Setting Standards: Why HR Certifications Set PEOs Apart

By Mariah Collins, SHRM-CP on Sep 05, 2023
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When small business owners in the Kansas City metro and throughout Kansas and Missouri work with professional employer organizations (PEOs), they get help with mission-critical HR tasks. Outsourcing time-consuming and complex duties like payroll, benefits administration and legal compliance yields multiple advantages, including lowered risks and more time available to pay attention to growth strategies – but only if you choose the right PEO partner (and preferably one whose employees have achieved HR certifications). 

Employees are the lifeblood of any organization, and HR exists, in part, to inspire worker productivity. So, company leaders throughout the states of Kansas and Missouri and the city of Kansas City shouldn’t rely on “just anyone” when they outsource human resources oversight. 

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HRCI or SHRM Certification

Besides selecting a PEO that is certified by the IRS, it’s also important to look for one whose HR specialists have earned voluntary certifications that demonstrate their industry expertise. Working with a certified PEO whose human resources consultants also are certified means both the small business and its employees are in the good hands of capable professionals who can be trusted to manage employee relations in a way that creates competitive advantages for the company. 

Similarly, HR certifications can distinguish one PEO from another. When you’re trying to decide which PEO to trust with your HR outsourcing needs, look for confirmation that the human resources consultants at each potential partner hold certification from the Society for Human Resource Management or the Human Resources Certification Institute, the two leading certification organizations.  

the ultimate guide to certified PEOs

SHRM Certification

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR association and a thought leader on the issues that impact today’s workplaces. SHRM has influenced the lives of more than 115 million workers globally through its more than 300,000 members.  

The nonprofit works to elevate the HR profession. Its mission is “to empower people and workplaces by advancing HR practices and by maximizing human potential.” One way SHRM accomplishes these goals is through its professional HR certifications, which are widely recognized as symbols that recipients have mastered HR practices. 

SHRM offers two credentials – the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) for early- and mid-career professionals and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) for more experienced practitioners.  

The SHRM-CP exam is for HR professionals with three to five years of experience. Senior-level HR professionals with six or more years of experience are ideal candidates to sit for the SHRM-SCP exam. SHRM-certified professionals at both experience levels often develop programs, policies and procedures; oversee HR operations or departments; analyze, interpret and report performance metrics; and align HR strategies with organizational goals. 

Both SHRM certification exams are competency-based. In other words, they test how well practitioners are able to implement HR strategies and apply related facts, not their ability to memorize those things.

SHRM regularly updates the exams to include information relevant to modern workplaces and covers these core HR skills:  

Behavioral competencies around: 

  • Leadership and navigation 
  • Business acumen 
  • Ethical practice 
  • Relationship management 
  • Consultation 
  • Critical evaluation 
  • Global and cultural effectiveness 
  • Communication 

Technical HR knowledge related to: 

  • People 
  • Organizations 
  • Workplaces 
  • Strategy 

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Known as the SHRM Competency Model, SHRM developed the concept – which informs the certification exams – using rigorous job analysis methods and with the active engagement of the global HR community. Focus groups; an extensive review of existing literature on HR knowledge; academic and employer surveys; and an expert panel of HR and business leaders helped SHRM identify the critical competencies listed above, which are deemed necessary for success for SHRM-certified professionals and SHRM senior certified professionals.  

The SHRM exams are comprehensive and challenging. Each one is accredited by the nonprofit Buros Center for Testing, widely recognized as the world’s leading independent monitor of quality for proprietary tests and testing programs. The third-party endorsement validates that SHRM meets the highest standards for test development.  

The initial SHRM certification lasts three years. To renew certification, SHRM-certified professionals either complete 60 hours of professional development credits over the three-year period or re-take the exam within 12 months of the original certification’s expiration. 

HR Outsourcing Company

HRCI Certification 

The Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) offers multiple HR certifications, from Associate Professional in Human Resources for those just starting their industry careers, to Senior Professional in Human Resources for more experienced practitioners who are in HR leadership roles. 

HRCI is a premier credentialing and learning organization for the HR profession. The nonprofit is dedicated to helping practitioners achieve expertise in HR competencies that drive business results. HR professionals from more than 100 countries have earned HRCI certifications. 

HRCI certificate holders are known for proven competency in meeting overall HR goals, as well as for their breadth and depth of knowledge in all HR disciplines. The certification also proves that the HR consultants who earn it understand big-picture business principles that go beyond the HR function.  

HRCI certification demonstrates an HR specialist’s commitment to ongoing learning and high ethical standards, as well as advanced HR knowledge and practices. With HRCI letters next to their names, these certified HR specialists show they are qualified to provide strategic HR and human capital management direction and can create business advantages by effectively managing ever-shifting technologies, laws, worker needs and workplace environments.  

To remain HRCI-certified, credential holders must periodically earn recertification credits or retake the exam.  

Meet the Axcet HR Solutions Team

You Can Trust Axcet’s Certified HR Pros 

Kansas City-based Axcet HR Solutions is a proud member of Kansas City SHRM. Our eligible associates earn and maintain SHRM and/or HRCI credentials.  

Kansas, Missouri and Kansas City metro small and mid-sized businesses can trust our team of certified professionals with their most valuable asset – their employees. We never stop learning and broadening our range of HR knowledge to better serve our client companies and the people who work for them.  

Axcet provides HR services that keep employees happy and small businesses compliant with HR regulations, free up valuable time and set smaller companies up for faster, more sustainable success.  

Schedule a free consultation today to learn how our seasoned, highly credentialed HR consultants can ease the burden of HR management and administration, so you can stay focused on growing your business.

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