The New SHRM Certifications

I have to admit that I was skeptical.

When the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced it would launch its own certifications that would rival the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications, I wondered what SHRM was thinking. For years, the PHR and SPHR have been recognized as the “gold standard” of HR Generalist certifications.  Now it appeared SHRM was withdrawing its support of these certifications, in favor of its own – an interesting decision, I thought.

SHRM is currently offering two, competency-based certifications – SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) – both designed for HR Generalists. Much more information can be found here. The SHRM-CP is geared to a professional with entry to mid-level HR experience and the SHRM-SCP toward those with advanced HR experience. Both of these certifications have educational and experience requirements in order to be qualified – click here.

Then I discovered that SHRM would offer holders of the PHR and SPHR the opportunity to achieve SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP by taking a tutorial and completing the online registration for the SHRM Certification site. Those who have taken the PHR and SPHR know how tough those tests are and to be able to achieve a new certification WITHOUT having to take the test is a blessing! The criteria for the SHRM certification is relatively simple for PHR/SPHR holders, here is what is needed:

  • Have the PHR or SPHR designation in good standing
  • Be a member of SHRM

If you meet these two criteria, you can apply to get the SHRM certification that aligns to your current PHR or SPHR (SHRM-CP for PHR and SHRM-SCP for SPHR). The application process is easy – here are the steps.

  1. Visit (this takes you to and click “Apply Now.”
  2. Create your account including indicating your current certification status. This takes about 5 minutes to complete.
  3. A confirmation email will be sent to you following the completion of your account (the subject of the one I received was “Profile Setup Confirmation”). This confirmation email includes disclaimers and requires you to review the Code of Ethics, etc. This took less than 5 minutes to complete.
  4. After completion of the above email, another email link will be sent to you within a few days with the subject “Online Tutorial Pathway.” The link takes you to an interactive online tutorial explaining the certification, in depth, and requires you to complete both a competency assessment and a brief analysis of 3 cases followed by 3 questions each. The tutorial took me 45 minutes.
  5. Almost immediately after completing the tutorial, I received an email indicating that I had completed the required steps. It included a timeframe for when the certification request would be processed.
  6. Later that same day, I received the email stating that I was now certified SHMR-SCP. Voila!

The whole process took less than one hour and required no payment. The recertification requirements include completing 60 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) within the next 3 years and payment of $100. More about the recertification requirements can be found here. If you currently do not have the PHR or SPHR, you would follow the same process to apply to take the exam.

Visit for more details.


The Value of Leadership Development – Part 3 of 3

To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The project is over! What an action packed learning experience I have had. I am confident that I have grown professionally and personally and was exposed to things that I would not have normally been due to this project. By far, it has been one of the best development opportunities I have had in my career. Our group successfully met each milestone and conquered every deadline – we spent so much time together, I view them as family. We all hung in there together and finally delivered our project. What a whirlwind!

Over the course of 9 months, our team completed our project which was included analyzing a business challenge, identifying future state and clearly delineating steps and/or processes to move from present to future state. Over the course of the project, our goal remained consistent however our path took a few turns and changed. I felt I knew the value of agility however this project showed me how agility can really be a valuable skill to have. Agility is not only the ability to effectively navigate professional situations but also can also help when handling and addressing conflict, building rapport and forging new relationships.

Of the skills I learned during the program, I would have to say my biggest takeaway was the ability to grow and develop my soft skills. In addition to agility, I also had the opportunity to work on my conflict resolution, critical and process thinking, big picture focus and emotional intelligence. I look back at the project (and the massive briefcase I have filled with notes, presentations and other project related items) and have fond memories. I learned a lot about my team members and even more about myself. Now, back to work!

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Is HR Certification Right for You?

