Skip to Page Content

SHRM CEO Message to Chapters regarding SHRM Certifications

    March 12, 2015

    CEO Message to Chapters

    SHRM Certification: Setting a New Standard for HR

    By Henry G. Jackson, CPA

    President and CEO, SHRM


    Who’s the most successful HR professional you know—boss, mentor or other colleague? What qualities do they possess? What makes them stand out?

    It’s likely the person you have in mind is business-savvy and well-respected across their organization. They have meaningful relationships with people at every rung of the corporate ladder. They’ve acquired the leadership mantle so many in the HR profession are seeking. They’re also seen as a trusted advisor to the CEO and his or her team of senior executives.  In sum, your HR hero has the ‘it’ factor.

    But what is ‘it’? And most important, how do more HR professionals get ‘it’?

    At SHRM, we call ‘it’ competency. When we set out to develop the SHRM Competency Model, we surveyed business leaders, educators and over 30,000 HR professionals and found there are nine critical behavioral and technical competencies every HR professional needs to succeed and grow. These competencies, now documented in the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge, include: relationship management; ethical practice; HR expertise (knowledge); business acumen; critical evaluation; global and cultural effectiveness; leadership and navigation; consultation; and communication.

    These competencies are relevant at every career stage, across all industries, around the world. They are the behaviors businesses have been asking for—nearly demanding—from HR professionals for the past several years. They are also the competencies demonstrated by the most successful members of the HR profession.

    In today’s complex global economy, HR has evolved to become a key leadership position and businesses expect more of HR professionals than ever before. We must meet these new, higher expectations.

    This is why the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently launched two new competency-based certifications for the HR profession—the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

    Our profession is no longer just about what we know—employment law, benefits and compensation, and other HR essentials. Our profession is about what we do with what we know. Yet most HR certification exams are knowledge-based. SHRM’s new certifications more closely measure your HR knowledge and how well you apply it on the job.

    Early response from business, academia and HR professionals has been extremely encouraging. Almost 9 out of 10 people who took the pilot exam for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP said they would recommend it to other HR professionals. In January, more than 21,000 HR professionals achieved their new SHRM certification.

    Certified HR professionals are eligible to earn the new SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP by completing a free three-step pathway before December 31, 2015. HR professionals who are not yet certified but are interested in pursuing the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP can register for the first exam window, which opens in May.

    SHRM is dedicated to the HR profession in the best possible way, including through our new certification program. This next evolution of certification sets a new standard for HR, and helps you demonstrate that you have the knowledge and behaviors needed to excel in your careers today as business leaders.

    I invite you to learn more about how SHRM certification at