Alphabet Soup


Two members of my team recently earned their CPP (Certified Payroll Professional) certification.  They studied hard, went to classes and sat for the exam.  They were both thrilled to learn that they passed and can now order their new business cards.

The HRIP (Human Resource Information Professional) is a fairly new certification that has been created by the leading professional association for HRIS professionals, the International Association for Human Resource Management (IHRIM).

IHRIM’s says the benefits for certification are:

  • It differentiates you from others through demonstrated competency
  • It shows you have knowledge of HR information management beyond that of your everyday tasks
  • It gives you a competitive edge when seeking promotions or a new position

Each certification body that I’ve worked with has similar benefits listed for their own certifications, but to they really add value or mean that someone who has the certification is more qualified for the job?  Are these benefits real and should we be looking to hire only certified people?

I asked one of our corporate recruiters this question.  Her take was that how much they look at it tends to depend on the hiring manager.  For example, we had a manager that wanted the Project Managers to have their PMP, but the current manager doesn’t really put much value on it.  That may be because of the organizations adherence to PMI’s methodology though.

I’m not the first one to ask about this though.  NetworkWorld published an article about the value of IT certifications last November where they discussed the findings of a 3 year IDC study reported on by Cushing Anderson.  The IDC study found that successful organizations rely on members that have up to date and applicable skills and knowledge.

Anderson said, “Training and certification are effective measures of how well team members can work with specific technologies, hardware, and software.” He continues, saying, “Used properly, certifications play key roles at the convergence of business and IT trends. IDC research shows a direct relationship between higher levels of certification and improved performance — when team skills improve, organizational performance increases proportionally. The percentage of relevant certifications a team holds is a reliable measure of an IT team’s functional capability. Each new certification increases team performance.”

Is Anderson concluding certified people are better by the nature of certification?  While it is a component, I don’t think that’s all there is to it. Sure, to get the certification, you have to prove a basic level of competency and experience, so we start with a common baseline which means that I can expect a certain level of knowledge.  That’s just where it starts though.

If we take a look at most any of the valued certifications, we’ll find that they have a re-certification process that requires a certain number of Continuing Education Hours in the certification period.  I’d argue that this is one of the real value adds to ensuring that the certified has that ‘competitive edge’.

The HRIP requires that every 3 years, you have 60 hours of continuing education.  60 hours may not seem like much, but we have to remember that it’s above and beyond doing things like reading this blog.  It’s getting additional training to stay current, and on top of trends in the industry.  This is a great value to me as a manager and I know that if my staff is continually seeking training, they are going to have those up to date and applicable skills and knowledge that will make them a high performing team.

I’ll be getting my HRIP, will you?

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