Professional employer organizations (PEO) assist small and mid-sized businesses with a wide range of human resources, payroll, employee benefits and risk management tasks. Outsourcing time-consuming and regulation-heavy duties allow smaller companies to focus on delivering core services and pursue growth.
How to Narrow the Choices of Which PEO to Hire
The choice to hire a PEO is becoming more popular among small business owners all the time. According to information published by the United States Chamber of Commerce, 15% of employers with 10 to 99 employees currently use a PEO. The Chamber of Commerce also indicates that the use of PEOs is growing at a rate 14 times higher than the national economy.
With 980 PEOs in the United States, how does a small business owner choose the right one? A simple way to separate the top PEOs from average performers is to ask about certifications. Seeking voluntary certification of any kind demonstrates the advanced skills and integrity necessary for a successful co-employment relationship.
For example, Axcet HR Solutions in Kansas City was one of the first 10 percent of PEOs across the country to earn designation as a Certified PEO from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2017. Axcet’s HR Consultants have all earned either a certification from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) or the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), making our team 100% certified This post focuses on what SHRM and HRCI are, the certifications they offer, and why small and mid-sized businesses should work with a PEO certified by the SHRM or HCRI.
What are SHRM and HRCI?
The Society for Human Resources Management was formed more than 70 years ago to provide comprehensive resources for HR professionals. The mission of SHRM is to empower workplaces and employees by maximizing human potential and advancing proven HR practices. Ultimately, SHRM helps to create the best possible working environment that draws employers and employees together for the greater good.
The world-renowned human resources organization has more than 300,000 members representing 165 countries. The work they do impacts at least 115 million workers across the globe. Axcet HR Solutions is pleased to belong to SHRM and utilizes the numerous resources it offers, including certification.
The Human Resources Certification Institute offers education and credentialing opportunities for HR professionals. The organization began 45 years ago and today offers eight certification options. Certification from HRCI enhances credibility because it demonstrates a commitment to ongoing learning, strong ethical standards, and advanced HR knowledge and practices. HR professionals from more than 100 countries have earned certification from HRCI.
SHRM Certification Options
The SHRM currently offers the following certification options:
- SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP): This certification is available to HR professionals who serve clients at the operational level. Examples of duties at this level include acting as an HR contact person for clients and stakeholders, supporting daily HR functions, and implementing HR policies.
- SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP): These HR professionals perform duties at the strategic level. Examples include developing policies and strategies for HR departments and supervising the implementation of integrated HR operations. Some HR professionals at this level are responsible for directing entire HR departments.
The Buros Center for Testing based out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has reviewed the SHRM certification exams and granted its accreditation. Accreditation from a third party indicates that SHRM meets the highest expected standards for test development. The Buros Center for Testing also confirms that earning SHRM certification provides high value for HR professionals.
Preparation for an SHRM exam requires HR professionals to study four learning modules based on expected knowledge and competency. These include HR competencies, organization, people, and workplace, each of which covers several subcategories. As the HR professionals at Axcet know well, the test is incredibly difficult. One of our employees reports that she dedicated 12 weeks of intense to prepare for the exam, studying at least 25 hours a week.
The initial SHRM certification remains valid for three years. To recertify, certificate holders can either complete 60 hours of professional development credits over a three-year period or take the certification exam again in the year before the original certification expires.
HRCI Certification Options
HRCI serves a global HR student base, and its exam options reflect that. The eight exams it currently offers include:
- Associate Professional in Human Resources
- Associate Professional in Human Resources – International
- Professional in Human Resources
- Professional in Human Resources – California
- Professional in Human Resources – International
- Senior Professional in Human Resources
- Senior Professional in Human Resources – International Professional
- Global Professional in Human Resources
How Smaller Employers Benefit from Working with an HRCI or SHRM-Certified Business Partner
Employing staff with SHRM or HRCI certification benefits Axcet by allowing us to stand out from local and national competitors. Clients also receive significant value when they receive service from a SHRM-certified professional.
HR professionals who have taken the time to study for the SHRM or HRCI certification exam and pass it show deep dedication to the industry and the clients they serve. They remain committed to helping clients achieve a healthy, happy, and efficient workplace while taking great pride in what they do.
Another benefit of working with certified HR professionals is that they have a broader range of knowledge. The SHRM and HRCI require all applicants for testing to have real-world HR experience before completing an exam. The organization feels work experience and acquiring new knowledge is the best way to ensure well-rounded professionals who serve their clients well. Axcet staff who have earned the SHRM or HSRI certification completed an in-depth study of eight behavioral competencies and 15 areas of functional knowledge.
Just as businesses look to CPAs as financial experts, SHRM and HSRI certifications carry the same level of trust. With this trust comes the assurance that SHRM-certified HR professionals can handle any type of challenge. From slowing the rate of employee turnover to negotiating for the most attractive benefit packages, smaller employers know they can trust PEOs that require staff certification.
Request a Consultation with Axcet HR Solutions
Tending to the dozens of HR administrative tasks that arise every day can prevent a business from reaching its true potential. Although this is frustrating to experience, Axcet is here to help. We invite smaller employers to learn more about our Certified PEO in Kansas City and meet our SHRM and/or HSRI-certified staff. All five of our Human Resources Consultants have earned their certification from one or both organizations.
The first step in establishing a relationship with Axcet as a co-employer is to complete this form and request a time to meet. Small business owners should be certain to provide a brief description of their company and the PEO services they feel could help them the most. We will contact potential clients within one business day to schedule the consultation.