GPHR: A 360 degree Perspective
The HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute) is the globally recognized leader in certifying human resources professionals. They have certified more than 108,000 HR professionals across 70 countries over the last 33 years. They offer three significant certifications for practicing HR professionals. GPHR or Global Professional in Human Resources certification is much sought after and is well recognized by the industry and business leaders for it is considered as a real test to an HR professional’s experience and caliber. The GPHR exam is taken by several HR professionals who intend to gain an extra edge in the fiercely competitive market today.
Benefits of GPHR Certification
When an HR professional obtains a certification, it demonstrates the individual’s commitment to the field. Moreover, it shows that he is conversant with the current practices and principles of international HR management (global HR policies, processes and procedures). It makes him more marketable and competitive for the top HR positions and raises his professional confidence in the workplace. Simply put, it exhibits the individual’s mastery of international human resources body of knowledge that is required to manage the organization’s most volatile and critical assets: people.
GPHR Certification – Whom does it Benefit?
Professionals who have a minimum of 2 years of HR experience and spend at least 51% of their daily work activities within the HR function can apply for GPHR exam. The GPHR certification is for those HR professionals who
(1) hold cross country responsibilities
(2) understand the need for development of globalized and localized HR strategies
(3) devises HR policies instrumental to the global development and growth of the organization
(4) possesses extensive knowledge on the international HR activities of the organization.
(5) strives to strike a balance between employer and employee needs
(6) designs, executes and evaluates processes, tools and programs.
The GPHR exam follows a multiple choice question format wherein every applicant is required to answer 165 questions within a stipulated time frame of 3 hours. The exam questions and content are framed by HR subject matter experts and evaluated by experienced and practicing HR professionals. The content of the exam is based on five broad bodies of knowledge and is covered later in this article. The exam is administered twice (spring and winter) every year. It falls in the months of May and June and subsequently in the months of December and January (of the subsequent year). USD $425 is the application fee for taking the GPHR exam and a late fee of $50 is chargeable for applications that are received after the usual deadline.
As of April 2010, there are 932 certified GPHR professionals. The pass rate of the exam held in the spring session of 2009 was 57% and so has it been for the exams that happened in December 2009 and January 2010.
GPHR Bodies of Knowledge
GPHR bodies of knowledge refer to the knowledge and responsibilities essential for an effective HR professional (global). These areas are updated regularly so that they are in sync with the current HR policies and practices. Besides knowledge of local laws that affect employment, every HR professional who applies for the certification is expected to be conversant on
(1) Strategic HR management that focuses on development and design of HR strategies to support both the short and long term objectives of the organization globally.
(2) Global talent acquisition and mobility engages on developing, implementing and evaluating international staffing strategies that support cultural and contextual organizational objectives.
(3) Global compensation and benefits focuses on development and assessment of a global compensation (remuneration and benefits) strategy.
(4) Organizational effectiveness and talent development deals with design, execution and evaluation of organizational processes, programs and structure.
(5) Workforce relations and risk management handles designing of practices and processes for enhancing and protecting organizational value by managing risk.
Review Material and Preparation Resources
It is not possible to find GPHR questions online due to the confidentiality clause posed by the HRCI. However, there are several other ways and means that an exam applicant can resort to for the purpose of preparation. The HRCI has published on its website (www.hrci.org) well defined practice areas like the bodies of knowledge that cover the scope of every individual function an applicant can acquire knowledge on. It also carries 10 question practice quizzes that can be taken for free. These quizzes are designed the same way the exam content is developed. Taking these tests familiarizes the applicant with the actual exam questions and also helps in determining the logic and rational behind every question.
The website also entails online assessment exams that offer a practical view of the actual exam. The individual can understand the types and style of questions that could be asked in the certifying exam. Also available is the GPHR certification guide that can be purchased for $25 from HRCI or from popular online stores like AMAZON. Besides the preparation resources of the HRCI, there are several reputed colleges and universities that offer preparatory programs (online and classroom) to facilitate preparation for the certification. The SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) is the world’s largest individual member association devoted to human resources management. They also offer a three day comprehensive GPHR exam that offers a combination of web based and print format study tools.
There are numerous HR forums and blogs online that provide quality tips and information by professionals who have appeared for the examination. The HRCI blog also provides significant information.
The HRCI facilitates verification of the certification when a future or current employer demands. The certification that is obtained is valid only for three years and a recertification must be done on or before the certification expiry date. A recertification is of paramount importance because it demonstrates the commitment and keeps the applicant abreast of the current updates in HR practices and policies. Recertification can be done by taking the exam again or by accumulating about 60 credit hours of HR associated continuing education activities or through on the job experience or research and publishing and professional memberships.
A new set of eligibility requirements for GPHR exam are applicable from 2011. GPHR certification has made a significant difference in the lives of many HR professionals and raised their professional confidence.
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