Another day making decisions no one wants to make!

On the phone this week with a few HR Pros from the hospitality industry (think hotels and restaurants) some of the folks hit the worst by the pandemic. We start the call like most calls – “how are you doing”.

At some point during the pandemic, when this question is asked, I kind of just started laughing. How am I doing? How are you doing? It’s a pandemic! We survived another day! Does that answer the question?

My HR pro friend says, “It’s another day of making decisions that no one wants to make.” That struck me. She was right of course, that’s the job. Do we let go of Sally today, or cut some other important resource we can’t live without. Which is the lesser of two evils? Can I go home and have a drink already?

“It’s another day of making decisions that no one wants to make.” 

In a nutshell, this is leadership.

For all positives, we get out of being leaders we know there comes a huge downside. There will be times when you must make a decision that no one wants to make, but you have to. The knowledge of this doesn’t make it easier, it’s just knowledge.

What’s the silver lining of all of this?

I do think making tough, unbearable decisions, that no one wants to make, helps you as a leader understand real pressure from fake pressure. The greatest leaders I’ve been around didn’t panic in times that it didn’t call for it, or in times when it seemingly would have warranted it. They understood a call had to be made, no one was going to be happy, this is the job.

Here’s the thing though, with all of this. You can be in a position to make decisions no one wants to make, or you can be in a position where you are able to make decisions and stuff is just going to happen to you. Awful decisions are awful, but I’ll take that situation then not being able to make the decision.

The Pandemic has been hard on HR pros!

If we sat down and started to list out who has been most impacted by the pandemic on the jobs front, we would come up with a pretty interesting list! The vast number of unemployed would show us that almost everyone has been impacted, and, quite frankly, it kind of feels that way.

If we dig into the data side of what has really happened over the last six months, the picture looks less bleak for some, and a little scary for many, especially us HR pros. Appcast, a job advertising programmatic technology company, released its 2020 Midyear Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report recently that looks at all the activity around jobs. Stuff like which jobs are getting the most applies. What kind of jobs is being posted? Etc.

When we look at the macro-world of jobs, we begin to see some super exciting things around the winners and losers, in the job market, at this point in the pandemic. Some of the outcomes are certainly understandable. In healthcare, for instance, the number one job being posted is for epidemiologists. Okay, that makes complete sense! In the middle of a pandemic, we need more Epidemiologists to help us stop the spread.

One big thing that popped out at me instantly was the job function that had the greatest change in the rate of applies. Meaning, more people in this job function, started looking for a new job. Can you guess what job that would be!? Yeah, it was HR! An increase of 24.5% from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020.

Are you surprised by this? Why would HR, out of all jobs, be the one that is out looking at a higher rate than everyone else?

The reality is, and we saw this during the Great Recession as well. HR pros are often the first to be cut during poor economic times. After all the work, after all the words from the c-suite, after all the studies about the importance HR has on the success of organizations, we (HR Pros) are still one of the first to be cut when money gets tight.

Why does HR get cut first?

Over the next 12-36 months, most economist believes we’ll be in a tough job market. Pandemic hangover, the election, and an economy that was due for a pullback after a decade of expansion, HR jobs will be tough to come by for a while.

HR leaders and pros don’t lose their jobs if they clearly bring value to the organization. Our c-suite executives who are making these calls probably see value creation and sustainability by HR differently than HR sees itself.

We know, with the HR function, far too many of our peers are still too transactional in what they do. Of course, every function will always have a certain amount of work that is transactional, but in hard times, transactional work is the first to go. If you haven’t proven yourself to be strategic, and demonstrate what you’ll add value and increase productivity within the organization, you will always be a target to get cut.

HR is getting cut because too many of us still struggle to show organizations how great people practices drive the world’s most productive and profitable organizations.

The good news is we control this, and we can educate ourselves and prepare ourselves to be value-adders to any organization, no matter the industry or location.

I love the new SHRM Specialty Credential that focuses on Inclusive Workplace Culture. Think about where organizations are right now in the middle of the pandemic and all the energy around social justice. Organizations need HR pros who are going to drive change and make positive business results. Specialty Credentials educate HR pros faster than anything else on the market.

The HR Job market is not going to get easier anytime soon, and the best way to protect your career or put yourself in a competitive advantage over other job seekers, if to have skills and knowledge they don’t. We all make investments on ourselves. Some of those are health investments, or for our family, some are for our careers. The time to make those investments are when the world is changing the most.

