Tag Archives: education

SHRM certification

Congratulations on achieving your SHRM-CP.

Today I took advantage of the SHRM-CP tutorial to get the certification for free. I have to say that I actually like and see the validity of the competency based nature of this certification and how it will lend credence to Human Resources as a whole and a business partner.

I have largely staid out of the fray between the HRCI vs SHRM certification war. I’ve chosen to wait it out to see the offerings for comparison and see what the results are to organizations, professionals, and the profession as a whole over time. Without data it is hard to give an educated guess, and everyone has an opinion. 😉 I like my opinions to have weight.

It is early yet, since the certification was just offered for the first time three months ago, but it will be interesting to see when and which roles will require or prefer this certification. It will be interesting to see if it will be placed in relation to the HRCI certifications.

The part I enjoyed the most was the competency check lists. I answered as truthfully as possible, so that it could be a useful tool to me. I was pleasantly surprised that both my professional (paid) and volunteer experience places me predominantly in the Exec category.

Beaushene SHRM-CP competency chart

Beaushene SHRM-CP chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process took less than an hour, and was free. Can’t beat that! I really liked the situations and questions offered. Again, in the vein of being honest, I chose the best choice 7 of 9 times, the second best choice once, and one of the “what the heck, totally the wrong choice” once.

For one that does not currently have an HRCI or IPMA-HR to take the test is $300, which is $100 cheaper than the HRCI PHR. Being so new, it may not be eligible for tuition or expense reimbursement from organizations yet. To be fair, it has been five years since I took the PHR, so I cannot legitimately compare the SHRM-CP scenario quesitons to those of the PHR.

If an organization does reimburse you, why not go for both? Until the dust clears – which may be five to ten years from now, it is best to hedge ones bets. 😉 But if one is paying out of pocket, I would go for the HRCI certification simply due to its history and being well known.

Good luck which ever you decide. May the odds be in your favor!

Data as snake oil

Lumosity.com

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!

HR to Employee Ratio

Image from cdc.gov

Believe it or not, this is a hot topic that reoccurs in the HR world on a regular basis. Even scarier is that I’m not sure it is on anyone elses radar.

Take for example a company I recently encountered. They have a ratio of 0.25  (or 1 : 400.) Yikes.

Back when I was taking my first HR Management college course (Thank you University of Richmond and Charlyne Meinhard!) our text book stated that the ideal ratio of HR employees to total employees at the company was 1:100. That was in 2004.

There is now apparently a formula and specifications as to what type of HR employees can count in that ratio. The image, by the way, is a generic equation and not actually for this calculation. 😉 There are also different ideals as to what that ratio should be based on company size (see SHRM chart in same linked article.)

I’ll do you one better. Your industry and the level and amount of technology and/or outsourcing also is a factor. Mike outlines this nicely. Unfortunately I don’t have any handy charts on that – I bet Towers Perrin, Robert Half, the BLS, SHRM, and maybe ADP have that sort of data on hand to create one though. It’s a project I’d love to get my hands on. 🙂 Until that day comes, Ben has a shiny infographic to share.

So, quick and dirty the answer is the typical “it depends” and “you gotta do your homework.” If you want to rely on the 1:100, be prepared to back it up with the C-suite. 😉 With ever increasing technology and the decreasing number of luddites, I would be willing to place a bet that the range is between 1:75 and 1:200. That is a huge range.

By the way, I wrote a best practice for a client that not only covered this topic, but went into the diversification of the HR department (how many need to be generalist vs benefits vs etc.) The information is out there.

What are your thoughts on this hot topic? What ratio (industry/technology/outsourcing/etc) have you found works well and what are the asymptotes that you’d stay away from?

Know your quirks

Credit: BYU Active Learning Techniques

I am currently studying for the first test in the series of tests to obtain the Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) certification. I decided to start at the beginning – T1 aka Total Rewards.

Compensation is a passion of mine. Money was always a debate growing up – who had it or didn’t, what to do with it, did we have enough, should we get more for what we paid, learning how to manage it… Two things I learned early on about myself are that I don’t think I will ever have enough income to feel secure and do what I want to do as well as I am a life long learner. These two go nicely hand in hand with continuing my education through these certifications which in turn increase my income and prepare me for advanced roles where there is even more to learn and earn.

There is the added bonus that many certifications count as experience towards recertifying other certifications already obtained. 😉

My husband is currently taking some courses to complete his associates. He’s been driving me crazy because his needs for studying and methods of studying are so different than my own. I can – and actually need – the tv on to act as something to tune out and further focus on my studies, whereas for him it is too distracting. I need repetition through reading and writing to ingrain the concepts, methods, etc into my memory. He seems to pick it up on the first read through and doesn’t even take notes.

We both have been successful. The last time I went to a university I had a GPA of 3.86/4.0.; I have passed the FPC, CPP, and PHR with more than enough wiggle room. He last test he scored 93/100.

So my take away for you is: know your quirks. Know what drives you. Know what sort of environment and method you need to succeed at your task.

These are translatable skills that can easily be applied outside the classroom and testing center. Until you know yourself, you will float and flounder. Take the time to learn and to succeed. You can achieve anything when you put your mind to it. 😉

Books still have their place

Photo Credit: La Crosse Public LibraryI’m an avid reader. By avid I mean that not a day goes by that doesn’t see me reading an actual book – and not on a Kindle or Nook either. Some books are slower going than others – right now I’m reading a history book about Europe and it’s theology from 500 BCE to 1300 CE. Fascinating reading that helped me with Jeopardy! the other day.

I currently have two stacks of “to be read” piles – one for pleasure and one for business. One author I have meant to add to my business pile is Malcolm Gladwell after all I heard about him from #SHRM12 (aka SHRM’s Annual Conference in 2012.) I’ve already read two Collins books, so it was a no brainer.

I found an interesting article at Business Insider about Gladwell that concisely listed the main points from his three books. One of his points that apparently is getting a lot of attention is the 10,000 hours concept – that it takes time and effort to master something.

This set off warning bells to me. Why? Because a year before Gladwell came out with Outliers and this concept Bounce came out by Syed. I had read it in February 2011 – again before Gladwell’s book with the same concept came out.

I will check out this book of Gladwell’s, to see if he references the same studies and credits Syed at all. I realize that Syed isn’t as well known or published. I’m withholding further comments until I have seen Gladwell’s Outliers.

I guess the warning bells are that it bothers me when it seems as if one is getting recognition that another may deserve more. 😉

If you are interested in further studies and exploring the concept of what it takes to be “the best” maybe pick up both books. And no, I haven’t been paid by either author to say that. 😉