The Top Nine People SHRM Hurt When It Said Goodbye to HRCI ...

If you're servicing a profession as an association, you might want to think before you try and take down an entire certification system.

May 16, 2014

"Honor's in the dollar, kid."

Seth Davis in "Boiler Room"

In case you missed it this week, SHRM's trying to make your PHR and SPHR worthless. Here's a nice rundown of the announcement from SHRM Members for Transparency, aka SMFT:

On Monday, May 12, SHRM announced that it will begin offering its own competency-based certification in mid-2015, after several years of work on its competency model, which was validated by over 30,000 HR professionals around the world. According to SHRM Board Chair Bette Francis, "SHRM has a responsibility to lead the profession toward a certification process that proves competencies." SHRM intends to "transition" those currently HRCI-certified to the new SHRM certification by letting them complete an online educational module and brief online test on HR competencies, followed by the initiation of a new three-year re-certification process. SHRM will also develop study materials for its own exam. 

No mention is made of any eligibility requirements for new examinees. HRCI is not referenced in any of the SHRM announcements tailored for various audiences.

On May 14, HRCI announced that SHRM's announcement would have no impact on any of HRCI's portfolio of certifications, and that HRCI intends to continue to develop and administer these certifications. HRCI also disavowed any involvement in the development of the SHRM competency-based certification."

It's like someone was at a SHRM board meeting and said, "Hey, why the hell are we giving 50 percent of our potential margin to HRCI for certification services? Why wouldn't we do our own thing and keep all the money?"

If you're running a business, that's the right question to ask and probably the right move. If you're servicing a profession as an association, you might want to think before you try and take down an entire certification system. Here's my early list of who SHRM has hurt with the change, but probably more specifically by not being ready to give more details when they decided to announce it:

1. The certified: You're a PHR/SPHR/GPHR, and you were happy with that credential. Are you going to be seamlessly transferred to a spot in the new SHRM certification world? No one really knows, but you'll be certified through competencies, not knowledge. So like you got that going for you (cough that sounded like you said "b.s.")

2. The people scheduled to take HRCI certifications in the near future: You have no clue what to do. Can't help you there. Did you already put money down? That sucks for sure.

3. The professionals who volunteer to teach HRCI/PHR/SPHR prep courses: Suckers. I was one of those once. Thanks for your investment of time and energy. SHRM will give you a call if they need you again.

4. Local and State SHRM chapters: You do HRCI credits for your workshops. You're going to have a sizable period, if not  the rest of your lives, where you have to deal with credits for both systems, assuming the SHRM system calls for recertification, and since there's money involved, why wouldn't it? Nobody asked you; why would they?

5. Conference organizers: See the above on re-certification credits. If local chapters of SHRM didn't have a chance to give input, what makes you think you deserved that opportunity?

6. HRCI: Duh. Like Fall Out Boy once said, "Thanks for the memories."

7. Any other partner that feels like they have a good relationship with SHRM: Because it's all about the dollar bills, folks. Only feel as secure as that statement can make you feel.

8. SHRM itself: They could have had a lot more questions answered when they announced this. Did someone leak it and they had to go before they were ready? I'm guessing that's true. That's what happens when you're trying to eliminate entire companies/organizations like HRCI.

9. The collective reputation of HR as viewed by the business world. So the SPHR is like the CPA? No wait, there's another family of letters? Really? You kids go ahead and sit at the small table. The adults will be talking over here.

If I'm running a business, I do what SHRM did this week a decade ago. But if I'm running an association, I'm not sure. I'd have the game plan ready to communicate when announced, and I'd take care of all the dues-paying members to a greater degree than they did with this one.

Honor's in the dollar, kid. SHRM's proving they believe that with this one.