The Weekly Dose: @Imperative – Peer to Peer Coaching for Leaders!

Today on The Weekly Dose I review the peer to peer coaching technology platform Imperative. Imperative is a leadership development platform that uses the power of peers to support each other as they manage remote employees and accelerated change in the workplace.

Two things we all need right now? Help with developing remote employees, especially our leaders, and we all have a bit of change we are facing! Imperative is a technology designed to evaluate your leadership style and connect you with another peer in your organization so you can do peer to peer coaching.

Through a video-based coaching platform, leaders meet in rotating pairs for scripted peer-to-peer coaching conversations that are dynamically designed to adapt as their needs change. I actually used my peer, Kris Dunn, to demo the technology with me, so we got a firsthand view of how well Imperative works.

What I love about Imperative:

  • First, you take a personal leadership inventory that gives you your leadership style and insights. This data is used to assist your peer coach in asking questions and digging in further. The platform also reminds you of your style and tendencies as you are coaching.
  • Kris and I both found the assessment accurate in how we would normally describe our normal leadership behaviors. Plus, we’ve both gone through many kinds of these assessments in our careers, and Imperative was right on the money in discovering what type of leaders we are.
  • The process of peer to peer coaching can be awkward, but Kris and I got on the platform and within minutes were actually moving through the process, and even though we are very close and work together often, we were prompted with questions where we actually learned new things about each other!
  • The technology keeps you on tasks and has each person actually taking notes so each person has something at the end, and gives you information for your next session to follow up on. There is definitely a feel to the coaching around pushing for higher performance and outcomes on both a personal and professional level.
  • I never felt self-conscious about what I was asking or being asked. That is by design, as it can be difficult first starting as a peer coach and the last thing you want to do is make people feel uncomfortable with the process.

Kris and I both did this from our homes and no issues with the technology at all. So, this is simple to use peer to peer coaching tool for your leaders who are working at home, or in different locations altogether on a normal basis.

We are in a new world of trying to figure out how do we develop our employees, and it’s critical right now we continue to develop our leaders. Peer to peer coaching is a great way to do this with an added benefit of it really teaches your leaders how to coach their own teams as well! Imperative is well worth the demo, and if you can just ask them to take a test drive with yourself and another peer!

 

Is Love Greater Than Fear?

The most famous quote from Machiavelli’s book “The Prince” is:

“Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Uh, oh, Tim is quoting Machiavelli, this blog has jumped the shark!

I heard this quote recently in a virtual HR event. HR speakers seem to come in two types:

1. Love is greater than fear. This is popular and most fall into this camp. It’s a feel-good play. The first rule of HR speaking, it’s always better to make the audience feel good, than to give them something they actually need.

2. Machiavelli’s assessment, It’s better to be feared. Less popular take, but I do hear it in the form of stuff like, “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to get results!”

I also have smart friends who pull Machiavelli’s name out anytime they want me to feel like I’m on the wrong side of something, “How ‘Machiavellian’ of you, Tim!” Okay, I get it, you’re smarter than me, how ‘Machiavellian’ for you!

The normal breakdown of leadership goes like this. You would rather be a beloved leader than a feared leader. Those leaders who are loved will be more successful than those who are feared. You have to be one or the other. Or do you?

I think all leaders deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties (A Few Good Men reference!) want to be loved, or at the very least, well-liked. It’s human nature. No one really wants to be hated. It’s stressful, people don’t want to be around you, it makes for uncomfortable hugs, etc.

On the love side, love can make you do some crazy things, but so can fear. I would drive all night to help my wife or kids with something if I thought they really needed me, even if they or I could probably find another alternative. I would also probably work all night if I thought I might lose my job and I need to pay my mortgage. Love and fear are powerful in getting us to act.

I think fear is bigger when it comes to crunch time scenarios. I might ‘love’ my boss a ton, but when the project is on the line and the company might lose a major project and cost us hundreds of jobs, fear is driving the truck, not love. Love won’t bring those jobs back, fear might just win those jobs back.

As leaders, this our dilemma. I want my team to love me, but I also need a touch of fear on the edge. It’s an imperfect balance.

What I know is love isn’t the only answer, no matter how many memes you make or posters you put it on. I don’t know if Love is bigger, it’s definitely more popular, for obvious reasons, but great leaders have used both. I want you to love me, I need you to fear me a bit, in the end, I’ll probably use both to get the job done.

What does the C-suite want out of an HR Leader?

