This Is What I Think About The SHRM Certification

I was on my unscheduled blogging sabbatical when the announcement about the HRCI and SHRM certification split was made, sending shockwaves thru the HR profession and social media.

In case you’ve been out of the loop, here’s some links I found really informative about the change.

– Check out the SHRM Certification website

– Ben Eubanks’s “SHRM to Stop Supporting the PHR, SPHR Certifications”

– Matt Stollak’s “New #SHRM Certification Raises More Questions Than It Answers”

– HR Cloud’s “8 SHRM Certification Questions Answered at SHRM14”

The gist is SHRM has decided to establish an additional HR professional certification of their own which will start in 2015. The HRCI Certification will continue separately. HR pros will be able to obtain both or either and attend HR events to get continuing education credits to maintain certified status for both through 2015. Beyond that is still up unknown.

Offline, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I feel about this change, especially since I just took the HRCI test for my SPHR earlier this year. After my SHRM14 Conference wrap-up post, the questions started again. So I’m weighing in.

Do You Really Think HR Needs TWO Certifications?

Sure. Why not? Other professions have more than one! If you don’t believe me, google “Accounting Certifications” or “Marketing Certifications.” HR is not alone in this. In fact, it is arguable that HR has had more than one certification for awhile now when you consider the specialty certifications in Payroll, Recruiting, etc.

Do You Think This Is Just A Ploy By SHRM To Get Money?

SHRM is a business. Businesses like to get money. So do I, for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with getting money! However, I doubt seriously that SHRM spent years developing an exam and all that goes into that as well as forever changed their long-standing connection with the HRCI just for money … But if they did, that’s not my business, I don’t care and I’m not the least bit upset, offended or alarmed.

What’s The Difference Between the SHRM Test and the HRCI Test?

From what I’ve read, the difference will be that the SHRM Test focuses on the ability to practically apply their knowledge of the Body of Competency & Knowledge (BoCK).  The hardest part of the HRCI testing was turning off my 15 years of practitioner brain to study the ideals and memorize the associated vocabulary. The book didn’t match what is done in real life in the majority of instances. Hopefully the SHRM exam will get closer to measuring HR reality. Since it hasn’t started yet, no one truly knows.

Are You Going to Take the SHRM Exam?

According to the SHRM Certification website, I won’t have to. Because I am already certified and in good standing, I only have to provide my HRCI documentation, sign the Code of Ethics and do a tutorial. And it won’t cost me a dime. Free is always in the budget so count me in!

For the record, even if I did have to take some kind of test or pay a fee, I would still do it. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Getting my SPHR has made a difference in my career opportunities. I am a card-carrying, t-shirt wearing, hashtag repping cheerleader for professional certification. When the job market is so competitive and candidacy can be cut short for the most minor things, it’s not wise to leave any room for doubt or question about your qualifications or commitment to your profession.

What Do You Think of the Certification Name?

SHRM named their certification SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP … Womp womp. I am admittedly underwhelmed by the name. Other than “Certified Imperially Awesome Kick-Ass Badass HR Professional”, I don’t have any better suggestions to offer. So unless they decide to change to the CIAKABHRP, I’m going to have to roll with it.


That’s all I got … Any other questions?

What I Learned at SHRM14 … Even Though I Wasn’t There

I’ve never been to a SHRM National Conference.

So I was really excited when I was selected as a blogger for the 2014 Conference, which was going to be in one of my favorite places and feature some of my favorite people as speakers. I dreamed of eating in Disney World with my BlogFFs and other social media friends — and I plotted how I would snag a selfie with Robin Roberts.

Then I got my new job and had to cancel … If I’d pushed, they probably would have allowed me the time off since it was pre-planned. But I just didn’t feel right about it … So I made the decision to work instead — and now I set my sights on fabulous Las Vegas for the 2015 National Conference!

Even though I wasn’t there, I still got a good idea of all the happenings thru social media. Lots of great Twitter posts, Instagram photos and Facebook shares were flying around using the SHRM14 hashtag. Many of the bloggers on the official team, vendor partner sites and other bloggers wrote and shared articles from the event. It was great to see — and hard not to have bittersweet feelings about not being there.

Here are the 6 posts I think best sum up the lessons from SHRM14

And I have to give honorable mention to my friends at SHRM – We Know Next because they did a phenomenal job of grabbing, sharing and syndicating most of the blogs out there with coverage or mention of the SHRM14 conference.

But, in case you don’t want to read all this stuff, I can summarize the SHRM14 lessons in 5 words: change, care, certify, create and count.

Whoomp. There it is.

Certifiably SPHR Certified

Well, I did it … I successfully passed the SPHR exam on my first attempt! I still can’t believe I did it, but I did.

