The business world continues to grow more complicated, and for HR professionals that trend is driving the perceived need for more certifications and graduate degrees, according to Workforce. The common mindset is that adding advanced skills through HR certification programs is a critical success determinant for both the HR pro and his or her employer.
While certifications have long been part and parcel of the HR industry, there are observers who believe an advanced academic degree is the smarter route for making an impact on the business side.
Tamar Elkeles, Ph.D and chief people officer at Quixey, a software firm, told Workforce that advanced academic degrees offer a "huge foundation for knowledge and skills,” adding that true learning occurs over time, not "in a classroom within a few hours" (the typical certification scenario).
Elkeles told Workforce that she usually ignores certifications in hiring and when making other HR decisions, explaining that certifications' impact on real-world business skills is minimal, unless for something specific, such as benefits or compensation. "For 20 years, we’ve been hearing about how HR has to become more business-focused, and it still hasn’t happened," she told Workforce.
Herman Aguinis, a management professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, told Workforce that while many resources are poured into certifications, their true ROI is very tough to measure, mainly because objective research about certification programs and their true value are non-existent. The reason? Databases on those programs appear to be unobtainable.
Aguinis told Workforce he'd like to know whether HR job candidates with credentials are hired faster than others, and whether an HR certification has any real positive impact on improving job performance and value for the employer.