You may be sitting at home right now, asking yourself this very question! I wonder what my CEO prefers I do in my role. It’s a valid question, and one I find that great HR leaders already know the answer to, because they ask the question, often!

When I wrote my SHRM published book, The Talent Fix, part of the research I did was to interview hundreds of c-suite executives. CEOs, COOs, CHROs, CIOs, etc. I wanted to find out what made a world-class HR and Talent leader versus an average leader. From that research came some definite DNA traits.

It’s fascinating to have these conversations, and one thing I did was pull them away from just talking about their current HR and TA leaders. All that would turn into is a performance review, and they were giving it to me, not the person who needed and wanted it! We delved into the concept of if you could choose the ‘perfect’ leader to run your HR and TA functions, what would that person look like? What would they do differently than all before them?

Here is what your CEO wishes we would do in our role as HR and TA leaders:

1. Provide Data-Driven Solutions.

So often what we provide our solutions based on gut and feel. Solutions that are generated to be CYA and eliminate HR work, while increasing work on our employees. Data-driven solutions are desired by the c-suite because it shows you understand the goals and outcomes of the overall business and you are designing a function that will help meet those outcomes. Old HR used subjective measures of success because those were easy to meet. New HR, better HR, uses the same measures of business success that our c-suite uses to measure actual success.

2. Increase your Executive Presence to become that Executive Mentor.

It’s really lonely at the top! I know, I know, cry me a river for the CEO and her new Mercedes SUV, right!? But seriously, think about the role of CEO. As a CEO you can’t really just go to a direct report and say, “Hey, I need some help, I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing!” That will never happen! But as an HR leader, we have this ability to be that confidant and executive coach for our c-suite, but only if we actually put ourselves into that role! That takes executive presence. The greatest HR leaders I’ve been around in my life, all played this role for their c-suite!

3. Be a Futurist.

Our CEOs believe we are firefighters, first responders at our best. While we love our real-world first responders, being viewed as that by your leader in HR isn’t a good thing. Having to fight fires all day, every day means we can’t figure out how to get ourselves out of the firefight and begin building a better state of being. Our c-suite also believes we do not have the level of technical savvy to even choose our own tech stack, so they choose it for us like we are children. Becoming a futurist, pulling ourselves above the fires, and building a strong understanding of how technology can help every aspect of HR, will put you on another level of HR and TA leadership.

Becoming great at anything isn’t easy. Don’t allow yourself to be told by anyone that it is. It’s something you’ll work towards the rest of your career. I find that super exciting, as lifelong learning and development is what keeps HR and TA new and interesting to me every single day!

I’m an SHRM-SCP. I’ve been certified in HR for over 20 years! I’m proud of the certification and the continual learning I’ve done to increase my skill sets. I recommend you take a look at SHRM Education Spring 2020 Catalog and pay close attention to these programs and e-learning modules:

  • 32 – Consultation: Honing your HR Business Leader Skills
  • 33 – Investing in People with Data-Driven Solutions
  • 34 – Powerful Leaders – Transform your personal brand and executive presence. Strategies for Leadership in HR.
  • 35 – Future of Work Fast Track

Use the code “HRRocks” when registering for a Spring or Summer SHRM Educational Program and receive $200 off until May 15th! (excludes SHRM specialty credentials and SHRM SCP/CP prep courses)

Are We Still Pissy About Unpaid Internships?

Back in the height of the Great Recession (think 2008-2010), when we had double-digit national unemployment numbers. It was dark times, especially for those students who were graduating and those trying to get internships.

Most organizations in hard times cut internship programs. It’s not that they are not important to recruiting, it’s just the ROI drops as unemployment numbers rise. If you have a lot of candidates, it’s tough to spend valuable resources on interns who aren’t really adding much value, if any, to most organizations.

Internships, at its core, is mostly a one-way proposition on the front side. We hire you to get experience. We pay you. We hope you’ll come back and take one of our open jobs and in the future help us be successful. It usually works out, but it’s not a guarantee. In hard times, “not a guarantee” is a hard budget item to get approved!

During the Great Recession the idea of offering “Free Internships” was being used by many organizations and a lot of people lost their minds!

“You have to pay people for the job they do!” “All Interns should be paid fairly!”

Basically, this all went away pretty quickly because the economy took off and we got to the point where we weren’t just paying interns, we were competing for interns and developing all kinds of programs and incentives for interns because talent was so scarce.

