Tag Archives: SHRM Certification

battle hr recertification credits

The Hidden Battle for SHRM and HRCI Recertification Credits

Today I’m going to talk openly and honestly about SHRM, HRCI, and things that matter to today’s HR professionals. I have my SHRM-SCP and my SPHR, and I expect to keep them both for the foreseeable future. I think both have merit as of today (February 2018). But maybe that is going to change…

Newsflash: if you get certified as an HR professional, you need recertification (or “recert”) credits to keep your certification (unless you want to take the test again every three years!) As a chapter leader AND a speaker, I see the other side of the equation that most HR practitioners do not. I have to submit my content for credits, and I also have to work with my chapter to submit our content as well to get the appropriate credits.

battle hr recertification creditsOver the years, HRCI has become increasingly stubborn and challenging about awarding SPHR-required business credits for sessions. After several failed attempts in 2016 to get credits awarded for our chapter (for sessions like “building a strategic hiring plan for your organization” and “evaluating the ROI of training initiatives,” we actually ran into an even BIGGER problem. We received business credits, promoted it with business credits to our members, and then HRCI changed their mind after the session was over and our attendees were stuck with general credits, despite paying an extra fee for a business-credit session. Madness, right?

I finally came away with this conclusion: if you want to get business credits, you have to attend a session that has 0% HR content. Take a marketing class. Go to a statistics program. Just don’t do anything that mentions HR in the title or the session abstract and you’re fine. Continue reading

phr shrm-cp hr certification

Which HR Certification is Better? An Analysis of the SHRM-CP and PHR

Last week I received an interesting question that echoed what I’ve seen from dozens of people around the new year:

I came across this discussion while trying to formulate an argument supporting the value and credibility of the SHRM-CP credential.

I have years years of HR experience and about five years ago, I started looking at HRCI and the PHR certification. Eventually, I hit the experience AND degree requirements to take the PHR, but decided to go with the certification offered by SHRM, thinking that a credential offered directly by the society would hold equal if not more weight.

My immediate supervisor is PHR credentialed. When I announced that I had earned my SHRM-CP credential, the response was underwhelming and I was left with the impression that they are not convinced that it is on par with the PHR credential.

We are in the process of updating a Professional Development policy for our company and I’d really like to be able to present an argument for recognizing the SHRM-CP as equivalent to the PHR. I’ve done a bit of looking online, but have yet to see anything that clearly compares the two credentials.

Over the last few years, the piece I wrote about the PHR vs the SHRM-CP certifications has been seen hundreds of thousands of times. I’ve had dozens of comments and questions from people, and over time my thoughts have changed a bit and have become more clear. Plus, some of the actions of the certifying bodies themselves are changing how I view the world. First, let’s address the question at hand.  Continue reading

hr certification audio

Preparing for the HR Certification Exams: Audio Style

hr certification audioIn 2017 I launched a “beta” version of the HR Certification audio product. That has continued to mature and develop and now has 50+ tracks and several hours of content that ranges from technical to practical. For example, it covers highly technical analyses of specific HR elements, such as:

  • Executive compensation
  • Validity vs reliability in pre-employment selection testing
  • Performance evaluation methods

However, unlike virtually every HR certification prep tool on the market, it goes a step further to more broad explorations of HR’s impact on the business, such as:

  • Recruiting and hiring trends
  • The impact of talent technology on employees
  • How to improve training outcomes

Additionally, since the beginning I have been looking for quality external sources of audio content to throw in as bonus items just to round out the content and give a broader perspective. I’ve referenced a few of the episodes from great HR podcasts like HCI and Xenium, and I’m also adding some of my shows from We’re Only Human to the mix. Why? Because the number one reason people fail the exams is because they don’t understand how to see the big picture–they only study academic terms, take practice tests, and then assume they will understand the strategic impact when it comes test time.

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way, especially for the senior level exams (SHRM-SCP and SPHR). For these types of exams, learners must critically examine the full scope of decisions in a specific area and how it impacts the larger business. That’s where these additional resources come into play and help.

Because the team is continuously adding content and demand is increasing for the audio content, the price is going up over time. If you’re interested in getting it, this post has the links to the course as a standalone or packaged at a discount with the SPHR self study prep course.

For those of you that have already signed up, thank you for supporting the work we do here at upstartHR! I appreciate it.

The #1 Reason People Fail the HR Certification Exams

At my last check, the pass rates for the HRCI exams were somewhere around 50%, meaning that half of the people that show up to take the test fail the exam. I’ve been working with people preparing for their PHR and SPHR exams for nearly eight years, and I’ve been giving similar advice to SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP preppers in the last 12-18 months. For what it’s worth, I have both SPHR and SHRM-SCP credentials. In that time I’ve come to realize that there is one clear reason why people fail the exams, and I’ve seen it proven over and over again. But first, let me use a learning model to help show you where the breakdown is. Below you’ll see Bloom’s Taxonomy, a model that explains the successive levels of learning as someone progresses from “newbie” to expert.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Knowledge

blooms taxonomy learning

This explains the biggest challenge that most of the test prep tools in the marketplace have (even my friends at HRCP). Most of them are designed to move someone up the scale, but the farthest they get is knowledge or even comprehension. In some cases, that may be enough to help someone complete the PHR exam, because it’s heavily based on recall and summarizing existing information.

