Dear Workforce What’s the Value of a Human Resources Certification

By Staff Report

Sep. 24, 2004

A Dear Not Just Asking:

For the most part, human resources certifications are not in the same league as other professional accreditations, such as in law or accounting. There are a lot of things you can do to prepare for a high-level, strategic role, but getting this certification isn’t necessarily one of them. There are manyskills you need to serve your customers, but again, a certification isn’t necessarily one of them.

Other skills and accomplishments are more important, such as:

  • Communicating effectively in writing and aloud.
  • Treating people with integrity.
  • Getting the most out of people, inspiring people and earning others’ trust.
  • Understanding business in general, and your organization and industry specifically.
  • Knowing what has made respected companies like the Container Store and SAS successful.
  • Having an understanding of topics such as workforce technology, employment branding, retention and workforce planning.

Also, you’ll want to know as much as you can about workforce-management metrics, including which workforce-management practices have been proved to greatly increase shareholder value (such as providing training and creating an atmosphere in which employees trust management) and which practices have been shown to have a weaker link to shareholder value (such as cost-cutting).

An HR certification is like a stamp of approval. It is accreditation, awarded by professional associations, that tells prospective employers you possess a demonstrated body of knowledge. However, an informal survey of consultants suggests that certifications are viewed as “nice to have,” but not a required credential for human resources professionals. In fact, only about 5 percent of the human resources jobs posted online with Monster list certification as a preferred credential.

Despite the fact that most human resources directors don’t require certification, it offers specific benefits in certain circumstances. If you work in a very focused area or specialty, such as benefits, the certification could serve as a hallmark of your specialization. Also, consultants who have moved to the United States from other countries often find it to be a great mechanism for quickly understanding country-specific nuances. U.S.-based human resources managers, especially those with increasing global responsibilities, will be similarly interested in international certification. For this reason, it’s not surprising that the Society for Human Resource Management is developing a certification program for global professionals.

SOURCES: Workforce-management metrics and skills: Todd Raphael. Certification/accreditation: Jeanne T. Lambkin, associate principal, Mellon, Boston, July 15, 2003.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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