Ol 600 milestone two guidelines

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see rubric attached. 

OL 600 Milestone Two Guidelines and Rubric
Performance Management: Employee and Labor Relations

Overview: For this milestone, due in Module Five, you will analyze HR strategic initiatives of employee and labor relations that positively impact organizational
effectiveness. The three critical element focus on employee discipline, performance management, and employee and labor relations.

Prompt: First, read Chapters 8 and 14 in your text, the Harvard Business Review article Discipline Without Punishment – At Last, and the Grievance Procedures:
What are the Steps Typically Found in a Grievance Procedure?

SHRM article.

Refer to the chapter readings and module resources to support your responses to each of the three critical elements below. Carefully read and address each
critical element as written, using detailed and informative analysis that conveys critical thinking. The three critical element are aligned to the organization
technical competency within the HR knowledge domain.

Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:

 Employee Discipline: Analyze punitive and nonpunitive disciplinary approaches, and explain their impacts on employee relations.
 Performance Management: Determine the elements of an effective performance management system, and explain how well the employer’s system

meets organizational needs.

 Employee and Labor Relations: Determine the differences between union grievance procedures and nonunion complaint processes, and describe
improvements that could be made to a nonunion complaint process.

Be sure to incorporate instructor feedback on this milestone into your final submission.

Rubric
Guidelines for Submission: This milestone must be submitted as a 3- to 4-page Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-
inch margins. Use the latest edition of the APA manual for formatting and citations.

Note that the grading rubric for this milestone submission is not identical to that of the final project. The Final Project Rubric will include an additional
“Exemplary” category that provides guidance as to how you can go above and beyond “Proficient” in your final submission.

Critical Elements Proficient (100%) Needs Improvement (70%) Not Evident (0%) Value

Employee Discipline Analyzes punitive and nonpunitive
disciplinary approaches and explains
their impacts on employee relations,
using specific examples

Analyzes punitive and nonpunitive
disciplinary approaches and explains
their impacts on employee relations,
using specific examples, but
explanation is cursory or contains
inaccuracies, or examples are
inappropriate

Does not analyze punitive and
nonpunitive disciplinary approaches

30

Performance Management Determines the elements of an
effective performance management
system and explains how well the
employer’s system meets
organizational needs, using specific
examples

Determines the elements of an
effective performance management
system and explains how well the
employer’s system meets
organizational needs, using specific
examples, but explanation is cursory
or contains inaccuracies, or examples
are inappropriate

Does not determine the elements of
an effective performance
management system

30

Employee and Labor
Relations

Determines the differences between
union grievance procedures and
nonunion complaint processes and
describes improvements that could
be made to a nonunion complaint
process, using specific examples

Determines the differences between
union grievance procedures and
nonunion complaint processes and
describes improvements that could
be made to a nonunion complaint
process, using specific examples, but
description is cursory or contains
inaccuracies, or examples are
inappropriate

Does not determine the differences
between union grievance procedures
and nonunion complaint processes

30

Articulation of Response Submission has no major errors
related to citations, grammar,
spelling, syntax, or organization

Submission has major errors related
to citations, grammar, spelling,
syntax, or organization that
negatively impact readability and
articulation of main ideas

Submission has critical errors related
to citations, grammar, spelling,
syntax, or organization that prevent
understanding of ideas

10

Total 100%

shrmcertifi cation.org/SHRMBOCK

THE SHRM BODY
OF COMPETENCY

AND KNOWLEDGE™

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction to the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge …………………………………………… 1
What Are Competencies? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3
Development of the SHRM BoCK ………………………………………………………………………………………………..4
New Material in the 2017 BoCK ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Organization of the SHRM BoCK Document ………………………………………………………………………………………….7
Section 1: Behavioral Competencies …………………………………………………………………………………………..7
Section 2: HR Expertise ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..7

