Full credit for this article belongs to Blogging4jobs.com  This blog is part of a special series providing insights into HR certification. Look for a follow up article discussing HR certification options for our profession. Click here to be directed to another article providing a varying point of view. 

In the HR profession, one of the most talked about, debated about and argued about topics over the last couple of years has been the topic of HR Certification. Since SHRM has announced their competency based certification in 2014, lines have been drawn and caused an (in my opinion) unnecessary furor.


In order to fully understand the whole hubbub, I think we need to look at the history of the topic. In the late 1960’s, SHRM (then known as the American Society of Personnel Administrators) along with Cornell University, set out to define what the HR profession was. Over the period of two years, they  came up with 5 characteristics to define the profession:

  • The profession must be full time.
  • Schools and curricula must be aimed superficially at teaching the basic ideas of the profession, and there must be a defined common body of knowledge.
  • The profession must have a national professional association.
  • The profession must have a certification program.
  • The profession must have a code of ethics.


According to Drew Young, president of ASPA, all criteria was met except for a defined body of knowledge and certification program.  In the early 70’s, ASPA board began serious talk on creating a national certification program. In what will turn out to be a bit ironic, they shied away from using term certification because they felt the program could only test professionals on their level of knowledge but there was a fear that people might equate “certification” with competency.

In 1976, the first accreditation exams were given and it slowly began to pick up speed. By the end of 1978, only 753 people had take the exam but by 2009, over 100,000 HR professionals held the PHR, SPHR or GPHR designation. During that time, the test had been based on the HR Body of Knowledge which covered 6 areas of knowledge of the profession: 1) Business Management and Strategy, 2) Workforce Planning and Employment, 3) Human Resource Development, 4) Compensation and Benefits, 5) Employee and Labor Relations and 6) Risk Management. During this time the accrediting organization also changed to the name they hold today, the Human Resource Certification Institute and was an independent organization affiliated with the Society for Human Resource Management (formerly ASPA).

In 2011, things began to change.  SHRM began to look at the changing profession of HR as a whole. In addition to the traditional knowledge that HR professionals needed to master, SHRM started to look at the business skills that HR pros needed to demonstrate in order to support organizational goals and objectives. This lead to the beginning of the development of the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK).

The SHRM BoCK looks at the area of HR expertise and knowledge that all HR pros need to master (areas of People, Organization, Workplace and Strategy) but also those areas of behavioral competencies (consultation, critical evaluation, global and cultural awareness, communication, business acumen, ethical practice, leadership and relationship management) that combine to build effective individual performance which adds to a successful organization.

In developing a certification exam to include the new competencies and existing knowledge, SHRM had to come up with a new format, one that included the traditional knowledge questions but also included a way to apply that knowledge into ways to assess the decision making and application skills of that knowledge and new competencies. That led to the creation of the situational based judgment question. I compare it to a word problem back in my school math days.  A situation is outlined and 4 answers are shown. Because more than one strategy may be effective for addressing actual work-related scenarios, examinees will receive full credit for choosing the best possible answer, or partial credit for choosing the second-best possible answer.  As any HR pro knows, it is not always a one solution to any problem.


Since being introduced in January, 2015, the SHRM-CP and SCP almost 100, 000 HR professionals hold the SHRM Certifications. As far as acceptance of the new certifications, in an average month, approximately 5000 job postings (across all job boards) seek the SHRM Certification, an increase of 600 % from the inaugural year. Also, 3 out of every 4 exam-taker would recommend the SHRM Certification over another HR certification.

SHRM has developed an App for Certification holders that will make it easier to track recertification credits to help make the recertification process easier.  Also, there are plans to make a Spanish and Chinese language version of the exam available to ensure it is a universally accepted and used accreditation. The BoCK will undergo examination and updates on a regular basis.  Finally, some have asked about the status of accreditation of the exam and Certification process. This takes time but everything should be submitted and approved by the end of 2016.  Every Certification has to go through this process.

Full disclosure: I currently hold both the SHRM-SCP (obtained by the Pathway AND testing) and SPHR. I have no plans on getting rid of either. I am an Instructor for Northern Illinois University’s HR Outreach program teaching the SHRM Certification Preparation Program since January 2015. Prior to that I taught the SHRM Learning System preparing HR pros to take and pass the HRCI Certification exam.

This blog is part of a special series providing insights into HR certification. Click here for the sister article as part of this series. Click here to connect to HR re-certification webinars and webcast resources. You can also read more about the 40+ different HR certification offerings
Read more at http://www.blogging4jobs.com/hr/history-human-resources-hr-certification-programs/#bKPspbDvGDLLOKog.99

In planning your career trajectory, it is not only the path that needs to be defined, but what success means to you.  Finding a job or even planning out continued education before doing this could eventually set you back in your journey toward your goal.

  • Is it reaching the rung on your ladder of corporate climbing within a preferred company?
  • Is success being the highest income earner of your siblings or group of friends?
  • Is it obtaining your Master’s Degree or PhD?

Defining success for you will help you realize when you’ve achieved success.  When you should feel accomplished and come to the realization that you should feel satisfied at that point in life.  New goals are always encouraged, but a career defined, “Success” should be a place in life, not an eternal journey, never to be completed.

Have you defined a separate success for life and family yet?  Those are continued journeys and moving targets as life changes in a flash!

Image Credit Unknown

Image Credit Unknown

I found an article today, “Mike Rowe teams with UTI to send teens to technical school” in the local Business Journal.  I was disappointed as it indicated that his Foundation had supported this effort, but it did not provide the foundation’s name, or anything about its mission.

