So, back in March, I told you that HRCI was going to die! You know the whole SHRM started their own certification and why would anyone want two certifications. If given the choice the smart HR pro is going to choose SHRM over HRCI. I assumed, at that point, HRCI would pack up camp and just slowly go away.
Well, they packed up camp! Move across the street from SHRM (I mean literally across the freaking street!) and set up a new camp. I think that’s funny and cool, and shows some of the spunk the HRCI crew has in them.
We all know the story. HRCI was in bed with SHRM for 39 years, then SHRM decides it wants to be in bed by itself and start their own certification. My take then, and now, is the same, smart move by SHRM to drive more revenue. Good decision for the business, mass confusion for the membership.
So, HRCI, like most companies facing survival, did some things to make sure they will go on another forty years and some things I really like. Check these out:
– Year around continuous testing. One major problem with most certification bodies is they get stuck in having their one or two times per year testing. Great for them, awful for the people wanting to certify. Technology now allows you to test anytime, anywhere. No waiting. Test when you’re ready. Smart.
– Voucher program. Allows organizations to buy exams in bulk. So, you have a large HR shop and want to get all of your people certified, buy in bulk and save money. Also, certifying prep organizations can also buy in bulk and sell packages for prep and testing all in one. Again, this is something organizations like because they can pay for it all at once. Smart.
– APHR – Associate Professional Of HR – HRCI was super smart with this one. Before students couldn’t truly get their PHR. They could take test exam but had to wait like two years before HRCI would issue the certification. Now, HR students (and there are 1,700 HR college programs around the country) can take this exam as a student and get the certification. Brilliant on so many levels! You now lock up students with an HRCI cert from the beginning and they’re more likely to move forward with additional HRCI certs. Plus, it’s a huge audience to go after that just keeps getting bigger each year.
– 2nd Chance Insurance – Currently for $150 you can hedge your bets on failing your HRCI exam and almost 45% of people fail! It’s tough! This is a little insurance policy to take it again the second time for a fraction of the cost. Smart. People love buying insurance! Smart.
– Top Employer’s Institute – HRCI partnered with Top Employer’s Institute out of the Netherlands to certify complete organization’s HR shops. Basically, this is a third party coming in and ensuring your HR shop is providing best practices to your organization and you have your shit together. Everyone loves trophies! Smart.
I still don’t know how all of this will end, but my declaration of HRCI dying might have been premature! What I like is they’re moving fast and adapting to what HR pros want. This is a weakness of SHRM who tends to move much slower in making changes, even obvious changes.
HRCI has nothing to lose. They’re smaller. More nimble. They’ve got a little brother edge to them which I like. They’ve still got some huge marketing challenges ahead. First and foremost is SHRM’s advantage of messaging and marketing to their full membership about the advantages of their own certifications. That will be tough to overcome, but I don’t see them going away anytime soon.