The argument wasn’t really solved, it just disappeared because it was no longer relevant. Well, say hello to my little friend! The Free Internship concept is back! Thanks, COVID!

Let’s talk a little bit about our current internship situation!

  • Most organizations have canceled internships for this summer. There will be significantly fewer internships for the summer of 2021, as compared to summer 2019
  • As unemployment rises and layoffs grow, more will cancel these programs.
  • New graduates who can’t find jobs, need experiences to build their resumes.

Should we offer Unpaid Internships? 

YES!!! 1000% YES!!!

Now, let me explain. If you can afford to pay your interns, but be a dick and not pay them! If you can’t afford to pay interns, but you can afford to give students and graduates valuable experiences, give them those experiences!!!

I never understood the argument that you must pay interns for their time. I did student teaching as part of my undergrad degree. I worked a full semester as a teacher and I paid full tuition and never got a dollar for that work! My wife is a Physical Therapist and she did many practicums (medical internships) where she had to pay for school, work full time without pay. Many professions have this happening.

We turn a blind eye to these examples and just believe it’s part of getting that degree, but it’s truly no difference. The reality is, the experience you get, the ability to put that brand on your resume and have a professional reference is very valuable. So, working for free almost always works out for the best for those who take on those experiences and give it there all.

For the record, I have paid my interns. I will pay my interns this year. But, I can’t tell you I’ll always be able to pay interns. At that point, I have a decision to make. Not have interns, which only hurts those kids who need an internship, or have unpaid interns. I’m completely comfortable having unpaid interns, as I know the value it gives those individuals.

I’ve gotten questions recently about unpaid internships, as I hear so many people canceling their internships for this summer. “Can we have an intern work remotely and be unpaid?” Well, it’s not officially an employee, but if you want to “mentor” a student, and that student what’s your mentorship, nothing is stopping you from helping that person out!

Understand, if you aren’t going to pay someone, you get what you pay for. But, I also truly believe that a student who says, “Hey, I can give you twenty hours per week to learn the business” we have a moral obligation to help these students out in a time of crisis!

Okay, hate me in the comments – but we need to be open to Unpaid Internships!

Josh Bersin Academy Launches New Remote Work Program!

As some of you know, I’m a Senior Faculty Member of the Josh Bersin Academy (we like calling it JBA for short!). It’s a great digital on-demand learning program for HR pros and leaders, with a really active international community. Currently, over 8,000 professionals in the academy and growing.

We are announcing a new program – the Remote Work Bootcamp!

“It is designed to help HR professionals, your teams, and your organizations get to the heart of these changes together as you navigate THIS public health crisis. But it will also help you develop new practices and habits that will improve the way you and your organization work remotely, long after the crisis has passed.” 

The 5 Field Manuals for this program include:

  • Remote + HR
  • Tools + Rules
  • Space + Routine
  • Trust + Relationships
  • Uncertainty + Resilience

Because JBA knows so many of us have current budget restraints, they are reducing the cost to $25/month for all the programs, or a full annual fee for $250. It’s a great deal to help improve yourself and your team.

What we learned during the Great Recession was that it became harder to find jobs. It became harder to get promoted. Those who put in the extra development and education put themselves in a better position to get the job and get the promotion.

What I really like about JBA is not only the great learning that takes place, but it’s the network you build with others in our community. This isn’t some static watch a couple of videos and move on type of course work. There’s a group of peers you go through each course with and the number is small enough where you can really work and learn from each other.

I recommend a lot of technology solutions and it’s rare that I recommend a learning opportunity. Go check this out and make the decision for yourself and your team. I was really surprised at how many full HR teams are going through this together!

 

What’s Wrong with Virtual Conferences? #Covid19 #Coronavirus

My Spring is usually filled with travel. This year because of the “Great Outbreak’ (I used this on Twitter before everyone, once you start to see it everywhere, just know, you and I, will know where it truly came from!) I’m not traveling at all, but I’m still doing a few conferences, virtually.

Virtual conferences have been around for a long time. Almost every organization I know has tried them at least once. Most of these were free events and while most have fairly high numbers organizations go back to the “real’ thing. Most of us tend to not like virtual conferences over the in-person conferences. Why?

I have an opinion that most virtual conferences fail to prosper is because we try and take the in-person experience and we just transfer it to online. Here’s everything we did at the in-person show, now it’s online and just via video. The thing is, an in-person presentation is quite different from an online presentation. It’s one reason so many people hate webinars! It’s just some person talking at you through your speakers with a deck in place of their actual face.