Section 1: Behavioral Competencies ……………………………………………………………………………………… 8
How to Read This Section ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8
Leadership Cluster …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
Leadership & Navigation …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12
Ethical Practice …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14
Interpersonal Cluster ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
Relationship Management …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..18
Communication ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
Global & Cultural Effectiveness ………………………………………………………………………………………………….22
Business Cluster ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….25
Business Acumen ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..26
Consultation………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….28
Critical Evaluation ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..30

Section 2: HR Expertise ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 32
How to Read This Section ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 32
People Knowledge Domain ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35
Functional Area #1: HR Strategic Planning ……………………………………………………………………………….36
Functional Area #2: Talent Acquisition ……………………………………………………………………………………..38
Functional Area #3: Employee Engagement & Retention ………………………………………………………39
Functional Area #4: Learning & Development …………………………………………………………………………. 41
Functional Area #5: Total Rewards …………………………………………………………………………………………… 42
Organization Knowledge Domain …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 43
Functional Area #6: Structure of the HR Function ………………………………………………………………….. 44
Functional Area #7: Organizational Effectiveness & Development …………………………………….. 45
Functional Area #8: Workforce Management ………………………………………………………………………….46
Functional Area #9: Employee & Labor Relations ………………………………………………………………….. 47
Functional Area #10: Technology Management ………………………………………………………………………49
Workplace Knowledge Domain ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………51
Functional Area #11: HR in the Global Context …………………………………………………………………………52
Functional Area #12: Diversity & Inclusion ………………………………………………………………………………..53
Functional Area #13: Risk Management ……………………………………………………………………………………54
Functional Area #14: Corporate Social Responsibility …………………………………………………………….56
Functional Area #15: U.S. Employment Law & Regulations……………………………………………………. 57

Appendix A: Glossary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 59
Appendix B: Resources ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 69

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 1

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIESTHE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

For more than sixty-fi ve years, the Society for
Human Resource Management (SHRM) has
served the human resources (HR) profession.
HR professionals worldwide look to SHRM for
comprehensive information and tools to help
them perform eff ectively at their jobs, to develop
their careers, and to partner strategically with
employers. SHRM also works to advance the HR
profession as a whole, ensuring that as business
changes, HR evolves to meet business needs.
Increasingly, business leaders understand that
eff ective people management is a strategic
imperative. As a result, employers expect HR
professionals to demonstrate, in addition to
a thorough knowledge of HR concepts and
requirements, the behavioral competencies
required to eff ectively apply that knowledge
in the modern workplace in support of
organizational goals.

In 2011, SHRM began a program of research
involving thousands of HR professionals to
identify the critical competencies needed for
success as an HR professional. This research led
to the development of the SHRM Competency
Model, which defi nes eight key behavioral
competencies (Ethical Practice, Leadership &
Navigation, Business Acumen, Relationship
Management, Communication, Consultation,
Critical Evaluation and Global & Cultural
Eff ectiveness) and one technical competency
(HR Expertise). The SHRM Competency Model
provides HR professionals with a comprehensive
roadmap for developing the capabilities they
need to advance their careers and improve their
eff ectiveness in the workplace.

The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™
(SHRM BoCK™), which is based on the SHRM
Competency Model and illustrated in Figure 1,
outlines the content of SHRM’s certifi cation
examinations, the SHRM Certifi ed Professional
(SHRM-CP®) exam for early-career and mid-level
practitioners, and the SHRM Senior Certifi ed
Professional (SHRM-SCP®) exam for senior-level
and executive practitioners. SHRM credentials
provide reliable indicators to the global business
community that the credential holder has the
necessary capabilities in both aspects of HR
practice—competencies and knowledge—that
are required for eff ective job performance.

In addition to describing the behavioral
competencies and technical knowledge tested
on the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifi cation
exams, the SHRM BoCK is also the common
framework for individuals developing exam
questions (item writers), as well as individuals
and organizations developing exam preparation
materials. SHRM’s own operations for exam
development are separate and independent from
its operations for study material development.
SHRM observes a strict fi rewall between these
activities to protect the integrity and credibility of
the certifi cation exams.