However, it’s not going to get someone through the SHRM exams or the SPHR, either. In order to be successful there, learners have to move up the ladder toward synthesis of knowledge. At that level, learners must be able to:

  • infer ideas from information
  • imagine outcomes
  • predict decisions and best practices
  • combine separate ideas to create new strategies

If it seems like a lot, it is. And the truth is, that doesn’t happen by reading a book. Theory is great, and understanding the theory and history behind HR is a good thing. However, decisions at work are not based on just on theory–they require more.

And while people are upset when they don’t pass the exam, often claiming “the questions were nothing like what I studied,” the truth is that is probably a good thing for businesses needing HR support that can think for itself, not just recite study preparation materials. On the other hand, I get it–you want to prepare for the exam and not feel like you’re rolling the dice when you sit down in the testing center. So I’m going to teach you the principle that I’ve used to create the PHR/SPHR audio course, the PHR study course, and the SPHR study course, helping hundreds of testers to prepare for their certification exams over the years.

Getting from Theory to Application

When I taught a live study course a few years back, one of the things that I did every night, without fail, was to mention some recent piece of news or information that tied in with course materials. Studying about ethics? Let’s talk about Enron and its ethical failures. Discussing executive compensation? Let’s look at the new Supreme Court Justice nominee’s beliefs on compensation limits for executive leadership. In each opportunity, I would find relevant information to help take the theories and ideas from the materials and make them real for my students.

This is why I have created tools like the audio course, the prep courses, etc. I want to give practical information and stories so people can “get it,” versus just memorizing more text. I learned this the hard way when I got out into the “real world” of HR from college, and that translates here as well. After four years of studying and learning all of these basic principles, I had to go out into the real world and apply them.

I quickly realized that upon leaving college, I was about 10% prepared for what I needed to be successful. The rest would come from hands-on experience and practice, despite spending money, time, and effort on a degree specialized to human resources.

The lesson for you, if you’re preparing for an exam of any kind, is to look for ways to tie the learning back to your real world experience. Or to current news stories. Or to anything that is practical. You need that mental anchor not only to remember the ideas and concepts, but to understand how they are applied. When people ask me about my study resources, that’s the primary thing I explain as a difference between anything else on the market. Every week I talk about real experiences, real stories, and how to apply the concepts in real life. And my students are more successful than the average test taker, so there’s that.

What are your thoughts? Have you taken an exam and failed–what do you think of this advice? For those of you that have passed, what’s your take?

New HR Certification Audio Tools

hr certification audio cdUpdate: the course is available for the public here. The bundle with the SPHR course is here. Audio continues to be added to the course to flesh it out and increase the value. 

One of the most common questions I get from people interested in certification is where to find something they can listen to in the car, on a walk, or even at work. I’ve mentioned before that as busy as I am with kids and work, I really like to listen to podcasts and other audio programs while I’m washing dishes or chaperoning people around town. Today, I’m excited to announce the presale for the new HR certification audio series.

Until now there has only been a minimal selection in the market for audio prep tools, and they are all fairly pricey. I wanted to develop something that would help to improve the HR certification prep experience while still meeting that need for auditory learners. We are launching this in time for people to use it for the coming year’s exam preparation.

The Details

This program opened officially in 2017. The course has lessons spanning all areas of HR to help each of you better understand best practices and have the most up-to-date knowledge of how to leverage those practices for business success. In addition, these courses can be used for recertification credits! If you’re currently certified and want to use the content in these courses for recertification purposes, you can manually add them to your profile to get credit.

Is this just for the PHR or SPHR?

No. I’ve had dozens of students use our other courses to study for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. I’ve also had some even use it for the aPHR exam with excellent results. The principles explored in this audio study course will be applicable across the spectrum of HR. If you like the kind of work I do here at upstartHR (including the podcast) or if you’re interesting in improving your HR game, this will help you.

What is included? 

The course initially included audio lessons totaling more than 3 hours of content, but it is being expanded every month with new content. This continues to grow and should reach 10+ hours of training in 2018. It’s my goal for learners to be able to use these audio lessons for reinforcing concepts, examining practical applications, and exploring case studies of HR in action.

The types of content vary, from long-form podcast interviews with industry experts to short-form explanations of key concepts and laws that apply to exam preparation. In addition, several hours of bonus content from other podcasts has been added at no additional charge to help add valuable context to areas like recruiting, diversity, employee engagement, and more.

Additionally, students in the course can request additional content coverage for areas they need more help in. For instance, one student needed information on how to understand reliability and validity in pre-employment testing design, so I recorded a special lesson to help her and added it to the course to help others. Here is an example of one of the lessons from the course.

What is the format?

The course includes mp3 audio files so listeners can learn anywhere. Users can stream the files directly from the web or from their mobile device using SoundCloud or can download the audio pack to their computer or mobile device via Dropbox to play locally without streaming. The mp3 files include lifetime access in the event you need to put off your studies, need to come back later to refresh, or just want to use them for recertification credits after you pass your exam.

What is the price? 

The prices are $67 for the standalone audio course or $147 for the discount bundled with the SPHR self study course.

If you have questions, please contact me at ben@upstarthr.com and I’ll be glad to answer them. I’m excited about the next evolution of certification preparation support here at upstartHR, where we’ve been helping hundreds of HR professionals like you with certification for more than seven years.