Arguably, achieving professional certification in your area of expertise shows commitment to your profession and to continuous learning. With so many certification options out there, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Which one will advance your career? Which one has the best visibility? Which one is worth the effort to get it? The HR profession is no exception when it comes to having volumes of certification opportunities. But which one is more valuable – PHR, CCP, CPLP, CEBS, ABCXYZ? HR certifications can drown you in a sea of letters. Finding the right certification(s) for you is an important first step on your professional development path.

I often get asked,  “Which certifications are right for me?” And my answer comes in typical HR fashion – “it depends.” There are so many to choose from with new certifications coming out from time to time. It can be a tough decision, but once you have identified your needs and career path, selecting the right HR certification(s) can be easy. Here are some questions to research when deciding on a certification. Like any investment, a certification requires digging in deep so you know all there is to know about it before you invest your time and money.

Is the certification relevant in the workplace? One of the best indicators of how relevant a certification is in the workplace is how many professionals hold it. Some organizations, like the Human Resources Certification Institute (, have over 130,000 professionals holding their certifications. It usually takes 3 to 5 years for a certification to be “tested” in the marketplace and for it to become relevant. The “testing” period includes early adopters becoming certified and employers finding the KSAOs (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics) learned by the certification holders to be relevant and valuable in the workplace.

Is the certification specialized or general enough? There are both generalist (PHR and SPHR) and specialist (CPLP, CCP, CEBS, CIR) HR certifications. I have found value in holding both. If your goal is work in a specialist role, it can be valuable to pursue a specialist certification. But be warned, some specialist certifications take months of studying and taking several tests before they are achieved, which requires stamina (and money!). The generalist certifications are good if you are seeking a well-rounded knowledge base. The specialist certifications require more focused KSAOs.

What are the requirements to attain and retain the certification? Some certifications require relevant work experience or education, or both, or neither. Some certifications require specific or general continuing education (CEUs). Before working toward a certification, it is important to really know the intricacies of what is needed to attain and retain the certification. Having sat for several certifications tests, I can honestly say that I will do pretty much whatever I need to do in order to maintain those that I have. CEUs can come from many sources, including online education, on the job functions, conference attendance and serving in professional leadership roles. Take the time to understand what you need to attain and retain the certification(s) you choose.

How will the certification advance my career? If you work in HR, is it valuable to take the time to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)? The answer is – “it depends”. Everyone’s personal career goals may be different. You should know what certification will help you meet those goals. Take the time to research certifications and look at those who hold them, both online and within your professional networking groups. I spent a lot of time researching on LinkedIn and Twitter before I decided to pursue mine.

Should I get formal education or pursue certification? I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked this. The short answer is “both.” I decided that my education would be general (BA in Business, MBA and pursuing an MA in HR Management) with specialist certifications (SPHR, GPHR and CCP). This plan is working for me. Nothing replaces formal education, especially when it comes to meeting job requirements. Certifications show a commitment to continuous learning by their CEU requirements. Consider both education and certifications, although some professionals do one or the other. What works best for you?

Certifications should enhance and grow your KSAOs. I have learned (and continue to learn!) so much about HR and myself through the attainment and retention of my certifications. While certification is not for everyone, it can be the differentiator when the final candidate is selected for a position.

Here is a short list of some good HR certifications with their organization websites. There are other valuable HR certifications. The Society for Human Resource Management ( is launching a new competency-based certification in 2015. As I learn more about it, I will share with you.

American Institute for Recruiting and Sourcing (formerly) (

Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR)

American Society of Healthcare Human Resources Administration (

Certified in Healthcare Human Resources (CHHR)

American Society for Training and Development (formerly) (

Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)

Human Resources Certification Institute (

Professional in Human Resources (PHR)     Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

International Coach Federation (

Professional Certified Coach (PCC)

International Federation of Employee Benefit Plans (

Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)

World at Work (

Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)


What HR certifications do you suggest? What are your certification stories?