Introduction to the SHRM Body
of Competency and Knowledge™

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 1

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE2

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FIGURE 1: SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK)

2 THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 3

What Are Competencies?
A competency is a group of highly interrelated knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) that
give rise to the behaviors needed to perform a given job eff ectively. For example, Critical Evaluation, one of the
behavioral competencies in the SHRM Competency Model, describes a group of KSAOs that include knowledge of
research design, critical thinking skills and deductive reasoning abilities. These highly interrelated KSAOs enable
HR professionals to collect, compile, analyze and interpret job-relevant data and information for the purpose of
supporting the HR function in their organizations.

A set of competencies that collectively defi nes the requirements for eff ective performance in a specifi c job,
profession or organization may be called a competency model.

Competencies can be either technical or behavioral. Technical competencies refl ect the knowledge specifi c to
a given profession that is required for a professional in that fi eld to perform a particular role. The HR Expertise
competency in the SHRM Competency Model describes the technical knowledge specifi c to the HR fi eld (such as
that associated with talent management, recruiting, or compensation and benefi ts).

Behavioral competencies, on the other hand, describe the KSAOs that facilitate the application of technical
knowledge to job-related behaviors. They are more general in their applicability than the profession-specifi c
technical competency of HR Expertise. For example, the behavioral competency Communication describes the
KSAOs needed to eff ectively communicate across a range of media (e.g., e-mail and oral presentations) and with a
variety of audiences (e.g., internal and external stakeholders).

In sum, technical competencies refl ect what knowledge HR professionals apply to their jobs, and behavioral
competencies refl ect how they apply this knowledge.

Knowledge + Behavior = Success
SHRM’s incorporation of behavioral and technical
competencies into its competency model and
certifi cation exams implicitly recognizes that a strategic
mindset leading to HR success is a function of the
successful application of both knowledge and behavior.
In other words, success stems not only from what you
know (knowledge) but also what you do (behavior).
Neither is suffi cient, however, in isolation.

SHRM’s dual approach to understanding HR success is
supported by empirical research. A study conducted by
SHRM in partnership with several leading multinational

employers and universities, described below, found
that both HR knowledge and behavior are related to
HR professionals’ job performance. Moreover, it found
that both knowledge and behavior are uniquely related
to job performance—that is, knowledge and behavior
are related to job performance in non-redundant
ways. These fi ndings support the key contributions of
knowledge and behavior to HR success, the relevance
and applicability of the SHRM Competency Model to
the HR profession, and the relevance of certifi cation
exams that test both behavioral and technical
competencies.

INTRODUCTION

4 THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

SHRM has been engaged in a systematic and
rigorous program of research to develop the
SHRM BoCK, as outlined in Figure 2. SHRM
began this program with the development of
the SHRM Competency Model in 2011, and it
continued through 2016 by conducting a Practice
Analysis to further develop and refine the BoCK.
Comprehensive job analysis methods and the
active engagement of the global HR community
have been used consistently to identify, create and
refine competencies that describe the attributes
necessary for success as an HR professional.

Development of the SHRM Competency Model was
initiated in 2011, when SHRM conducted 111 focus
groups with nearly 1,200 HR practitioners, including
professionals from 33 countries. Participants in
these focus groups represented a diversity of
characteristics, both personal (e.g., career level,
tenure) and organizational (e.g., sector, industry,
size). SHRM also conducted a survey of more than
600 Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) to
identify the competencies that HR leaders believe
are required for success in the HR profession.
Following this extensive data collection, SHRM
created a working competency model of eight
behavioral competencies and one technical
(knowledge-based) competency, which together
describe the personal and professional attributes
that HR professionals need for success and career
advancement.

From 2012 to 2014, SHRM conducted a series of
studies with HR professionals to confirm the content
of the model and its relevance to HR professional
success.

