I became a SHRM-SCP at SHRM’s Volunteer Leader Summit in November. I was among the vanguard of the almost 140,000 HR professionals SHRM is targeting to transition from our previously hard-earned HRCI certifications to SHRM’s new “competency-based” certifications.
Since announcing the new certifications earlier this year, SHRM has defended the move by insisting that existing HR credentials, most notably the HR Certification Institute’s PHR and SPHR, do not measure an HR professional’s competence. Professionals holding SHRM’s new certifications will have demonstrated mastery of SHRM’s Competency Model, they’ve claimed.
Even as they discount the value of HRCI certification, SHRM has attempted to entice the almost 140,000 HRCI-certified professionals to switch to the new certifications. Paramount in this effort has been the creation of an online tutorial pathway, a grandfathering mechanism for already-certified professionals.
I can share from my own experience taking the tutorial at the Summit that this process is a can’t-fail review of the SHRM Competency Model that discusses each of the SHRM competency areas, notably spending the least amount of time on the HR expertise competency. Once the participant has completed the tutorial, voila!, they are now a SHRM-certified professional.
SCP stands for Senior Certified Professional. However, for me and thousands of other SPHRs who follow SHRM’s grandfathering pathway in the coming year, our SCP might as well stand for Sat, Clicked, Passed.
At HRSouthwest in October, I asked SHRM CEO Hank Jackson why, if the HRCI certifications were not valid demonstrations of competency, SHRM was accepting existing HRCI certifications as a substitute for taking the actual competency-based test. He laughed, shook his head, and said “Then we’d really have a fight on our hands.”
I’m sure that is true. If, on top of their current campaign to discredit the HRCI certifications, SHRM told its own members that they had to study and take another certification test to remain viable in the marketplace because of a SHRM initiative, particularly an initiative undertaken by the SHRM Board without any effort to gain input from their own membership, there would have been a revolt.
But if SHRM doesn’t believe that our current credentials demonstrate competency, then are they acting in integrity if they automatically grandfather tens of thousands of individuals who may or may not be competent by SHRM’s standards?
As ever, it comes down to money. This compromise helps SHRM achieve a critical mass of SHRM-certified professionals who, when time comes to renew their newly-minted certification will pay recertification fees to SHRM. Many of us will have to make a choice about whether we remain dually certified or drop one of our certifications – a calculation that SHRM clearly believes will weigh in its favor.
We’ll see if the marketplace accepts the new SHRM certifications over the better-known HRCI credentials. SHRM is certainly going to spend a lot of its members’ money in promoting the new certifications. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I expect to sit for the real SHRM SCP exam in the coming year. Otherwise, I’ll always feel the need to add an asterisk to the credential:
* Sat, Clicked, Passed