Tag Archives: CCP

Workplace sexism

In the past six months I’ve had three managers. The one I was hired by resigned, moving the entire team to his boss. After a while, that guy was told he couldn’t manage folk two-three levels below him, so we got redistributed to new-to-us managers.

Before my initial boss left, we did the annual review process (four months early.) The way he and his boss both handled my engagement, successes, and professional growth both externally and with internal products was underwhelming. To the point both discouraged me from seeking additional professional development outside of our company, asking me to focus on the product we support.

Ok, that is great. Except that I’ve been mentoring and training others on our internal product for over a year. I am constantly sending suggestions or writing up how to documents both for internal and external use, and acting as a support to peers on said product. I’ve clearly demonstrated an expertise on it.

I was sorely disappointed that with my 13 years experience in the field, 9 years experience in the industry of HCMs, having a degree and multiple certifications that I wasn’t even given the target merit increase this year. That I wasn’t brought up to market rate for someone with 1 year experience in the field. Never mind that I’ve spoken with my local peers and all the women are $10k+ underpaid compared to the men with often less experience and no certs or degrees in the field.

I had asked my former boss’s boss if the gender inequality was reviewed. He hadn’t even thought of it, let alone looked into it. He knows I know Compensation. Just the ease I displayed in using terms and concepts, never mind those wonderful three letters after my name.

My current manager is a breath of fresh air. SHE encourages me to seek out professional development both on our product and externally. She recognizes my expertise and all I have done to help others. She comes to me to double check others work or to help figure out very difficult things.

I was exceedingly thrilled when in one conversation I flat out asked her, “It sounds like you are grooming me for a promotion. Is this your intent?” She confirmed it was. Woohoo!

I find it very interesting how different the management styles and how they view me and what I have to offer are between the men and women in the business unit. I’m not prepared to say it is the whole company, because it is clear looking at the C suite that isn’t the case.

Certified Compensation Professional

Today I took (and totally crushed) the T4: Strategic Communication course.

The test was 84 minutes (plus 6 for orientation to the test) for 75 questions. As I suspected from the course material it was the “old” version that I expect will be updated in the next few years. I figured it out since it still has global items integrated with the material. This meant the test was very cut and dry with maybe 5 questions that you had to pick the best of three correct answers.

I am super proud to state that this was the final test to obtain the Certified Compensation Professional.


C8: Business Acumen

Yesterday I took the World At Work Business Acumen test. I was very surprised.

The test was 114* minutes for 78 multiple choice questions. There was a small amount of math (1 question.)

Why was I surprised? That boils down to two answers. The first is that there were about 10-15 questions that were about concepts that were not in the testing material (self study book or the supplemental case study.) The second was that about half the test was a level of questioning akin to the SPHR rather than the previous 8 tests I had taken through this certification track.

When I state the questions were SPHR level, the questions were not straight forward what is X? In stead you had to use your knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary to extrapolate and think about the situation presented and each of the answers for the best answer (as sometimes two or three were correct, just one was better than the others.)  Considering the majority of the previous 8 tests were much more straight forward and representative of the material rather than its applications this was… challenging.

I was also surprised that not a single one of the “Test your knowledge” or end of module questions were utilized, as had been on the previous 8 tests. That and there was no survey afterwards to give feedback about the test itself.

The one math question fits into the category of “was not in the preparation material.” I took a guess at how to calculate the answer. For having numerous equations and financial concepts, to ask about one NOT in the material felt underhanded.

I feel that the materials provided did not accurately prepare one for the test.

While I did pass it, I don’t feel much satisfaction from doing so.

Considering much of the material for the course was a repeat from a number of the other courses, having this new test added to the required track for certification just feels like a money grab rather than actual preparing and ensuring one is knowledgeable on the topic and can act in a means to benefit their organization or advance their career.

I recognize the course (and thus also the test) is new. There are many bugs to work out.

*6 minutes for the “tutorial” if one has not taken a test before. If you don’t use the full six minutes then you lose that time, it is not added to your time for the “real” test.

Data as snake oil


Lumosity Image

In studying for the Quantitative Methods test offered by World at Work, a module is dedicated to spotting when data is presented in a misleading way. The five things it suggests looking for are:

  • railroad tracks that distort intervals
  • graphs showing nominal data, that should be listed alphabetically
  • graphs that show data with no absolute zero (such as temperature scale)
  • graphs where part of the scale is lopped off, giving a false impression  of trends (you can’t see the y-axis zero point.)

A great example of this is the program Lumosity, which uses games to improve your brain in various skills such as remembering names to faces, calculating math in your head, observation, and the word at the tip of your tongue situation. I had seen a commercial for it and being one always looking to improve, decided to try the free version out.

The free version limits both the types of games that are available (maybe 9 out of dozens) and the number of games you perform daily (3 vs. 5.) I don’t recall there being any evaluation to provide a base point in the various skills that was not game related.

