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What is SHRM Certification and Is It Beneficial to Your Business?

Human resources typically serves as the lifeline of a company and keeps it running smoothly. For such a vital role, you need a qualified individual who knows the ropes of the job and is up to date on all the current HR practices being used. You just aren’t sure what exactly you should be looking for to find that person. What is SHRM certification, and is it necessary credential for a potential job candidate to have?

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What is SHRM certification?

SHRM certification provides individuals with the skills and resources they need to perform general HR-related duties or to pursue a career in HR management. The amount of education or work-related experience that individuals need to apply for certification depends on which credential they want. There are two options you might see: the SHRM Certified Professional and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

When you see an application with this credential, it means that the candidate might not have a formal degree or any HR-related experience prior to pursuing the SHRM-CP certificate. Individuals are still encouraged to understand the basics of HR practices and principles. This certification prepares them to take on an operational role in the field and perform typical day-to-day HR-related activities.

SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

This certification is for individuals who have at least three years of work experience performing strategic-level HR duties or for candidates who have already obtained their SHRM-CP certification. You’ll be hiring someone who has completed at least 1,000 hours per calendar year of HR-related work. This means they are ready to tackle a senior-level HR role and possibly start building a career in management.

How to obtain certification

To become certified with either credential, individuals must pass an exam that tests their competency in the field. The exam consists of two types of multiple-choice questions. One type is focused on standalone knowledge-based items that test a candidate’s understanding of factual information. The second type is scenario-based. It assesses a candidate’s analytical thinking and decision-making skills.

The exam is usually delivered by computer. For either certification option, the exam takes about four hours, and candidates must answer a total of 134 multiple-choice questions.

What is SHRM certification useful for?

There are an array of interpersonal, leadership and business skills instilled by this certification that can be useful for your business. The SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge (SHRM BASK) framework is used to define the main critical areas of the certification’s exam. It contains one technical competency and nine behavioral competencies. It’s most recent update was in 2021 and was developed from numerous research studies, incorporating the viewpoints of thousands of HR professionals from around the world.

The SHRM BASK framework is used to create the exams for both the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. This means that if you’re hiring someone with either certification, you’re adding an HR professional to your team who has been officially recognized as an expert and as a leader in their field.

Through this framework, the nine behavioral competency areas that individuals gain expert knowledge in are:

  • Business acumen
  • Communication
  • Consultation
  • Critical evaluation
  • Ethical practice
  • Global and cultural effectiveness
  • HR expertise
  • Leadership and navigation
  • Relationship management

When combined, these competencies can help individuals become strong assets to your company.

SHRM certification in the workplace

What is an SHRM certification’s impact on your business? Well, employing someone who has an SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP certificate could help you out with your hiring process. As an HR professional, they have the skills needed to help with recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training employees. They can also serve as a main point of contact for the staff and stakeholders you work with as well as ensure that your company policies are being implemented accurately and efficiently.

Certified individuals also tend to stand out in the workplace. Ninety-three percent of SHRM-certified HR professionals report that they have up-to-date information on current HR best practices. This means that you’re getting an employee who has knowledge that is relevant to their job and the skills to put that knowledge into practice.

You’ll be bringing someone on who can:

  • Serve as a key business partner.
  • Help meet your organization’s goals.
  • Use strong HR guidance and intervention strategies for a better workplace.
  • Display critical thinking skills.
  • Identify, collect and analyze pertinent data for your business.
  • Help you make informed decisions about your business.

The competency areas that candidates learn also grant them exceptional people management skills. Having strong communication skills can be beneficial for sending out clear and informative communications throughout your organization at all levels. Being aware of global and cultural factors can contribute to establishing a diverse and inclusive workplace, which helps create a comfortable, supportive environment for your employees.

A person with SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP certification can also serve as a consultant to bring any business challenges or opportunities to your awareness and ensure that ethical practices are being maintained throughout your company.

Should you certify your current employees?

There are options for organizations to provide SHRM certification and re-certification for their employees. The certification expires after three years, which means an employee may need to become re-certified while they’re working for your company. If you’re identified as a re-certification provider, your business could be more appealing to candidates who hold the credential.

For your business to participate in the program, your employees need to have access to high-quality HR educational programming that matches the competencies outlined in the SHRM BASK framework. Your business also must have at least one year of operation under its belt. Your employees will need to have the appropriate resources available to them that match the administrative needs of the program.

Whether you hire someone who’s certified or decide to implement a program yourself, SHRM certification could lead to stronger employee relations and enhanced business strategies within your company.

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