program. Given that this is an innovative design and delivery of content, a train-the-trainer guide and a live train-the-trainer session with instructors will be conducted and include the instructional designer, a learning management system specialist and a specialist from the program's team. 

Additional Participant Requirements

To earn the TDSC, participants will also be required to complete an additional seven hours of asynchronous learning from the list below. This seven hours plus the 15 live program hours discussed above equals 22 hours/PDCs for the entire specialty credential.

  • SHRM leadership video on talent development—30 minutes.
  • Main podcast—30 minutes.
    • Experts in leadership training and coaching will participate in the podcast. The concept for the podcast is training leaders.
  • eLearning modules—1.5 hours.
    • Assessing skills and abilities.
    • Creating development plans (entry, midlevel and senior level).
    • Succession planning.
  • Micro learning groupings—30 minutes.
    • Trends/Landscape.
    • The TD model.
    • Animated hyper story gamification.
  • Capstone Activity—4 hours. 

Capstone Activity and Presentation as a Final Assessment

The capstone activity and presentation requirement will be introduced in the first live session and participants will submit their capstone write-up before the last live session. The goal is to have instructors review the capstone write-up before the last live session to provide optimal feedback and coaching during the capstone session.


We will create at least three scenarios about various fictional organizations that require participants to analyze the scenario and then take action steps to resolve the issues. Participants will choose one, complete the analysis, formulate resolutions and present their findings.

The three outcome choices will be:

  1. Develop a comprehensive succession plan.
  2. Conduct a skills gap analysis.
  3. Develop a strategic plan to create a culture of continuous learning and development. 

Learning objectives for each capstone will include:

  • Analyze the scenario and identify the issues that need to be resolved.
  • Select the appropriate plan and processes for solving the issues.
  • Create the plan and supporting documentation.
  • Present and defend your findings during the capstone presentation. 

We look forward to developing this new specialty credential and implementing these innovative approaches. Most of all, we want to guarantee that participants walk away with the knowledge to build successful TD programs in their organizations. Make plans now to add this program to your L&D journey.

Ann Godmere is SHRM's senior instructional designer.


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