SHRM CEO says All Employers Should “Require” HR Certification!

SHRM CEO says All Employers Should “Require” HR Certification!

Did you see this last week by new SHRM CEO Johnny Taylor?

“Require certification,” Taylor said. “SHRM certification is a validation that the professional doing the job has the competency to do it. Treat HR like a profession. Don’t just prefer—require!”  

So, there will be a reaction from the HR community on this for sure! My guess is it will be mostly negative by those who aren’t certified, and mostly positive by the small percentage, overall, of HR professionals who do have a certification.

Here’s my take – I 100% agree with Johnny!

In fact, I love Johnny even more as the selection of SHRM CEO!

We (HR) want to be put on the same level as our peers in accounting, legal, etc. They are required to complete an examination to reach their CPA or pass the bar exam. Why should HR be any different?

I think it would be awesome to begin seeing HR positions at all levels have “HR Certification Required to Apply to this Position!” on job descriptions and job postings. I think it’s a sign that organizations are saying we want to ensure that our HR professionals meet some basic understanding and competency of the profession, at a minimum.

I think the one pushback would be there is a cost of obtaining the certification. That’s a real barrier and being a professional that embraces and espouses to inclusion, we want to eliminate barriers. Thankfully, SHRM also was prepared for this and announced last week:

“We’ve adapted our recertification process to provide additional flexibility to match your learning needs.

Going forward, SHRM will no longer have a maximum limit on self-paced activities, in the ‘Advance Your Education’ category.”

What this means is an HR professional can go out and take all 60 recertification credits for free through various webcasts or other self-paced free HR learning opportunities.

There still the cost to recertifying ($100 for members, $150 for non-members) and a cost to take the initial exam ($300 or $400, respectively). The reality is we all have investments we need to make to maintain and grow ourselves in our profession. This is a rather small amount for such a great profession.

I’ve been a long time vocal critic of SHRM in many ways but I love this push from Johnny to the profession. Sure it’s a bit self-serving since SHRM is the one selling the SHRM-CP and SCP certification (along with HRCI who sells the PHR, SPHR, and GPHR separately), but I don’t care. It’s the right thing to do.

I’ve been an HR professional who has held a certification since 2001. Gaining that certification took work, study, and practice. It wasn’t easy. After completing the examination and passing it was a big deal. 17 years of pursuing continuing education puts me in a really great position as a professional that I know a great deal about HR in a number of facets.

Does this make me a ‘better’ HR professional than someone who does not have a certification? That’s the big question, right? I believe it does, on average. Sure someone can know more than me, who does not have an HR certification, but normally, I would say that is not the case.

So, kudos, to Johnny, who got beat up recently in social media for shaking President Trump’s hand and taking a pic at an event. I believe requiring HR certifications for HR positions is the right stance to take for SHRM and for the profession.