Mike Rowe, from the popular show, “Dirty Jobs” as seen on Discovery Channel and now with reruns on Animal Planet has risen above and beyond just creating awareness about jobs for skilled trades.  If you recall, the jobs he featured on the show required manual labor which often included smells, grime and even dangerous situations.

I found a lot more about Mike Rowe and the Foundation he is representing.


The mikeroweWORKS Foundation promotes hard work and supports the skilled trades in a variety of areas. It awards scholarships to men and women whom have demonstrated an interest in and an aptitude for mastering a specific trade. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a 501(c) nonprofit organization

The Foundation has given more than $1.6 million in scholarships to schools around the country, including Midwest Technical Institute, Tulsa Welding School and Universal Technical Institute.  The foundation currently offers a few types of scholarships on the website.

Another item I found of tied to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation is The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.) He created this pledge because;

1. He believes what it says, and felt strongly that the world needs one more acronym.
2. He wanted to raise some money for the scholarship fund. (He sells them for $10, and the money goes to the foundation.)
3. He needed something declarative that everyone must sign who applies for a mikeroweWORKS Scholarship. Something that reflected his own view of work-ethic and personal responsibility.



(Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo)

  1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
  2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.
  3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.
  4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.
  5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.
  6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.
  7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.
  8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.
  9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.
  10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.
  11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.
  12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements to be an accurate summation of my personal worldview. I promise to live by them.


I’ll be ordering one soon. I love it!




This August, Arizona SHRM will celebrate its 20th  Annual Conference. While I am fairly new to this organization, I have found that it is through this conference that I’ve gained so much over the years.

Each year I meet new colleagues and reconnect with great people in my network which I may have not seen since the year before.  Many of them are fellow volunteers!

I had started volunteering solely to obtain a discounted registration rate, but have found that I have gained much, much more than a discount.  In addition to those  who continue to give our time freely. I meet professionals seeking our next opportunities, company leadership representatives seeking to gain updated knowledge and have made new, lasting friendships as well.

Each year I gain knowledge.

Human Resource process, products and compliance change or improve each year.  If we don’t step away from our offices to update our professional knowledge,  then we may miss important updates which may become a  critical barrier our success. This conference is a perfect way to look up from all the work on our desks to concentrate on the bigger picture of Human Resources. Professional Development in our industry should not be an employer benefit, but should be a requirement.

Each year I learn about what our sponsors and exhibitors have to offer with the intent to improve our processes.

I often hear in my head, “Work smarter, not harder!”  Freeing up resources to bring on the best possible candidates with an acceptable background process who are thrilled about the company’s total rewards is essential. Just as important is the process to build up valuable employees and retain them for decades. It will be great to see what our exhibitors and sponsors will bring to ease our processes this year.


Is this the year you connect with your profession?


Conference Info & Registration

Arizona SHRM Affiliate, SHRMGP (shrmgp.org) networking at the Diamondbacks Game 2014

Arizona SHRM Affiliate, SHRMGP (shrmgp.org) networking at the Diamondbacks Game 2014

Arizona Corrections Dept. Employee’s Sex Harassment Suit Settles for $182,500 

According to the The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,  employers should establish, distribute to all employees, and enforce a policy prohibiting harassment and setting out a procedure for making complaints. In most cases, the policy and procedure should be in writing.  Small businesses may be able to discharge their responsibility to prevent and correct harassment through less formal means. For example, if a business is sufficiently small that the owner maintains regular contact with all employees, the owner can tell the employees at staff meetings that harassment is prohibited, that employees should report such conduct promptly, and that a complaint can be brought “straight to the top.” If the business conducts a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation of any complaint that arises and undertakes swift and appropriate corrective action, it will have fulfilled its responsibility to “effectively prevent and correct harassment.”

An employer is always responsible for harassment by a supervisor that culminated in a tangible employment action. If the harassment did not lead to a tangible employment action, the employer is liable unless it proves that: 1) it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassment; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to complain to management or to avoid harm otherwise

There Are Various Different Ways to Ensure The Protection And Education Of Your Employees

Depending on your company size, location(s), culture and overall needs, there are choices.  Large companies may opt to have their Management Teams take over this responsibility for existing staff education, and some have new employees watch a video or participate in an online session which includes some form tracking or testing to ensure they were paying attention.  Whatever you decide is best for your large or small business, the responsibility “trickles up” to the top when an employee decides to file a claim.

Don Not Assume That Everyone’s “Common Sense” Is Actually Common.

Not too long ago, the main visual available was an excellent movie called  “9 To 5”  which displayed blatant harassment.  While this movie brought the subject to light during a time when many victims were in the dark about their rights, laws have evolved to further protect employees

Make it clear that;

  • It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
  • Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
  • Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.
  • Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).
  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Small to mid-size companies could benefit from bringing in a professional consultant to manage their training substance and materials.  Regardless of “who” or “how” it is done,


Seal of the United States Equal Employment Opp...

Seal of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laws are springing up everywhere prohibiting texting and talking on cell phones while driving.  Do you know what might happen when your employee violates these laws for work-related calls and injure others?  Creating a comprehensive cell phone and texting policy and best practices on implementing a cell phone and texting policy in your workplace could help you maximize avoiding employer liability.

  • We know the Do’s and Don’ts for What Should Be Included in the Policy
  • We can go over Recent Cases Holding Employers Liable so your staff will know how to avoid the dangers
  • Blogger Beware!  The Dangers of Failing to Draft Such a Policy
  • Tips For Managing the Risks of Social Media Technology
  • Don’t forget to also revising other policies to cover social media issues to Avoid Employer Liability
  • We can train your employees on your Cell Phone, Texting and Social Media Policy