In recent posts, I\’ve discussed the gaps in the HR curriculum and how HR education is not providing adequate training for those preparing for a career in human resources. I recently had the chance (thanks to China Gorman, COO of SHRM) to talk with Nancy Woolever. Nancy is the Manager of Academic Initiatives for the Knowledge Development Division of SHRM. As such, she has an invaluable perspective on how SHRM is attempting to meet the needs of the HR community via the education route. We also had the opportunity to speak on another topic related to new HR professionals, but that will have to wait for another day.
Much of the conversation was focused on the HR curriculum that SHRM has put together. It is based on research and data gathered from polling students and experienced professionals. That information was packaged in the Guidebook. If you have the time, it’s an interesting read. They also have some great research that I spent some time reading up on in the past week.
One of the questions I was dying to ask was â€œHow can I get my local college to get into the process?â€ I do some work with local students (and students elsewhere in the US), and I plan to do even more in coming months. I want to make sure that they are getting the necessary education to prepare them for the wide world of human resources. The process for getting the â€œSHRM stamp of approvalâ€ in a new school is this:
- School contacts SHRM to see if they qualify for the SHRM curriculum
- SHRM reviews the school\’s requirements and gives one of two recommendations
- Yes, the school does meet the requirements (gets recognized publicly)
- No, the school does not (SHRM provides guidance to get them up to snuff)
In Nancy\’s words, the SHRM curriculum project is â€œtaking on a life of its own.â€ At first, the process was about building publicity by connecting with schools and organizations, but in the past year, the number of schools voluntarily approaching SHRM for consideration has risen drastically. Currently, there are approximately 125 schools participating.Â To take it farther, SHRM is working to develop content that schools are lacking to help them reach their goals. For instance, if a school\’s HR curriculum is not covering performance management adequately, then SHRM can offer assistance in the form of performance management content modules to help the school get on the right track.
So, what is covered in the SHRM curriculum?
Employee and labor relations
HR\’s role in organizations
HR and globalization
HR and mergers and acquisitions
HR and organizational strategy
Human resource information systems (HRIS)
Measuring HR outcomes: metrics and the bottom line
Risk Management: occupational health, safety and security
Staffing: recruitment and selection
Workforce planning and talent management
The curriculum has some similarities to the HR certification exams. However, there are a few topics on this list that weren\’t covered in my own formal education (namely, the HRIS and metrics sections). While I can remember talking about the importance of metrics, I don’t know that we actually went any farther than that!
And speaking of my college experience, I have been reading the work of a fellow professional who is in the thick of HR education as an instructor. He writes very well and has some interesting things to say. If Twitter is your thing, he\’s over there, too. Here\’s what he had to say recently on the topic:
Working in small, liberal arts college, I am the sole proprietor of our HR program. Its success or failure is dependent on how well I carry out my job. It is up to me, in most cases, to decide what to cover, when to cover it, and how it will be carried out.
Seeing the lengths that SHRM will go to in order to prepare students for the workplace gives me hope. Before I got off the phone with Nancy, I told her that she had definitely turned me into a believer in their education efforts. One of the things that really turned me around was when Nancy said something about how SHRM wasn\’t trying to force anyone into this program. It was merely providing a â€œflexible and helpfulâ€ framework and allowing people to choose for themselves whether they wanted to participate. If a school wants to go it alone, then they are welcome to do so. If a school prefers to check with SHRM to see if its programs meet the requirements, then they are also welcome to do so.
I lay a challenge upon each of you.
Find out if your local HR programs are getting the job done. If not, then you could shoot them the link to this post. If they are, then congratulate them on being proactive in providing a high value education for the future leaders in HR.
Read more in the HR education series.