2 ways to define “competency”

noun: competency
  1. the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

The recent announcement by SHRM that they are launching their own “competency based” certification has many in the HR world feeling uncomfortable. While discomfort comes to some with any change, there appears to be a much greater reaction here than typically would be found among those who get apprehensive with any change.

What is interesting here is the different tones being used by the organizations involved in the HR certification world.  For SHRM, who started this with their announcement on Monday, there has been a divergent communication strategy to the HR community. This tweet was among the more unusual messages.

First, spell check would be nice. Second, and more importantly, this reflects an antagonistic message toward a member asking questions (Dustin Haverkamp) and really highlights the schism that has erupted between SHRM and HRCI. Many (even most) of the statements by SHRM have highlighted their desire to move to this model. As more details emerge, it still remains to be seen what this new certification will look like and how it will continue to push the human resource world forward.

The HRCI response has basically been, we are here, we have 135k certified professionals, and we do not intend to go anywhere.

As for my own level of discomfort, it really resides in my role as an active conference planner for state and local HR associations. I will be anxious to learn more about the new certification while striving to ensure that my state council and local associations are positioned to best serve the HR professionals who wish to stay current and competent in their role. To that end, I’m not certain any certification can prove that. If there are letters after my name that should demonstrate that, it’s not SHRM or SPHR, it’s the MBA. Yes, I have my SPHR and have had it since 2003, but I firmly believe that it’s my performance day in and day out that demonstrates not just my HR competence, but my confidence in knowing the business that I lead.

Questions remain and I hope that time will bring answers and a sense of comfort to all those feeling out of sorts.  In the meantime, keep learning no matter what it entails.


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