The Society for Human Resource Management recently awarded its 100,000th certification.
“The SHRM certification exams unite the practical application of technical knowledge in conjunction with realistic HR experiences in a very strategic and focused manner,” said Shannon Mashburn, director of human resources at outsourcing firm Alcott HR. Mashburn holds a SHRM-SCP as well as an SPHR certificate from the Human Resource Certification Institute. Mashburn said SHRM certifications use technical skills in combination with “soft-skill” competencies.
“The goal is a well-rounded HR practitioner who has the knowledge, skills and abilities to master the day-to-day tactical operations while focusing on aligning an HR department’s goals and initiatives with their organization’s overall business plan,” said Mashburn.
Reaching the 100,000th certificant milestone two years after launching is a significant achievement to the HR profession, said Alex Alonso, senior vice president of knowledge development and certification at SHRM.
“It provides evidence that professionals and employers are turning to competency-based education and certification,” Alonso said.
“Those of us in an HR managerial role actively look for SHRM certification in applicants as a predictor of future success. Certification has become indicative of a future employee who is both self-motivated and invested in continuous learning,” said Mashburn.
HR consultant Atif Rahim Khan also has credentials from SHRM and HRCI. “The value of the SHRM certification is gaining local and international recognition in a xenocentric society,” he said.
Added Mashburn, “(HRCI’s) PHR/SPHR focus on a broad range of topics to ensure that exam participants learn each area of HR specialization.”
Alonso said SHRM’s programs were built upon an evidence base rooted in comprehensive research. “These credentials are designed as the cornerstone of a learning path for HR professionals through every phase of their career,” said Alonso.
Certified professionals are taught how to collaborate successfully in their own situations, according to Mashburn. “The course walks exam participants through a variety of core competencies such as leadership, business acumen and interpersonal skills,” said Mashburn. “Certification provided me with the skills to view organizational activities such as system software implementations with a global mindset.”
SHRM regularly seeks feedback from global HR professionals, industry experts and employers to maintain growth and relevancy of its certification exams. “I now get international volunteering opportunities with organizations like the Commonwealth Foundation and Deloitte,” said Khan. “I have found it easier to relate with international clients and partners.”
Mashburn said a challenge is finding the time required to learn the materials well enough to achieve certification. “Both the SHRM and HRCI exams are very difficult to pass,” she said.
Recertification prerequisites are also stringent. “HR professionals are required to plan accordingly so that a certain amount of time each year is spent gaining and demonstrating the ongoing professional development needed to obtain the annual credits,” said Mashburn.
The biggest challenge is the pressure to perform, she said. “Being certified means you are able to perform at that level of expertise,” said Mashburn. “Professional demands accompany the ability to be strategic and collaborative at all levels of the business.”
Mia Mancini is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.