First Five Takeaways From My SHRM Certification

Hi! I’m Christine- the head of HR at iRewardHealth.

I’m nine years into my career in HR and I work for an awesome company with wonderful co-workers, lots of responsibilities, and a bright future. I’m happy and making a difference.

So, why am I feeling the need to dive into something new?

My fiancé and I just bought a house, we’re planning a wedding, and I work full-time; the thought of adding anything else on top of that is a bit intimidating (and just asking for grey hair). I meet with my mentor, a wonderful woman named Sarah, about once a month. A few months ago when we met and I asked her: Why am I feeling like this? Sarah and I have been friends for years – she has her own HR Consulting company, is very involved in the community and local schools, and is just an all-around wonderful person. Her immediate response to my question was “Christine, you will never be happy being content. You should always be working towards something, big or small. If you aren’t, you’ll never be satisfied.”

That got me thinking: I don’t want to go back to school for another degree, but I love learning and sharing my newfound knowledge with others. As we were brainstorming ideas on what I could do to fill this void, two things came to mind: volunteer work or go for my HR certification.

From a professional standpoint, having an HR certification proves you know your stuff. It’s highly regarded in the HR world, forces you to stay on top of the ever-changing laws and regulations, and is a good refresher for all those things learned in school. The next step seemed like a given: go for the certification. I signed up for an HR certification course through my local SHRM chapter. While I take on this new challenge, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts that will follow my progression through the course and certification process. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

The first four weeks of SHRM certification class were an excellent reminder of just how versatile Human Resources really is. There are a number of things that HR professionals are required to recall at any moment, our brains are always full of what, at times, seems like useless information until you have that one employee relations issue where you’re grateful for your overstuffed brain.

Here are the top five things I’ve been reminded of so far in class:

1. It’s incredibly important to understand the business – you cannot make appropriate decisions regarding someone’s work situation, employment status, capabilities, or restrictions without a solid foundational understanding of the business and its expectations.

2. Employee engagement actually begins as soon as the recruitment process begins. Framing the hiring needs and expectations and aligning them with business needs and budgetary allowances is the first step in a long process of employee engagement and retention.

3. There are SO. MANY. LAWS. And we have to remember them (or at least where to reference them) all.

4. Having said that, employment law is one of my favorite parts of HR. Laws and regulations are written in black and white but the application may be gray. You have to pay attention to laws and regulations on a federal, state, county, city, and industry level, and that’s just scratching the surface. Do you have fewer than 50 employees? FMLA might not apply to your company… but maybe it does. Do you have fewer than 15 employees? ADA might not apply, but maybe a state law covers employees in its place. You see where I’m coming from…

5. HR is all about people: regardless of whether you sit in an office all day answering emails, or are out in front of 250 employees giving a training, there is always a living, breathing person at the end of your decision-making process.

Next Article: The Five Pillars of Employee Retention

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