Like many of you, I have had my HRCI certification for some time and had been following the news and information related to the new SHRM-CP certifications very closely since the announcement mid 2014. As the information came out I was excited, curios, uncomfortable, understanding, and frustrated — sometimes all at the same time (hey, I’m a change management expert, so there was a lil heartburn for me personally about how everything was rolled out and maybe some opportunities to do some things differently 🙂 ). How everything “went down” between HRCI and SHRM was a little weird (and at some points, dare I say, dramatic) but at the end of the day, what we all want to know is “what does this mean to me.” I knew that since I was already certified that I’d get the opportunity to get the new a SHRM certification and that I’d then have two certifications to maintain. I also understood that difference (at least conceptually) in the two certifications — and frankly, I kinda dig the competency model behind the SHRM certification — even though I still hadn’t seen it in practice.
So last week, on Jan 6, I started off the new year with clicking on the link on the SHRM site to start the assessment to obtain my new SHRM credential. All in all — it took about 40 minutes for me to complete and was super easy. I had a few friends who were invited to take the certification exam as part of a pilot group and also had some friends who went to SHRM LEAD who were offered an early opportunity to take the training to get the new certification — so I had some insight as to what to expect.
What I liked about it was that it once again takes the user through the new certification, the competency model and then walks you through an assessment of of sorts of where you “may” be within those competencies by asking you to rate yourself on a series of scenarios. The idea, I think, is to tell you where you stand in the competencies and to give you an idea on what competencies that you should work on developing further — however, there is no way to save it, so you have to be ready to print it off while you are taking the assessment (I actually did a screen capture of it but you could also do a “print to pdf” too). It would have been nice to have it saved to my profile in some way to that I could refer back to it later or see how I’m progressing against those competencies as I work through my re-certification credits (oh yeah,you have to set up a new SHRM-CP certification profile, you’ll want to have your SHRM member number handy).
Finally you walk through some example questions that are on the SHRM certification exams. The format of the questions are similar to that of the HRCI, but of course, a different type of question and they are based on a scenario that you read — and then the questions apply to that scenario. If you select the wrong answer or the second best answer, it will tell you and ask you to pick again — and explain to you why the correct answer is the correct answer and why the wrong answers are the wrong answers. Once you complete it, there is a reminder of your re-certification credits (you need 60) and when your new certification will expire –and then you wait 24 -72 hours to get the email that you have “officially” been awarded your new certification (I got mine the next morning). Can’t deny it, I was a little excited when I got the email that I was “SHRM Official” and promptly went to my LinkedIn and updated my certifications. Goofy, I know, but I’ve seen my news feed fill up with fellow HR pros and friends who have done the same thing.
So now that the the certifications are here — I’m still not sure of what is next. We all know that time will tell what these certifications will mean to our profession — frankly, I’m okay with that. However, I wish we had more details on how re-certification credits are going to play out (like on the reals and not just the conceptual level) and the understanding of will things that are HRCI certified likely to be SHRM certified as well. I’m the girl who immediately started to plan out re-certification credits for my HRCI certification the day after I took the test (I did not want to procrastinate and wait to the last minute) My gut tells me that both organizations are going to make re-certifications for their certifications as easy as possible at least for the first re-certification cycle and then slowly start to differentiate from there (that’s my gut and my opinion only based on how I would approach a change like this). However, I think ultimately we just have to wait and see.
If you are eligible to get the new SHRM-CP certification because you already have an HRCI certification — I recommend that you do it — you’ve got nothing to lose but the 40 minutes or so to take the certification training.
What do you think — have you taking the training? What do you think about holding two these two HR certifications? Is this really any different than getting other HR certifications such as benefits, TA, compensation, global mobility, or HRIM certifications?