‘It depends’ captures overall opinion of respondents
Most HR professionals would never hire someone without an interview — or two or three — but that is exactly what we do with the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. In some professions, it is impossible to become a member without an oral examination or interview of some kind. These are often conducted by panels and focus on matters of ethics and professional practice.
It could also be noted a core tenet of the self-regulation approach to professional regulation is the decisions about members, or potential members, of the profession are best made by members of the profession. The idea behind this Pulse Survey was simply to see where HR professionals stood with respect to the idea.
For each of the questions, except for the last, the “definitely” option was the most popular. Respondents thought: it would be good if members of the HR profession were more involved in registration and certification processes (36.9 per cent); there would be sufficient interest in participation on the part of members of the profession (39.4 per cent); candidates would derive additional benefit from this kind of face-to-face interaction with members of the profession (41.9 per cent); participation in the registration and certification processes would benefit participating members (40.6 per cent); and such participation would lead to better registration and certification decisions (31.9 per cent).
The exception was the last question, where the most popular response disagreed with the idea such participation should be required (35.5 per cent).
The responses to the questions were highly correlated — respondents who were positive about the idea of members of the profession being more involved in registration and certification processes tended to reply positively to all the questions. Those who weren’t tended to reply negatively to all the questions and those who were in between tended to be in between on all the questions.
There was an interesting U-shaped relation of opinion with tenure in HR. For respondents not yet in the workforce, more than one-half (55.5 per cent) thought it was “definitely” a good idea for members to be more involved in the registration and certification processes. That rate declined for those with zero to four years in HR (48.1 per cent), and five to nine years (33.5 per cent) and bottomed out at 21.8 per cent for those with 10 to 14 years’ experience.
But then it began to rise again. For those with 15 to 19 years in HR, 44.3 per cent thought it was a good idea versus 41.7 per cent for those with more than 25 years’ experience.
This is interesting because people who have yet to enter the workforce are usually the most leery of any change to the certification process. The comments suggested respondents who were in the process of establishing themselves in the profession looked forward to this kind of face-to-face contact with members of the profession. Respondents with long tenure in HR were more positive as well, which is not surprising. Those respondents in the middle, who were least positive about the idea, often noted they were “simply too busy” for this kind of participation.
Of course, the devil is in the details and the “maybe” option had a sizeable response for each of the questions, ranging from 28.3 to 34.9 per cent. The comments were quite helpful in understanding the sizeable middling response. One point of difference is many respondents were not comfortable with “certification by multiple choice,” whereas others liked the clear-cut, black-or-white nature of multiple-choice tests.
Some respondents felt having a face-to-face component would complement the multiple-choice assessment, whereas others felt it would reintroduce an element of subjectivity to the certification process. The concern the certification process would become an “old boys’ club” was expressed by more than one respondent. Many of those who liked the idea noted the face-to-face component would add to the sense one had joined a profession.
Many respondents indicating the middle option noted the involvement of members in the registration and certification processes would be a positive addition if the involvement was structured, with a broad cross-section of members, with well-trained members and conducted in a transparent manner. In the end, perhaps the idea that best captures the overall opinion of respondents is it all depends on how it’s done.
Claude Balthazard is director of HR excellence and registrar at the Human Resources Professionals Association in Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].