Certification: What is in it for us as individuals? And why is it good for the profession? 

Caroline McGuire FCPHR, People and Performance Manager, BMT WBM and AHRI State President, Queensland

“Certification has been a natural evolution towards becoming the kind of human resources professional I have always wanted to model since joining the profession.

“My background is very broad. I have worked in various management roles, many of which had responsibility for HR, but several years ago, I made a conscious decision that I wanted to move exclusively into the HR space.

“My reasons were based on observations of how fundamental people were to the success of business and yet how little attention was being paid to getting the people strategy right.

“Many of the enablers – or risks –  for business were around people. I saw people as the key element that would make the business successful and that HR had a big role to play in maximising efficiency and engagement. For me, HR was and is integral to the business.

“My vision of what I wanted in HR led me to forge a closer relationship with the professional association for HR and I became an AHRI Fellow and then a State President in Queensland.

“I’m very keen to continue supporting the profession and show that I am the best HR professional I can be at all times. And also support others in being the best that they can be. It’s my personal choice to gain as much experience as I can in the people space and take a lead in raising the bar for the profession as a whole. So last year, I decided to undertake the HR certification program.

“For individual HR professionals, it’s about understanding what is important for them and deciding what works in getting them where they want to be. For anyone who wants to set themselves apart and give them an edge over other professionals, then they need to understand what certification can offer them.

“In the past there have been a lot of people who have come into the HR function without qualifications and without an understanding of the scope of HR. For that reason, I see certification as necessary to prove to the business that there are clear standards of what to expect from HR in terms of knowledge, expertise, behaviour and professionalism, and they are consistent.

“What does that look like in an individual? I think it is someone who has a balanced and pragmatic view. Not someone who just understands the human resources theory, but how it makes a commercial difference to their organisation.

“We are on a path towards establishing certified HR professionals as an important part of the business. Other peak bodies, such as CPA had the same challenges as AHRI at the beginning when it introduced certification, and now CPA is just accepted as the norm for accounting professionals. In order to reach best practice, we must create the same drivers for HR.”