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The Value of Leadership Development – Part 2 of 3

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

Since the last post about the Leadership Development program, a lot has happened. I have learned the full DMAIC process and worked with the team to build micro problem statements, data collection plans and root cause analysis. As you may know, DMAIC stands for:

D – Define (define the problem or customer requirement)

M – Measure (create and implement a data collection plan)

A – Analyze (analyze the data, process steps and root cause(s))

I – Improve (come up with solution ideas and test these ideas)

C – Control (determine control methods and implement response plan(s))

The DMAIC process is a sensible way to look at a problem and find ways to fix the problem and build a sustainable solution. An area we have spent a lot of time on is the Analyze phase. Dissecting and “boiling down” a problem gives us a chance to reflect on the challenge and find feasible and relevant solutions that not only solve the issue but can enhance and build the business. Having a thorough understanding of the cause and the effects of the cause is vital to successful solution. Sometimes this requires having difficult conversations that could be politically charged.

In addition to working on the project and DMAIC (and all my other activities and work!), I have completed DiSC, Hogan Assessments and a comprehensive individual development plan (IDP). IDPs are very important to development and growth and every professional should have one. Sometimes it is hard to look in the mirror and see your weaknesses and threats. Having an honest conversation with yourself and building your personal SWOT analysis is the cornerstone to your professional foundation. The Hogan Assessment was particularly valuable to me. I found my strengths and derailers to be “spot on” and I was able to use them to build my IDP successfully. The good thing is that I can now work on it!

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Holy Smokes!

I am sure you have heard. CVS/Caremark is the first national drug store chain to announce it will no longer sell tobacco products by October of this year. Good? Bad?Indifferent? This decision will cost CVS/Caremark (and its shareholders) $2 billion USD a year in revenue annually. That is a lot of tobacco sales.

Was this a prudent business decision? If you listen to Chief Medical Officer Troyan A Brennan, M.D., it was. This bold stance on tobacco sales has set the bar high for drug stores across the nation. The company is moving to the direction of becoming part pharmacy, part grocery store and part primary care provider. The intent is that stopping the sales of tobacco products will position CVS/Caremark, the second largest player in the chain drug store industry (Walgreen’s is #1), as a new type of company committed to the overall health of its patrons. The future will tell if the formula works. CVS has to work on its image in order to achieve these goals. The tobacco sales decision is a step in that direction, for sure.

So, what does this mean for the workplace? Many companies have some sort of tobacco use policy and banned or limited smoking and use of tobacco products on their campuses. CVS’s decision is certainly in alignment with this trend. Will insurance plans start credentialing CVS stores as primary or urgent care facilities? If CVS sees their vision to fruition, it will offer a fast and convenient alternative to physician offices and urgent cares. The hospital where I work has a CVS within walking distance. From time to time, I see employees go to that CVS for cigarettes and even see them smoking in the parking lot of CVS. Will CVS join the ranks of companies prohibiting the use of tobacco on its premises?

I wonder how CVS’s transformation to health care provider will shape the market share for the retailer. I am not sure I see CVS as a place to get my blood work done or have a physical. They do give flu shots, though. And I can always get a bag of chips when I pick up my Advil.

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Bring the Flame Thrower…Every Day!


Culture can make or break a company. As the “keeper of the culture” where I work, I find it imperative to sustain, maintain and enhance our culture – our culture is one of the things that makes us the apple of our patient’s eye and the regional employer of choice. Like many HR pros, I am always looking for new and inventive ways to enhance corporate culture. I am open to ideas.

In January, I had the pleasure of seeing Jim Knight (, @KnightSpeaker) speak at the January GMSHRM meeting. Jim has many years in training and development including a long stint at Hard Rock (which explains the “rock and roll” style and language he uses). He is dynamic and has good ideas. He uses energetic style to convey how he sees culture – and he sees culture the way companies should. I had a few takeaways that I want to share. These are some thought provoking quotes from his presentation. The title is another one Jim shared.