In 2012, SHRM conducted a survey of more than
32,000 HR professionals worldwide to confirm
the importance and generalizability of the SHRM

Competency Model. The results of this study
provided support for the relevance of the model
in describing the personal and professional
attributes needed for HR success, as well as its
wide applicability. SHRM next conducted (also in
2012) a multi-organizational criterion validation study,
involving a highly diverse sample of more than 800
HR professionals and their supervisors, to measure
the link between the competency model and job
performance. The results of this study established
that proficiency in the SHRM-defined competencies
is closely linked to successful job performance.

In 2014, SHRM conducted a knowledge
specification exercise to further develop the HR
Expertise technical competency in particular. First,
SHRM performed an extensive review of the
existing literature on HR knowledge, including
textbooks, curricula, syllabi and other educator
resources, to determine the universe of potential
areas of knowledge that HR professionals need to
perform their jobs. SHRM also consulted its own
academic and employer surveys regarding the
functional knowledge that HR professionals need
to achieve success in the HR field. SHRM drew on
this research to create a preliminary knowledge
framework for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams.

Second, SHRM established in 2014 a BoCK Advisory
Panel of 19 HR and business leaders from various
industries, including retail, research, consulting,
health care and manufacturing. This panel reviewed
the proposed content and framework of the HR
Expertise competency to ensure its accuracy and
comprehensiveness. The panel also defined, for
each functional area, associated key concepts and
proficiency indicators. Upon completion of these
studies, SHRM adopted the framework as the basis
for the HR Expertise technical competency.

Development of the SHRM BoCK

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 5

INTRODUCTION

More recently, SHRM undertook an extensive
refinement of the SHRM BoCK, to clarify the
competencies and functional areas. This effort
was designed primarily to meet the needs of
HR professionals studying for the SHRM-CP and
SHRM-SCP exams. Because the certification exams
are based on the BoCK, the resulting clarifications
also assist HR subject matter experts (SMEs) who
write and refine exam items.

SHRM conducted a practice analysis from 2015
through 2016 to use as a basis for refining
this edition of the BoCK. The practice analysis
mirrored the process used to develop and refine
the SHRM Competency Model. More than 100

HR professionals, representing the global HR
community with participants from North America,
Europe, Africa and Asia, engaged in a series of
focus groups. In 2015, following an extensive review
and revision of each component of the BoCK,
SHRM launched a validation survey to confirm and
further refine its contents, collecting responses from
more than 9,000 HR professionals around the world.

FIGURE 2: Development of the SHRM Competency Model and SHRM BoCK

Development and validation of
SHRM Competency Model
(2011-2014)

Development of SHRM BoCK
(2014)

Practice analysis to update
and refine SHRM BoCK
(2015-2016)

Review of existing
competency models
and best practices

Review of
existing literature
(e.g., textbooks,
curricula, syllabi)

Review and refinement
by HR technical experts

Content validation
study with 32,000+
HR professionals

Technical review by
BoCK Advisory Panel

Validation study
with 9,000+ HR
professionals

Focus groups with
nearly 1,200

HR professionals;
survey of 600+ CHROs

Refinement of
knowledge areas with
BoCK Advisory Panel

Focus groups with
100+ HR professionals

Validation study with
800+ HR professionals
and their supervisors

SHRM BoCK

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE6

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

New Material in the 2017 BoCK
The present document is the product of extensive
review and expansion, based on the research
conducted between 2015 and 2016 described
above. The 2017 BoCK more clearly defines and
describes the behavioral and technical knowledge
requirements for HR professionals that will meet
the current and future needs of employers. The
revisions provide additional clarity and guidance to
facilitate HR professionals’ career development and
advancement.

Enhancements to the 2017 BoCK include:

• Revised and expanded definitions of behavioral
competencies and functional areas;

• Addition of subcompetencies to the behavioral
competencies, clarifying the links between
proficiency indicators and competency
definitions;

• Increased parallelism between the two sets of
proficiency indicators (“For All HR Professionals”
and “For Advanced HR Professionals”);

• Addition of key concepts to the behavioral
competencies, describing the foundational
knowledge for each competency;

• Addition of a glossary defining selected HR terms
used in the BoCK (see Appendix A); and

• A refined and expanded list of resources on
the HR profession generally and on behavioral
competencies and technical knowledge
functional areas specifically (see Appendix B),
designed to provide additional guidance to
readers seeking career advancement, which
includes SHRM certification.