The reality is, these two experiences, in-person vs. virtual are truly two extremely different experiences. Just throwing content up online doesn’t make it the same. In fact, it kind of sucks for most attendees!

So, how could we make virtual conferences better? Big question! One no one has really figured out. We just keep throwing the same garbage up thinking it’s the future of conferences. It’s not, in its current format. Here are some things I think we should be doing to make virtual conferences something people will want to attend and pay for:

Live interaction with the community attending. One way to make this something people will remember is to get them more involved. I once did a “live” virtual event, which wasn’t really live. My presentation was recorded and then ran at a specific time and date, but I actually went into the chat while I was presenting and started asking questions and responding, etc. The chat blew up and everyone was interacting.

Live video feed of the presenter, not just the slides. We know people are more likely to watch a live person speak versus just watch a static slide for two minutes while you tell some story or make your point. Virtual conferences need to find out how to put the real person on screen.

Full professional production. You know what we love, all of us? Watching a well-produced TV show. If I’m running a virtual conference I’m not renting out a hotel ballroom and stage, I’m renting out a production studio and I’m going to make sure I’ve got great sound and lighting, etc. If you want someone to pay $1,000 or $2,000 to attend a virtual event, I better be entertained and it better look and sounds amazing. In the middle of the presentations give me live “anchors” talking about what we just saw and what we are about to see. Bring on a guest to talk shop, etc.

This will cost some money. It will cost way less money than an actual in-person conference, but if you want to make money doing virtual events, you need to up the production value a million times more than it is right now. No one is going to pay you big money to jump on a pseudo-Zoom conference call!

Announcement! I’m Joining the Josh Bersin Academy as a Senior Faculty Member!

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining the Josh Bersin Academy as a Senior Faculty Member!

I’ve run in the many of the same circles as Josh for years and, like many of you, have been always loved and admired his insights and data that he has shared with the community for so long, and I’ve seen him present countless times. So, of course, when he asked of my interest in joining, it was a no-brainer! Josh Bersin is the biggest name in our business!

For the past decade I’ve shared, and maybe overshared at times, everything I possibly could with this community of HR and TA professionals. So, this moves makes complete sense for me, because it allows me to continue doing what I love and sharing now with even more people and growing the community.

What’s the Josh Bersin Academy? 

The Josh Bersin Academy, composed of over 3000 members, is a center for the global co-creation of the future of HR by a Community of Practitioners sharing experiences in spirited conversation about what might be.

Adding expert knowledge to this conversation is the Senior Faculty group chosen by Josh Bersin, who of course, is the Dean of Josh Bersin Academy. Their role is to add expertise to the ongoing generation of knowledge by the broader community.  You can see my JBA bio by clicking on the link. I will be joining a distinguished list of Senior Faculty group to 21, plus of course, Josh Bersin as the Dean.  You can see all our bios here: https://bersinacademy.com/faculty.

What is my role as a Senior Faculty Member? 

Within the JBA platform and each specific course, we break up the members who are currently enrolled in courses into smaller teams/groups to have a better ability to have real, active interactions. As a faculty member, it is part of my role to get involved with these conversations, react, add insight, and answer questions.

Josh also will utilize our expertise for various content and research projects, that will add to the growth and understanding of the JBA members on an ongoing basis.

Why this role? 

As you can imagine, I get asked to do a lot of stuff! And I love to stay busy and try everything I can. This role in the JBA Academy allows me to continue on leading HRU Tech, continue to write and speak, and continue to work with the HR and TA Tech community that I have a passion for. I just need to find a way to clone myself or sleep much less!

Truly, I can’t wait to begin interacting with academy members! Helping share knowledge in our community is something that I really enjoy and it brings me great satisfaction.

So, check out the Josh Bersin Academy. It’s a tremendous way to increase your skills in HR, interact with like-minded professionals, and gain high-level insight from some of the best HR and TA minds on the planet (and me).

SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR? HR Pros – Which one should you get?

I’ve been HR blogging for ten years. You learn a few tricks about blogging after that amount of time. One is you find out what people actually want to read by the search words they use to find your blog and various blog posts.

One of the most all-time most searched for terms that find my blog is:

“SPHR or SHRM” or “SHRM or HRCI” or “SCP or SPHR” or some combination of those terms.

For my non-HR readers, SHRM is the world’s largest HR association. HRCI is an organization that has certified HR pros through education and testing for decades. A couple of years ago, SHRM decided to take that type of activity in-house and do it themselves, which led to competition around who’s certification is better SHRM or HRCI, or which certification should you get SHRM or HRCI?