  • Hire rock stars, not lipsynchers
  • Great sustainable brands create memorable experiences
  • Brands must differentiate themselves from the rest in order to survive and thrive
  • Don’t terminate employees, promote them to customer
  • Brand ambassadors are cultural amplifiers
  • Every life has a story, if we stop to read it
  • Position your brand to be tattoo-worthy

And one of my favorites…

  • Plant seeds today to create an army of giants tomorrow

I left with so many ideas, I thought I would bust! Jim kept the conversation going and was gracious enough to hang out afterwards to answer questions and interact with the audience. If you get the chance, see Jim Knight. He was great!

What culture enhancing ideas do you have to share? I am interested in hearing from you.

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The Value of Leadership Development – Part 1 of 3

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

Developing and growing leaders has been, is and will be a priority for organizations. Without strong, competent and agile leaders, the success and preservation of a company’s market share can be negatively impacted. Some companies “wing it” and hope future leaders will step up to the bench and throw their hat in for consideration. Other companies take deliberate steps to seek out high potential talent and invest in them. These companies spend valuable time and resources training, developing and motivating these high potential employees with the hopes they will be the future senior leaders of the organization. These leadership development opportunities are evidence of a company that values their talent and wants to retain for future greatness.

In November 2013, I was honored by being selected by my employer for our Leadership Development program. Less than 5% of our leaders were chosen – what an exciting development opportunity! I will be working on a fundraising project for future growth and expansion of the hospital system until May 2014. There is a lot of potential to grow the existing fundraising programs which will provide capital for system-wide growth. We meet weekly (at least) and are putting together plans for a sustainable program. Needless to say, I have busy over the last 2 months.

The Leadership Development program is highly structured with detailed milestones and benchmarks. Each member of the program (almost 50 leaders in total) is working on one of the 8 selected projects – all of which have deep and expansive impact on our hospital system. And each team has a project champion, project sponsor and in-house Organizational Development Consultant to keep us on track. There are formal, full day meetings monthly with each team reporting out and presenting the project progress to date. Some of the benchmarks so far have included project overview, customer identification and SIPOC and CTQ Trees creation. Now we are working on data collection methods.

I have learned a lot from my team mates who include professions like telemedicine, nursing, research, IT, security, philanthropy and a DMAIC expert who is also a Six Sigma Black Belt. This opportunity has afforded me incredible professional and personal development. There is much more to come.

Have you been a member of or work for a company that has a Leadership Development program? I would like to hear about your experiences.

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#19 in the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work For in 2014!

For those in the know, Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF) is a great employer. I have worked for BHSF since October 2011 and have seen first hand the great things we do for our employees and their families. As the article states, BHSF has “Culture of Caring” Caring for patients, guests and employees. With so many great benefits and other perks, our employees can have long, fruitful careers at the “Best Place to Be Your Best”. Find out more at

Here is some of the press

CNN Money


Great Rated

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The Value of Your Network

“The mark of a good conversationalist is not that you can talk a lot. The mark is that you can get others to talk a lot.Thus, good schmoozer’s are good listeners, not good talkers.”  Guy Kawasaki

As many of you know, I got my current position through good old-fashioned networking. And building my network took (and still takes!) time, consistency and effort. I consider my network to be one of my most valuable assets. I can rely on it to help me get questions answered, develop professionally, provide me with ways to expand my skills and to offer a friendly ear to hear about my challenges. I have known many networkers (and some so-called networkers) over the years and I have gleaned some best practices for networking. These have surely helped me.

We all need to tend to and build our networks. Our network can be one of the few consistencies we have in our career even as it grows and changes. I think of my network as a garden. Even when you aren’t growing things, you still need to care for the soil so that when growing season starts you are ready to go. The same goes for a network – you have to have the infrastructure built before you actually need it. Your network should include a broad spectrum of contacts from both inside and outside your field as well as inside and outside your company. This way you can identify areas of development to help you and your company get to the next level. I call on my internal network for consistency within our walls and my external network for best practices and ideas to enhance our business.

The toughest part of building our network can be stepping out of our comfort zone and meeting new people (or learning more about those you already know). Here are some things I keep in mind as I continue to expand and develop my network.

