The HR profession is constantly evolving as it is continuously impacted by economic, social, business and legislative changes. Recertification ensures HR professionals with the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation actively participate in professional development (PD) activities that keep them up to date with changes.
From the time they achieve their designation, CHRPs must demonstrate their ongoing commitment to professional development by recertifying every three years. This can be done either by PD activities or reassessment by passing the National Professional Practice Assessment (NPPA).
The most common way CHRPs accumulate recertification points is a combination of significant work projects or initiatives, continuing education and leadership activities. Recertifying this way requires a person to accumulate 100 points in a three-year period, in at least two of the five categories on the recertification log:
• significant work projects/initiatives
• leadership activities
• instructional activities
• continuing education
• research or publication.
While HR professionals are required to accumulate points in at least two categories, they are encouraged to consider all areas because a balanced, diverse approach will help them achieve the recertification requirements more easily.
The category for significant work projects/initiatives reflects the importance of experience and the application of learned behaviours. It allows on-the-job learning efforts to be recognized differently and be seen as a core part of the recertification process.
Significant HR-related contributions to an organization, updates or process improvements can be claimed only the first time under this category — simply being in an HR position, performing normal, day-to-day duties, does not count. Most CHRPs are involved in out-of-the-ordinary projects. These projects are the best way to enhance or reinforce their abilities as HR practitioners and strategic business partners.
Another commonly used method is continuing education. This is a broad recertification category that is widely used, regardless of its place on the log. It includes university courses, certification programs, executive or management development programs, workshops, conferences, webinars and self-directed learning.
Continuing education remains a building block for HR professionals and it involves acquiring new knowledge, staying up to date with contemporary HR issues and relevant changes in their profession and developing new skills.
Another common way CHRPs accumulate recertification points is through leadership activities such as mentoring and volunteering. Through mentoring, CHRPs give back to their profession and also develop their own skills as managers, strategists or consultants.
The Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA) offers its members a mentoring program and great feedback has been received from participating junior CHRPs. They were able to build on their social network, learn more quickly and easily from their mentors’ experiences and use the activities towards their recertification.
Volunteering as a means for recertification is available in both business and community activities. CHRPs often take advantage of volunteer opportunities at their local or provincial HR associations — they like to be heard and contribute directly through work at senior levels on boards of directors, a variety of committees or task force projects within those associations.
Recertification points are also often accumulated for volunteering in non-HR associations or organizations.
The least used categories for accumulating CHRP points are instruction and research or publication. Instruction — which includes developing or teaching HR courses at a university, college, institute or workplace — might seem of particular interest to academics or CHRPs involved in corporate training, but lately there have been consultants actively involved in corporate HR as well as teaching on a part-time basis.
Research or publication has been used mainly by those who author journals or case studies or who completed a master’s degree or doctoral thesis in an HR area or business-related subject. The subcategories related to publishing a new HR text or new edition of an existing HR text are not so common.
Writing the NPPA as a means for recertification is listed as a separate category on the log and treated as a different method to recertify. Very few people choose this method, probably because they see greater value in engaging in continued professional development that helps them to grow as an HR professional. Members are also encouraged to be proactive, to understand the process and purpose of the requirement and engage in PD activities ahead of time within their three-year reporting period.
Overall, the process should be seen as a fulfilling experience — every recertification application provides an opportunity for each CHRP to look at a compilation of three years’ worth of “living and breathing” his achievements in human resources.
Rodica Zamfir is manager of membership and certification at the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA). She has been actively involved with the recertification process for many years and can be reached at email@example.com or (403) 541-8704.