Two major content modifications enhance the clarity
and utility of the BoCK:

• To better demonstrate the interrelationships
among the behavioral competencies, they have
been grouped into three clusters: Leadership,
Interpersonal and Business.

• Within the technical competency of HR Expertise,
there are now three (not four) knowledge
domains: People, Organization and Workplace.
The original fourth domain, Strategy, has been
absorbed into the first domain, People, and its
original functional area, Business & HR Strategy,
has been renamed HR Strategic Planning.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 7

The eight behavioral competencies, which
describe the behaviors and attributes necessary
for HR professionals to perform effectively in the
workplace and operate with a strategic mindset,
are grouped into three clusters: Leadership,
Business and Interpersonal.

This section of the BoCK is arranged by cluster,
each of which is defined at the beginning of its
subsection. For each competency within each
cluster, the following information is provided:

• A Definition of the competency;

• Key Concepts describing the foundational
knowledge for the competency;

• Subcompetencies applicable to the competency,
with their definitions; and

• Proficiency Indicators, listed by applicability
based on career level (i.e., applicable to all HR
professionals or to advanced HR professionals).

Regarding the two sets of proficiency indicators
listed for each competency, it is important to
recognize that the indicators relevant to all
HR professionals also apply to advanced HR
professionals. While HR executives, for instance,
may not be specifically proficient in certain
transactional tasks required of early-career HR
professionals, they should nonetheless understand
the concepts behind those tasks, recognize
their strategic importance, and be able to mentor
junior employees in developing the behaviors to
implement them. Such indicators of proficiency thus
apply to all HR professionals, from early-career to
senior levels.

Organization of the SHRM BoCK Document
The HR competencies and knowledge that are assessed on the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams are
detailed in the SHRM BoCK, which consists of the following two sections:

The single technical competency of HR Expertise
is grouped into three knowledge domains: People,
Organization and Workplace, and further divided
into 15 HR functional areas that describe the
technical knowledge required to perform key HR
activities.

This section of the BoCK is arranged by knowledge
domain, each of which is defined at the beginning
of its subsection. For each functional area within
each domain, the following information is provided:

• A Definition of the functional area;

• Key Concepts describing the knowledge specific
to the functional area; and

• Proficiency Indicators, listed by applicability
based on career level (i.e., applicable to all HR
professionals or to advanced HR professionals).

Regarding the two sets of proficiency indicators
listed for each functional area, it is important
to recognize that the indicators relevant to all
HR professionals also apply to advanced HR
professionals. While HR executives, for instance,
may not be specifically proficient in certain functions
required of early-career HR professionals, they
should nonetheless understand the concepts
behind those functions, recognize their strategic
importance, and be able to mentor junior
employees in developing the behaviors to perform
them. Such indicators of proficiency thus apply to all
HR professionals, from early-career to senior levels.

Section 2 – HR Expertise (HR Knowledge):

Section 1 – Behavioral Competencies:

INTRODUCTION

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE8

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

This section describes the important behavioral competencies that comprise one part of SHRM’s dual
approach to competencies. This approach, which is supported by SHRM research (see Introduction),
emphasizes the critical roles played by technical HR knowledge (what you know) and by behavioral
competencies (how you apply what you know) in contributing to eff ective HR practice.

Behavioral competencies describe the behaviors and attributes necessary for HR professionals to operate
with a strategic mindset and perform eff ectively in the workplace. They facilitate the application of technical
knowledge (i.e., HR Expertise), which may be defi ned as the principles, practices and functions of eff ective
HR management (see Section 2). Successful HR professionals must understand the behavioral components
of HR practice in addition to being in command of technical HR knowledge.