Be Seen. I belong to several organizations inside and outside our business and make every effort to attend meetings and events. While I have a busy schedule, I put these events on my calendar and make arrangements to attend as many events as I can. I find it really important to get out there and be seen. This can show others you are committed to the organization and your own development and it is a great way to build bonds with others.

Be Heard. I strive to meet someone new or learn something new about someone I already know as often as I can. When I go to meetings and events and have the chance to network, I start with the people near me and see where it goes. I have found that many people at events are a bit anxious about meeting new people (and I get this way, too) and a great way to stop that feeling is to start chatting. It is amazing what you can learn! Another way to get heard is to volunteer with professional organizations. Serving on a board or committee can get your seen and heard. Just make time for it – everyone is busy.

Be Sincere. I feel that the goal of networking is to offer your skills and abilities to others and help them develop and, as we all know, when someone succeeds they usually remember those who helped them get there. When meeting someone new, let them know how you can help them by offering your skills, abilities and knowledge. Remember to be genuine and be yourself.

Think Globally. I have connected with people from other companies, industries and geographies. This helps me keep a global perspective while working in South Florida. And keeping this global perspective has gained me relationships outside of my comfort zone. Keep an open mind when meeting people – every one has something to offer. I have a nice network in Egypt that I met at the SHRM Leadership conference in 2009 and still chat with them regularly. How cool is it to know HR professionals in EGYPT?! We just need to listen to them.  Oh and be that person who goes up and introduces yourself to the person standing alone. You never know who you will meet!

And Don’t Forget. Don’t forget about your network. We all get busy and life gets in the way, but find a way to engage your network. Before I had networking hardwired into my psyche, I populated my calendar to make sure I sent Tweets, did LinkedIn posts and wrote blogs. It took some time but now it is second nature, the key is to keep the conversation going and others will listen.

The time to build a network is when you don’t need it. Then when you do need it, your connections are there to support you. I know many people who are great networkers and those that aren’t have an opportunity to become great networkers. The satisfaction in knowing that I can email or call someone to get answers to almost anything helps reduce my stress, provides me with support system and allows me freedom to help others. We are all in this together; why not help each other out?

Last night, I attended the Greater Miami Society for Human Resource Management (GMSHRM) meeting at FIU and had a great time. I made it a point to meet 2 new people – and I did within the first 20 minutes of being there. One was someone who I was wanting to meet and the other became a connection that I hope to retain indefinitely. I got home and immediately connected with them on LinkedIn and added them to my network.

What networking success stories do you have? 

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HR Caring for HR

Part of our role, is to care for the employees and leaders in our businesses. We do this via benefit plans, compensation programs, talent acquisition, performance management plans, employee relations and, sometimes, we just lend our ears (and hearts and souls) to someone who needs to talk. Our work lives are filled with building the employee experience and company brand. All this can lead to some serious self-neglect. Something that I forget from time to time is that I am an employee, too. Yes, I get the same benefits and perquisites of the other employees, but I forget that I have an HR department to go to for help.

I work in a hospital system and have learned that doctors and nurses don’t utilize healthcare the same way the rest of the population does. They self-diagnose, identify treatment on their own and, in general, avoid going to the doctor at all costs. Unless it is an absolute necessity. Similarly in HR, I find myself being my own employee relations consultant when I have work my way through my personal trials or tribulations in the workplace. I have seen situations when HR needed HR to get though something. And more importantly, some HR team members have needed access to programs that HR encouraged to other areas but neglected to have for their own staff. How often are we helping other departments build talent management programs, succession plans and development opportunities? Are using those ideas to address the needs of our own department and staff?

Building a vibrant and highly effective HR team can be of huge benefit to any company. An important thing for HR departments to remember is to have programs in place to develop staff at all levels and have a plan for the future of the department. Sometimes, HR needs to sit back and practice what we preach and invest in our own team members. How else will be ready to meet the strategies of the company?

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