I participated on a nearly daily basis (missing 3 days sporadically) in the month of January. After a month I had three types of measurements provided to me through the (free version of the) program – a point value for playing the games (you get points regardless of how you perform), a series of horizontal bar charts that indicated a score in various skills, and a graph plotting the “brain performance index.”

The site provides some white-washed “science behind” it all, that throwing names of doctors at universities did not assuage my desire to understand – instead it made me look at it more askance for not providing the real science behind it. Building neurons is great, but there was no actual proof that the games built said neurons. Sure there are images of brain scans and a bar chart, but they aren’t labeled in a manner that inspired validation.

The three methods of measuring how one improved in using the service felt like examples of bad data to me. The first, where one got points for playing and showing up is reminiscent of an elementary school field day where everyone got a ribbon – even if they were in 15th place (out of 15 kids.)

The breakdown of cognitive behavior bar chart did not show which game had changed which score and by how much. You had to keep your own excel document to chart after each game which score changed and how – which defeats the purpose. I think instead this chart is just to make one feel as if they are making progress in the areas they specified one wanted to work upon when signing up for the program.

The BPI chart showed change in the total score over time – for the past 4 weeks only. It is possible that the paid version you could see the full history and zoom in and out to see trends. The fact that there was no real explanation as to what this score was (as the total was not the total of the bar charts) or how it was derived did not sit well with me.

Finally, there were no points to evaluate in a separate format performance improvement – it only had the games. This makes me feel as if there is a huge bias, in addition to all the hand waving and “ignore the man behind the curtain” that was going on. I was feeling more energized and productive while using the program, but in the two weeks since stopping I still feel the same so I believe it was due to other factors which I began at the same time (like studying for the W@W T3 test and refreshing my French skills.)

It’s pretty clear that I’ve stopped using Lumosity as I feel it’s just another time waster that is trying to milk one for money. I have better ways to spend my time and money, with better ROI. I do appreciate the refresher and skills the T3: Quantitative Methods module on identifying false representation of data to help me feel better about making the decision to stop using Lumosity. The first thing learned in T3 is – use data to make sound decisions. 😉

Morale of the story – use your brain and look closely. Data and representing data can be manipulated – beware of the snake oil!

Regulatory Environments in Compensation Management


Photo Credit HR Benefits Alert

On December 7th I sat for the World at Work C1: Regulatory Environments in Compensation Management test. There was a lot going on – I tried the eLearning option, it was a new testing venue for me, and the information itself.

For the T1: Total Rewards Management course I bought the cheapest package only to stretch my annual education reimbursement allowance. I was a nervous wreck not knowing how World at Work testing went, how their materials would prepare one, etc. In the end, I kicked the tests butt passing with a 93%. Despite how it appears with having passed the PHR, FPC, CPP, and now the T1 and C1 I am not a good test taker. I took the SAT three times and never cracked 1100 (out of 1600.) I took the GRE and got another perfectly mediocre score. So the fact I’m doing well on these tests is something I am proud of, though other than putting in the time to repeat the information enough times I’m not sure how I’m doing it.

Since the year was ending, I decided to splurge and test out one of the more expensive learning options World at Work offered – E-Learning. At first I thought it was really cool – I could listen to recordings while multitasking so that I could absorb the information almost like through osmosis in addition to reading, taking summarizing notes, and making/going through flashcards. There was the added benefit that the presenter did include some mnemonics and stories to flesh out the information on the slides (that were identical to the book.)

I passed the C1 course with a 93%.

I had to laugh that it was the exact same pass rate as the T1 course. In the end, I don’t think the recordings helped me any (though they may help others!)

As I did with the T1 course, here are some things about the C1 to prepare one for the test.

  • It is 114 minutes to take the test, not including the system tutorial. (I time it this time, I took 2 minutes to do the tutorial, but the full 6 minutes were taken from my overall countdown.)
  • The test is 110 questions.
  • The end of chapter test questions are on the test itself.
  • Everything is contained within the book.
  • There are some second and third tier reasoning questions; this test was more like the PHR where you had to know your stuff to pick the best question. (Unlike the T1 which was primary level reasoning that is basic regurgitation.) However, that level of reasoning is only about 20% of the test, the rest is primary.
  • Case law was helpful in studying, but did not show up on the test. There were no questions asking about Griggs V. Powers Duke or any other case.
  • There were no “gotcha” questions on minutia like I found on the T1 test (which was only 2-3 questions anyways.)

I was disappointed somewhat that the first testing venue was no longer an option since it was so close to home (5 minute drive!), though it did have it’s own issues (sound proofing.) This venue was odd as well, in it’s own right, though much more professional.

I purposely chose the C1 course during Year End and Annual Enrollment time because it appeared to be mostly information that reinforced basics from the PHR and that come up at work often with clients. Basically, I knew the course would be easier for me than others so I took it during a stressful time frame to balance the over all load on my brain and nerves. I still never managed to get holiday cards out, despite this balance. :

Two down, and seven more courses to go before I get the CCP and a 3% raise. 🙂