How to Read This Section
The eight SHRM-defi ned behavioral competencies are grouped into three clusters: Leadership,
Interpersonal and Business. Each competency is further divided into several subcompetencies that more
specifi cally describe its components. Each subcompetency is comprised of several Profi ciency Indicators—
specifi c behavioral statements that illustrate eff ective HR practice. Figure 3 provides an overview of this
organizing framework.

An in-depth description is provided for each cluster. The following information is provided for each
competency:

• A Defi nition of the competency;

• Key Concepts describing the foundational knowledge for the competency;

• Subcompetencies applicable to the competency, with their defi nitions; and

• Profi ciency Indicators, listed by their applicability based on career level (i.e., applicable to all HR
professionals or to advanced HR professionals.)

SECTION 1:
Behavioral Competencies

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 9

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

CLUSTER COMPETENCY DEFINITION

Leadership & Navigation

The knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) needed to navigate the
organization and accomplish HR goals, to create a compelling vision and mission for HR
that aligns with the strategic direction and culture of the organization, to lead and promote
organizational change, to manage the implementation and execution of HR initiatives, and
to promote the role of HR as a key business partner.

Ethical Practice
The KSAOs needed to maintain high levels of personal and professional integrity, and to act
as an ethical agent who promotes core values, integrity and accountability throughout the
organization.

Relationship Management
The KSAOs needed to create and maintain a network of professional contacts within and
outside of the organization, to build and maintain relationships, to work as an eff ective
member of a team, and to manage confl ict while supporting the organization.

Communication
The KSAOs needed to eff ectively craft and deliver concise and informative communications,
to listen to and address the concerns of others, and to transfer and translate information
from one level or unit of the organization to another.

Global & Cultural
Eff ectiveness

The KSAOs needed to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all
parties, to interact with others in a global context, and to promote a diverse and inclusive
workplace.

Business Acumen
The KSAOs needed to understand the organization’s operations, functions and external
environment, and to apply business tools and analyses that inform HR initiatives and
operations consistent with the overall strategic direction of the organization.

Consultation

The KSAOs needed to work with organizational stakeholders in evaluating business
challenges and identifying opportunities for the design, implementation and evaluation of
change initiatives, and to build ongoing support for HR solutions that meet the changing
needs of customers and the business.

Critical Evaluation
The KSAOs needed to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data, and to interpret
and promote fi ndings that evaluate HR initiatives and inform business decisions and
recommendations.

Le
ad

er
sh

ip
In

te
rp

er
so

na
l

B
us

in
es

s

FIGURE 3: Organizing Framework of Behavioral Competency Clusters

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE10

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 11THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 11

Leadership
CLUSTER

All eff ective HR professionals must display strong leadership skills with a strategic
mindset, regardless of their career or experience level or job functions.

There are two behavioral competencies in the Leadership cluster: Leadership &
Navigation and Ethical Practice. These competencies describe the behaviors, attributes
and underlying knowledge necessary for HR professionals to develop, implement and
evaluate strategic directives for HR teams in principled ways.

Key components of Leadership-cluster behavioral competencies include: setting
and implementing a vision and direction for the HR function; managing or leading
organizational initiatives; infl uencing and supporting other organizational members
and leaders; driving an ethical organizational environment; and behaving in an ethical
manner that promotes high standards of integrity and the organization’s values.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE12

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

Leadership behaviors are critical to HR practice.
Effective leadership is associated with such
positive outcomes as improved employee attitudes
(e.g., job satisfaction, commitment, engagement),
decreased turnover and increased performance. As
business leaders, effective HR professionals set a
direction and vision for the HR function, influence
stakeholders, and motivate and guide followers to
achieve organizational objectives.

HR professionals at every level are required to
demonstrate proficiency in leadership. Early-career
professionals can behave in ways consistent with
organizational culture and foster collaboration with
coworkers. Mid- and senior-level HR professionals
can develop strategies to implement HR initiatives
and support organizational initiatives. Executives
can demonstrate positive leadership behaviors by
establishing a vision for HR initiatives, working to
obtain buy-in from relevant stakeholders, serving as
transformational leaders to implement change, and
leading the organization in the face of adversity.

