Junior CHRP would be welcome (Editor’s Notes)

Designation for HR professionals without degree a good idea
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/23/2013

In the April 8 issue of Canadian HR Reporter, we outlined the fact that the required professional capabilities (RPCs) for the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation are undergoing an in-depth review.

This could alter the CHRP designation considerably and it is a story we are following closely. But, in the interim, we can play the guessing game as to what might be unveiled when the dust settles from the consultations.

Employment law

In my conversations with HR professionals, there seems to be a consensus that consideration should be given to adding deep knowledge of employment law as a core part of the CHRP. That makes a lot of sense.

Yes, employers keep legal counsel — either in-house or at an external employment law firm — on speed dial. For obvious reasons, an HR professional should never take on the role of employment lawyer.

But a sound understanding of the basic principles of the law as it relates to the workplace is fundamental. HR professionals should have a thorough understanding of concepts such as reasonable notice and the enforceability of restrictive covenants such as non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in contracts. They should know — and keep current on — how high the bar has been set when it comes to just cause dismissals and know that, even with something as severe as theft, extreme care needs to be taken.

Many HR professionals already know plenty about the law, but encoding it into the DNA of the CHRP would further elevate the designation.

Junior designation

One of the reasons the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) is conducting the review is to examine whether a new, junior HR designation should be introduced, according to Antoinette Blunt, chair of the standards advisory committee.

That would be a smart move for all of the associations ac-ross the country because there are many HR professionals who don’t have a university degree — and many of them feel isolated and abandoned by the degree requirement for the CHRP.

At the HRPA conference in Toronto earlier this year, a number of HR professionals told me of their displeasure with the CHRP — not because they didn’t like it, or think it worthwhile, but because they had a college diploma and not a university degree.

A common question from this group was: “Why would I go back to school now, when I’m already working full time, in order to get this designation?” Because of that frustration, some felt like they didn’t have a home anymore with their provincial HR association.

So some type of junior designation that doesn’t require a degree or the three-year experience assessment would be music to the ears of this crowd — and it could also bolster the membership ranks of the associations.

Adding a degree requirement to the CHRP designation made a lot of sense in terms of raising the bar of the profession. But associations have to remember that you don’t need a CHRP to practise
human resources in Canada, and shutting the door to this large segment of professionals — and what that means
in terms of lost opportunities for them when it comes to training and development — isn’t doing the profession any favours.

Reader Comments

How can an employer justifiably require a degree for a position that realistically uses Grade 10 language and math skills? This ‘inflation’ is just rhetoric for some people to feel better about creating unnecessary barriers to employment. Personally, I’d challenge an employer if it had an unrealistic education requirement for an entry-level job as a human rights issue; not everyone can afford nor may have had access to a post-secondary education for a number of protected reasons.

— Chantelle Pinder, commenting on Claudine Kapel’s Compensation blog, “Degrees becoming standard job requirement”

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