As I said in my last post, I felt a lot of pressure and anxiety heading in to the exam. And it was my sincerest hope I would come out of the exam with some kind of insight I could share with others on what to do or study or focus on to increase their chances of success on the exam.

Sorry. I got nothing … But I will share what I think worked in my favor.

  • Tell people about it … I know my family, friends and followers got sick of my posts. However, it was important for people to know what I was working on. The encouragement kept me going when I felt like slacking. And all the eyes on me made me feel more pressure to pass — although I always knew it could go either way … Sharing keeps you accountable.
  • Know how much time you have, how you learn and plan accordingly … I know how I learn best and what turns me off. I knew my life couldn’t stop completely for studying. I knew my time and money for study resources were limited. All this came into play as I created and worked my plan … Be prepared to schedule and commit to a program that works for your life and learning style.
  • Wait as long as possible to take the test … I took my test on the last possible day at the last possible time slot for the 2013 year. Although it was hard to watch and wait as others finished before me, I was able to benefit from their suggestions and advice … Glean as much as you can from the experience of others.

Otherwise, my advice is pretty much the same as what’s already out there — Study and study and study some more. Then study a lot. Then study again … But even with all that studying, passing or failing is still a coin-toss. And you still will feel like you are failing for the entire duration of the 3 hour exam.

I wish nothing but success and luck to everyone preparing for the Spring/Summer 2014 exams. I am happy to pass along the names of the study materials I used — if you’re close enough, I will give my materials to you!

Cuz I’m never going to need that stuff again! No way I want to retake that test so I will pursue my recertification credits like a woman possessed.

I am forever certifiably SPHR certified.

What Will I Do After The SPHR?

On Friday, January 31st, I sit for the SPHR exam — one of the hardest professional certification exams on the planet. The exam I’ve run from for almost a decade because I hate standardized tests more than I hate peas.

And I really hate peas. Just ask my mother.

To say I am nervous about it is an understatement. But I know I’ve done everything possible to prepare and I believe I will conquer this beast on my first attempt. It will not be easy — but I will do it!

For the last 3 months, I’ve spent roughly 2 – 3 hours each day involved in some study or exam prep activity. I am amazed at how I was able to find the time considering the other demands of my life.

As I get closer and closer to my exam date, I am regularly asked What will you do with all your time after the SPHR is over?”

Admittedly, I found the question annoying at first. It’s not like I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do before I began my SPHR study! I stay busy … However, when I thought more about it, I realized this priority shift has shown me how I really can do more with my 24 hours. And I don’t want to lose that habit or the momentum it has given me.

So, here’s what I am going to do when my SPHR Exam is over …

  1. Cry … Yes, I said cry. I fully expect I will openly weep tears of joy and relief and pride when the test is over and I pass. I might even post an ugly cry video on Instagram for posterity. Stay tuned.
  2. Party … I will celebrate on Friday with my family. Then I will visit Richmond, VA to celebrate my BFF’s birthday and meetup with Melissa Fairman to toast both our passing of the exam. Then I will come home and enjoy Super Bowl Sunday with my friends and family, especially since my friend and fellow University of Richmond alum is playing in the game. Go Broncos!
  3. Watch TV … I have abused my poor DVR. It is over 70% full as I write this post! I will find some down time to relax and catch up on my favorite shows — and delete the stuff I no longer care to watch.
  4. Work … I have a busy year of projects, rollouts and new initiatives in my 9-5 job. There is never a dull moment in what I do at work. I love being an HR practitioner and my SPHR certification will be put to good use.
  5. Blog … I miss writing. I’ve been on an inconsistent schedule for too long now. I’ve missed a lot and missed out on a lot. I’m not happy about that and it must change! The things I’ve learned and refreshed thru my SPHR prep have given me lots of new content to share. Get ready get ready get ready!
  6. Speak … I will speak at several conferences this year. Up first is the Louisiana SHRM Conference in April. This will be my 3rd year straight at LASHRM; I am so honored and excited to be going again!! The speaker lineup is truly extraordinary and I recommend you get yourself to Baton Rouge for this conference if your HR budget will allow it. I am even more excited that my blog-FF crew from Performance I Create will also be there as presenters and covering social media. It is going to be a fantastic time! Chimay!! (You’ll have to ask Czarina of HR Janine Truitt what that means)
  7. Other stuff … My mind is always running with ideas on how to make a greater impact thru HR, both at the job and in my other ambitions. I will turn more of these ideas into plans and those plans into actions and those actions into accomplishments.

That’s what I’m going to do when the SPHR is over … But for now, it’s back to studying

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