Changing Landscape of the Human Resources Certification

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For those of us who are familiar with the human resources profession, the terms such as being a certified human resources professional or a senior certified human resources professional are not new. These human resources certifications have been in vogue for almost three decades now. No doubt, the fact that any candidate who had a masters degree in the human resources field coupled with a certification in human resources was considered a top candidate for any vacancy in the human resources department. Some of the top certification bodies include SHRM, HRCI, CIPD etc, however the fact remains that these bodies are established and recognized based on their longevity and relevance in the human resources field. Many human resources professionals think that these HR bodies are actually backed by a state or a government organization, the fact is they are not and that is fine since they are not awarding any degrees or diplomas. 

Some of these top HR certifying bodies claim that they have been around for more than fifty or so years, although this is not true. They only changed their names to the HR profession later on. But as with any good or bad thing, a time comes when they start losing relevance and make way for new emergent factors. The same has happened with the quick changing internet era, and now the AI era.   

The good thing about these human resources certification bodies is the fact that they keep introducing newer methods and innovation in the human resources field, introducing new models, learning based articles, opinion articles and drawing up newer processes and procedures for the world to follow (and copy). Another great thing was the coming together of human resources professionals on a single (or sometimes a few more) platforms to share ideas and agree on certain aspects of the HR field. A complete set of HR functions, HR processes and procedures including forms are also available on these HR platforms to help and assist human resources professionals in the execution of their tasks and corporate duties. 

At the same time, anyone could sign up on these platforms, purchase the learning resources and attempt the exam and get certified. However this is not the complete story. 

One of the biggest hurdles in getting certified was the high costs associated with getting certified. These platforms, because of their popularity and general acceptance in the corporate HR world, charge huge sums of dollars, and not only that they also have a breakdown of payment model, where a willing participant has to pay for learning materials, pay separately for examinations and also for a hard copy of the certification. These HR platforms also require you to pay an annual fee – or basically issue you a certificate with an expiry date – so that you are forced to pay again and maintain your certification. This, although is incredulous, is a corporate strategy to ensure a constant flow of dollars to benefit or profit the certificate issuing body. 

At the same time, in the name of making the exams more tough and competitive – a strategy to ensure that people keep trying to get the certification – the exams are made super hard so that there is a fair chance that at least 30-40% of the people attempting the exam would naturally fail. This is a neat psychological trick used in the corporate world. Since those HR professionals who attempted and did not clear the exam, now think that those who do are specially skilled and extremely competent to do so. This is how some of these top rated human resources certifying portals have dominated the certification market and the global audience at large. 

In times like these, we have seen a huge influx of companies like LinkedIn with its training platform and Coursera among other large courses platforms to offer courses on human resources. One name that however sticks out in the human resources certifications is the US based HRAcademia. This platform, although comparatively in its early stages – founded in 2016, has gained traction and acceptance among hundreds of US based businesses with their human resources employees getting certified from this platform. 

HRAcademia has deviated from the norms of the human resources certification portal in the sense that it charges a fee which is monumentally lower than the rest of the HR portals. At the same time, they do not have a model where you have to pay different dollar amounts at various stages of your HR certification journey. It was ideally formed with the concept of providing financial relief and ease of access to the HR fraternity worldwide, but luck favored it too. In 2019, Covid struck and almost the entire world was forced to rethink their business models to be remote. HRAcademia was already 100% online, and the Covid-19 seemed like a boon for this business. This platform has seen its growth increase significantly (up to 400% sign ups everyday from around the world) since 2020. This is a telling story of how a few tweaks and an introduction of a new model can disrupt any industry.

Majority of the platforms in the human resources field that offer certifications have now switched to a 100% online model. They offer you learning materials, online exams and digital certifications or badges to prove your credentials, however the cost will always remain a factor. HRAcademia is currently the only HR certifying body that is low in cost. Not only this they also do not require you to pay any additional charges to remain certified, once you get certified you remain certified forever.
The lesson for the rest of the HR bodies is the same, adapt to the changing norms of the world, so that you do not become redundant. Other portals will however keep propping up to challenge them but if they do not offer better than their competition, then they are sure to die out. Most of these HR portals should take a leaf out of HRAcademia’s business model and apply some of the tweaks to their processes as well to stay alive in the HR certification game.

Also Read: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Your HR System



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