I wrote about this a couple of times, years ago, and it still comes up and I still get questions about it, so I thought I would do an update on the topic. The first time I wrote about this was in December 2016 when SHRM first announced its move into the certification space. My opinion then was I’m going to have both, and see how it all plays out, but SHRM is the brand name that HR pro and leaders identify with, no one really knows HRCI outside of the HR world.

What’s changed in the past three years? 

Really, not much! It’s played out a little slower than I thought, and there hasn’t been really any big moves like I thought would happen on the HRCI side. My feeling back then was SHRM would slowly bleed HRCI dry and take over the HR certification space. That has definitely happened, but not at the pace I thought it would. I would have thought HRCI would have had to pivot by now or be out of business altogether.

But, a funny thing has happened. HR pros/leaders, by their nature, hate change and are slow to change, so those who had their HRCI certification, have basically just kept at it, instead of changing. If anything, we probably see more people now holding both certifications, which is really kind of silly to pay both fees. In fact, my plan is to not renew my HRCI certification the next time it comes up.

Why?

My feeling hasn’t really changed. SHRM is still, by a mile, the brand name that is recognized in the HR community. The reality is HR pros get an HR certification to better themselves, their career, and their HR knowledge. As an HR pro, when you go on an interview, almost no one is going to question whether you have an SHRM cert or an HRCI cert, only that you have the certification. Also, most executives will identify with SHRM as being the gold-standard, again mainly because the brand is so strong in the industry.

What’s Next? 

In a modern world, what is it that people really need to show you they know their stuff? We all know someone who has a certification in HR that basically sucks at HR, so we go, “well, certifications tell us nothing!” I don’t agree with that. Taking both the SHRM cert and the HRCI cert, those assessments are for real. You just don’t show up, without studying, and pass those. So, there is definitely knowledge that is learned if you have one. But, we know that knowledge, alone, isn’t enough to be great at a profession.

SHRM has launched Micro-credentials, like mini-certifications, where people can dive deeper into certain aspects of the HR knowledge base. I think those have merit.

I think both HRCI and SHRM have completely missed the boat on talent acquisition certification. I’m on the board of ATAP and because it’s newly formed, and mostly volunteer, we don’t have the capacity to make this happen, but someone like HRCI could do it and it would be huge. Corporate TA leaders, more than anyone, struggle to find talent that knows what they’re doing. Again, certification doesn’t mean you’ll be great, but it’s a good first step to show someone actually cares about their profession and educating themselves.

SHRM’s answer to Talent Acquisition was the micro-credential and I got to be an instructor for one of the classes for this credential and the content was really good. But, it’s mainly designed for non-recruiting, recruiters. HR Pros who have to recruit, but it’s not their full-time gig.

More and more, we are seeing that formal education, getting your bachelor’s in HR, etc. It doesn’t have the ROI that it has in the past. This has led to many organizations hiring for positions and no longer requiring a college degree. HR is clearly one of those fields where a degree shouldn’t be a requirement. Some of the greatest HR pros I know do not have a degree but do have certification, and their lack of a formal degree has no bearing on their ability in HR at all. All that said, getting the degree will get you where you want to go faster.

The key to being great in any field is how you educate yourself and keep up on the industry. Too often I find way too many professionals that believe the way you keep up on being a great professional in your field is by showing up to work each day. That is not how you become great at anything! If you do not keep yourself up to date in your field and interact with others in your field, you slowly (or sometimes quickly) become obsolete.

Is there something else I should be getting besides SHRM or HRCI?

I do not feel, in the HR community, there is something else that replaces either one of these right now. There are a ton of new micro-learning, on-demand digital learning sites that are out there (Udemy, Lynda, Khan Academy, etc.) that can augment the things you won’t learn studying for SHRM or HRCI certifications.

Also, I do believe any modern HR Pro/leader has to really work to educate themselves on the HR Technology space that is now a critical component and competency for great HR in today’s world. Neither SHRM or HRCI really go deep enough on HR technology, but you will never get all you need from any one organization.

This is why your HR network of peers and mentors is critical. Networking with HR pros outside of your normal everyday world. Facebook and LinkedIn groups have really been excellent for this, in an online format. Local SHRM groups, DisruptHR, and various other local HR groups are also a great way to network and stay up to date on the latest HR trends and topics.