HR Lagniappe

Louisiana SHRM

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HR Certification – its value to me

I always read with interest the debate within the HR community about the value of holding certification of professional credentials, specifically those through the Human Resource Certification Institute.  Since 2003, I have held my SPHR certification and had the PHR for 3 years before that.  Although I am an advocate for having the certification, I also recognize that it is not the end all be all of HR knowledge and there are many smart and accomplished HR pros who do not hold a certification of any kind, hold a certification other than through HRCI, and those who do not feel the value is enough to continue to hold such a thing.  Unfortunately, there are also those individuals out there with the initials PHR, SPHR, or GPHR after their name who do not represent the best and brightest of the human resource profession.

Speaking solely for myself, the certification has provided several benefits.  First, it forces me to keep current by achieving 60 recertification credits over a three year period of time.  Now, there are those who simply ease through and get whatever credits they can, but I like to think of myself as a diligent and conscientious person (most of the time!) and truly try to get something out of the programs or sessions I attend.  It seems that the possibilities to gain recertification credits continue to grow each year.   This can provide motivation for those not inclined to pursue additional formal education.  There have certainly been times during my MBA program that I have been able to benefit from the knowledge gained through the recertification process.

The second benefit I gain is recognition by others for my knowledge.  Those outside the HR practice arena are starting to recognize the certification and will look for it.  When I first attained my PHR certification, my supervisor at the time asked me what that PHR was and why I did it.  It meant nothing to her or the company at the time.  When I interviewed for my current position, the expectation was there that I not only have my certification, but that I pursue the SPHR within 2 years of joining the organization.  Within six months, I tested and passed and have maintained it ever since.  It is nice to see a growing number of HR related job postings placing some emphasis on it.

Finally, there are those who see the indication of professional certification as something that sets apart the willingness of someone to take a chance and do something to advance themselves.  I have been in several conversations with other HR professionals who have told me that they are not willing to take the exam because they are afraid that they might fail.  Life is about taking risks and as risks go, this is not a particularly dangerous one!  I view it as an investment in myself and when I first tested, a challenge to my fledgling HR knowledge.

As someone who holds a certification from HRCI, I am certainly in favor of strengthening the certification and what it takes to receive and maintain it.  There are those in every profession who do not hold up to the ideal of their title, certification, or degree.  My SPHR certification by itself does not represent who I am or what I know.  It does show that I was able to show mastery on a test over a particular set of subjects and that I have maintained knowledge in my chosen field of human resources.  It does not show my professionalism, the ability to apply the knowledge I have demonstrated, or that I am an avid roller coaster rider.  It’s important, no matter the certification, degree, or qualifications, that we ensure that the person brings the qualities we want to a position, and not simply a fancy set of letters after their name.  Certification is important to me for me; it doesn’t need to be an important factor to anyone else.


This guest post from Brad Galin, SPHR originally ran on his blog RollercoasterHR where he writes about HR and roller coasters.  .
Spending much of his early life working in theme parks, first as a ride operator and later in public relations at Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio, Brad has had many unique and fun experiences since graduating from Indiana University.  Brad’s HR experience began in policy development and training for International Theme Park Services and took him around the world to train including extended assignments in China, Mexico, & Brazil.  Brad is now the Director of HR for Stone Belt, a non-profit organization with over 500 employees fulfilling its mission to prepare, empower, and support people with disabilities throughout south-central Indiana.  In addition to his day job, Brad currently serves as the Communications and Technology Director for the Indiana State Council of SHRM.
You can also follow Brad on Twitter.

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The Students Bring It: HR of the Future – #shrm12

This post was originally published at the HR Schoolhouse by Robin Schooling, Louisiana SHRM Communications Director and one of the #SHRM12 Official Bloggers.


Each year, during the SHRM Annual Conference, the SHRM Student Conference is also held.  While we’re here in Atlanta enjoying the heat and humidity, the students are also meeting today and tomorrow (June 23rd and June 24th).

During the conference, the recipients of SHRM’s Outstanding Student Chapter Awards are announced.  The Outstanding Student Chapter Award is given in recognition of significant activities within the following areas: compliance with SHRM bylaws, fundraising efforts, educational events, volunteerism, professional development, internships, mentorships, newsletters and external communications, social media programs, legislative advocacy, support of the SHRM foundation and participation in seminars or conferences.

I’m a big fan of the work of the SHRM student chapters and each year usually make a trip (or two!) to local student chapter meetings.  Apparently they haven’t gotten sick of me yet because they keep inviting me back.  Then again, it might be because sometimes I swear when I’m either (1) sharing an HR horror story or (2) getting all riled up about the good/bad/ugly/exciting aspects of our chosen profession.

So let’s send a hearty congrats to the 2011-12 Outstanding Student Chapter Award Recipients:

  • Eastern Michigan University, #5041, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Louisiana State University of Shreveport, #5335, Shreveport, LA
  • McNeese State University, #5393, Lake Charles, LA
  • Meredith College, #5177, Raleigh, NC
  • Nicholls State University, #5431, Thibodaux, LA
  • Rutgers University, #5154, Newark, NJ
  • University of Guam, #5356, Mangilao, GU
  • University of North Texas, #5017, Denton, TX
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, #5333, Mayaguez, PR
  • University of Tennessee, #5254, Knoxville, TN

And of course I have to add that I’m super proud, as a Louisiana HR pro, of the fantastic showing by the three SHRM Student Chapters from the State of Louisiana who’ve been selected as Outstanding Student Chapters for the 2011-12 award year:   Louisiana State University of Shreveport, McNeese State University, and Nicholls State UniversityAs an added benefit, another Louisiana SHRM Student Chapter was recognized as a Runner-Up for the award  – Southeastern Louisiana University.

There is awesome work being done by SHRM student chapter members and their extremely dedicated chapter advisors.  Thanks to all of them for focusing on HR of the future.