The Importance of Upskilling Your HR Workforce in a Changing World

Over the last two years, the only true constant in the market has been changing. Everything else has been in flux, from where and how we work to how culture and purpose shift in hybrid environments and disrupted times. On top of this, the HR function has been moving into a more strategic role over the last decade—and this has only accelerated. What’s HR to do? In a word, upskill.

In addition, upskilling offers advantages in a tight talent market when it’s difficult to attract and retain key people. Millions of workers have voluntarily left their jobs over the last year in record numbers, driving what’s being called the Great Resignation. Upskilling can help HR functions understand key talent drivers and trends shaping the workplace, from greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion to new tools and technology to foster employee experience.

It’s perhaps never been more important to look at upskilling, reskilling, and certification for the HR workforce to keep pace with demanding times and new challenges. And there are implications for the bottom line: a recent Deloitte study found only 7% of HR leaders believed their teams could drive business impact. When success depends on innovative HR thinking to meet changing demands, it’s time to grow sharper and nimbler.

Key focus areas for upskilling

Of course, HR teams don’t have unlimited time and resources. Where should you focus for the greatest benefit? These areas are emerging or ascendant trends:

Data Analytics: Data is driving almost everything in the workplace, from performance reviews to DEI commitments. Learning to collect, leverage, and analyze data can give HR an advantage in hiring, candidate experience, performance management, and much more.

Adapting Communication: With hybrid and remote work models the new norm, communication should be a strategic focus for organizations. Over the last year, relationships have suffered, and we’ve felt the pinch of isolation. Loss of essential “water cooler” time can be enhanced by communication initiatives and styles adapted for the virtual world. These can include taking time to celebrate success and adjusting how work is done in a way that fosters healthy relationships.

Employee Experience: Is HR able to stay on top of how employees are doing? Burnout, chronic workplace stress, and continued uncertainty have taken a toll (and they’re behind the staggering numbers of the Great Resignation). Ensure you’re effectively listening to employees in ways that can surface authentic insight with the right tools and approaches. And, going back to data, ensure your HR team can distill the findings from employee pulse surveys and feedback into a format leadership can digest—and act on.

Advancing DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion): DEI is no longer a “nice to have;” it’s a must-have in today’s business environment. Everyone from candidates to investors is focusing on it. Upskilling can include training for employees on best practices and trends in DEI strategy, as well as sensitivity training.

Does HR certification help?

Certification can benefit HR professionals at almost any stage in their career, particularly those who are eager to enter or advance quickly in the field. Earning and maintaining certification is a way to prove value and demonstrate potential as an employee.

An HRCI-commissioned study found 96% of employers believe in the value of HR certifications. The same research revealed when reviewing job applications, employers tend to look more favorably on applicants who have earned certification. Certification will help job-seeking professionals stand out.

Certification helps establish credibility in the field; earning this credential requires proving high levels of skill and knowledge.

HR certification can increase earning power

Earning an HR certification can also boost your earning potential. According to, HR certification can increase pay at all levels, from assistant to director. The study revealed at the managerial level, certification makes a massive difference: the gap between certified and uncertified professionals’ earnings can be as wide as $10,000 annually.

Differences in pay between certified and uncertified professionals can also vary by market. The Pay Scale report revealed pay differences are most pronounced in some of the country’s largest markets, including Dallas. And with different levels of certification available, continuous professional development and recertification can greatly impact lifelong earning potential. Over 90% of senior professionals who hold advanced certification earn more than their uncertified counterparts.

HR certifications

There are two HR industry certifications, earned through exams. They are administered by the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM) and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Both are highly regarded in the industry.

Studying for HR certification

Amid the personal and professional responsibilities many of us balance, it can be difficult to carve out the time to study for a certification exam—even when we know the benefits to our career (and earning power).

To help members prepare, DallasHR hosts certification study groups in the spring and autumn. The Spring 2022 Virtual HR Certification Test Prep Group is a nine-week study group open to members. It runs from March 8 through May 3 and will be held virtually.

Members can join the group to prepare for both the HRCI (PHR or SPHR) and SHRM certifications (SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP). Study group participants can add on the SHRM Learning Materials at a discounted rate.

Make 2022 the year you earn your certification and advance your career—and let us support you. DallasHR is the third largest SHRM affiliate chapter in the nation. With more than 2,000 engaged HR professionals, the Chapter has been Advancing the Value of HR since 1939 through innovative education, valuable networking events and providing opportunities to share best practices with others in the field of HR. The HRSouthwest Conference powered by DallasHR, is the official Texas SHRM conference and one of the largest regional HR events in the U.S. Visit us, and follow us at #dallashr, #hrswc.