I spent time studying Human Resource Development in week five of my PHR study schedule. I set aside time every night for studying, because I knew my weekend would be crazy. Friday night my wife and I spent the evening with an old friend, and Saturday we had a concert to attend. Therefore, I worked conscientiously every evening for at least thirty minutes.
The previous four articles relating to my study for the human resources certification exam can be found here.
A New Resource
This week, I had the pleasure of “meeting” a lady online named Tish. She just passed the SPHR exam (a big congrats to her!), and I found her her blog accidentally during a Google search. I emailed her, and she was amazingly helpful. She assured me that taking the PHR exam was not a bad idea for a new graduate. She even sent me the notes that she took while studying for her own exam! As a human resources professional that has already passed the PHR and SPHR exams, she is the kind of resource that I strive to make use of, and I am thrilled that she (took pity on me and) agreed to help me as I progress toward my own professional in human resources certification exam.
I urge anyone that is currently in HR to find someone that has been in the field already and ask them to give you any advice they can. Spend time studying any information that you get from one of these human resource professionals. While it may take me years to learn the ins-and-outs of the human resources profession, finding and utilizing a human resources professional that has already “been there, done that” is a way to grow in knowledge by leaps and bounds.
If you’d like to see Tish’s blog, here’s the link. If nothing else, please read the post about her dog’s mishap at the vet. It is hilarious!
Just the Facts, Ma’am
This week I studied Human Resource Development. HR Development makes up about 17% of the total PHR exam weight. In the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) practice test, I scored a 77% on this section.
According to the PHR guide, the HR Development section of the certification exam tests the HR professional’s knowledge of:
1) Applicable federal/state/local laws and regulations (as always)
2) Organizational Development theories/applications
3) Training-program development, methods, techniques, etc.
4) Performance appraisal methods
5) Performance management methods
6) Assessing a training program’s effectiveness
7) Mentoring and coaching
My Take on the Material
I used both the study guide and the human resources management textbook this week, and I think I actually enjoyed reading the study guide even more than the HRM textbook. I usually enjoy reading the text, but this time there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary and unrelated information included.
I particularly enjoyed reading about performance appraisals. My current job is the first of all my jobs where I’ve ever encountered a performance appraisal, and I enjoy the experience immensely. At my company, we utilize a sort of “appraisal interview,” where the employee is given a short document to fill out detailing his or her career goals for the future, the ways to get better at the job functions, etc. This document is then taken to the appraisal with the supervisor, so that both of them can go over the training, development, and career goals together. It is a very open and personal process.
In my previous jobs, I did not have to worry about a performance appraisal, but then again, I never really was given any goals or feedback on my job performance. I believe that all companies, small and large, should utilize some sort of performance appraisal. Even if the program is used for nothing else than to have a legal defense against wrongful firing lawsuits, it could still be worth the expense.
HR training and development is looked at as a wasteful expenditure for some companies, but they often don’t realize the positive impact that training can have. Human resource managers should work diligently to provide management with solid advice on human resource matters, so that businesses will take full advantage of the human resources available at their disposal.
A Realization… Or Just a Study-Induced Headache?
In my (incomplete) studies for taking the PHR certification exam, I have come across several different topic that I have seen in a different light than ever before. Today I was looking over the last of the training and development material, and I was thinking to myself of the jobs that I have had in the past. I would love to go back into those workplaces and fix the problems that I knew existed back then, but I have never known how to rectify the problems until now. All that was needed was a little knowledge of human resources and human resources management from my PHR studying to open my eyes to the ways that some businesses are shooting themselves in the foot with bad or nonexistent policies. Maybe I can eventually open a consulting business and actually do something about those problems in small businesses. Maybe.
For the next two weeks, I plan to study Total Rewards. There is a lot of material in this section, and I scored a 58% on the HRCI PHR practice exam, so I will be taking an extra week to be sure that I cover this topic well.