Reciprocal recognition popular with HR: Survey

Agreements could increase mobility of HR professionals

For one South African HR professional, who worked in HR for 20 years in her native country, Canada’s lack of recognition of international HR designations is frustrating.

“There is very little difference in HR practices. If anything, I was exposed to more complex situations involving human rights, diversity, engagement and talent management in my pre-Canada work and yet my designation is not recognized in Canada,” said Sasha Zito, one of 475 respondents to a recent Pulse Survey on the recognition of HR designations in different countries.

Nearly three-quarters (74.9 per cent) of respondents to the survey by Canadian HR Reporter and the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) think the practice of HR is similar enough across countries to make the mutual recognition of designations possible.

When Shannon Zunn, an HR manager at Scotiabank, relocated from Canada to New York earlier this year, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) in the United States wouldn’t recognize her CHRP.

“I realize an important aspect of HR is the knowledge of local employment legislation but that is something that can be learned quickly, just as you would learn a new company’s policies when you start a new job. The function of a business partner or advisor is completely portable, no matter where in the world or what industry you are working in,” said Zunn.

The survey found 84.8 per cent of respondents think mutual recognition agreements between CHRP-granting bodies and other HR organizations, such as HRCI and England’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, are a good idea. Two-thirds (66.7 per cent) think mutual recognition would enhance the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, while only 9.7 per cent think it would erode the designation.

Mutual recognition agreements would help Canada attract international HR professionals, while a lack of recognition impedes the mobility of all professionals, said Sue Knowles in Thunder Bay, Ont., who has been practising HR for 18 years.

“I would hesitate about moving to another country right now knowing there’s the chance my HR designation wouldn’t be recognized,” she said.

More than one-half (59.4 per cent) of respondents think there should be one North American qualifying knowledge exam for HR. In the absence of such an exam, HR associations could set up a formal method for assessing international HR designations, said Michael Johnstone, HR co-ordinator at O’Hanlon Paving in Edmonton.

“It shouldn’t be too onerous for HR associations to evaluate which designations meet our standards,” he said. And other professions with barriers to credential recognition would then be able to learn from HR, he added.

“As recognition across jurisdictions is a common problem in other professional designations, the HR profession should be a leader in finding ways to make this process work,” he said.

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