Navigation, an essential and sometimes
forgotten component of this competency,
concerns the people and processes leveraged
by an HR professional to get things done. The
subcompetency “Navigating the organization”
associated with Leadership & Navigation describes
the behaviors necessary for HR professionals to
work within the organization’s structure, processes
and bureaucracy and achieve their objectives.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Leadership theories (e.g., situational leadership,

transformational leadership, participative
leadership, inclusive leadership).

• People management techniques (e.g., directing,
coaching, supporting, delegating).

• Motivation theories (e.g., goal-setting theory,
expectancy theory, attribution theory, self-
determination theory).

• Influence and persuasion techniques (e.g.,
personal appeal, forming coalitions, leading by
example, rational persuasion).

• Trust- and relationship-building techniques (e.g.,
emotional and social intelligence).

Leadership & Navigation
Definition: Leadership & Navigation is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics
(KSAOs) needed to navigate the organization and accomplish HR goals, to create a compelling vision and
mission for HR that aligns with the strategic direction and culture of the organization, to lead and promote
organizational change, to manage the implementation and execution of HR initiatives, and to promote the
role of HR as a key business partner.

Leadership & Navigation is comprised of four subcompetencies:

• Navigating the organization

• Vision

• Managing HR initiatives

• Influence

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 13

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Navigating the
organization –
Works within the
parameters of
the organization’s
hierarchy,
processes,
systems and
policies.

»» Demonstrates an understanding of formal and informal
work roles, leader goals and interests, and relationships
among employees.
»» Facilitates communication and decision-making
necessary to implement initiatives.
»» Uses an understanding of the organization’s processes,
systems and policies to facilitate the successful
implementation of HR initiatives.
»» Uses awareness and understanding of the
organization’s political environment and culture to
implement HR initiatives.

»» Demonstrates an understanding of formal and informal work
roles, leader goals and interests, and relationships among
executives.
»» Uses an understanding of the complex relationships among
the organization’s formal and informal processes, systems
and policies to facilitate the development and implementation
of HR’s strategic direction.
»» Uses an understanding of the organization’s political
environment to develop and implement HR’s strategic
direction, implement needed changes, and resolve talent
needs and issues.
»» Uses an understanding of complex relationships among
organizational leaders to facilitate the design, implementation
and maintenance of initiatives proposed by other executives.

Vision – Defines
and supports a
coherent vision
and long-term
goals for HR
that support
the strategic
direction of the
organization.

»» Embraces and supports the business unit’s and/or
organization’s culture, values, mission and goals.
»» Defines actionable goals for the development and
implementation of HR programs, practices and
policies that support the strategic vision of HR and the
organization.
»» Identifies opportunities to improve HR operations that
better align with and support the strategic vision of HR
and the organization.
»» Supports the implementation of HR programs, practices
and policies that uphold the strategic vision of HR and
the organization.

»» Envisions the current and ideal future states of the HR
function, organization and culture, to identify gaps and areas
for improvement.
»» Develops the long-term strategic direction, vision and goals
of HR and the organization, to close the gap between
the current and ideal states of the HR function and the
organization.
»» Develops a broad plan to achieve the strategic direction,
vision and goals of HR and the organization.
»» Solicits feedback from executive-level stakeholders on
strategic direction, vision and goals.

Managing HR
initiatives –
Executes the
implementation
and management
of HR projects
or initiatives that
support HR and
organizational
objectives.

»» Defines and elaborates project requirements set forth
by senior leadership.
»» Sets and monitors project goals and progress
milestones.
»» Manages project budgets and resources.
»» Identifies and develops solutions for overcoming
obstacles to the successful completion of projects.
»» Identifies and monitors the resources necessary to
implement and maintain HR projects.
»» Identifies when resource allocation is inconsistent with
project needs and makes adjustments as necessary.
»» Demonstrates agility and adaptability when project
requirements, goals or constraints change.

»» Translates HR’s vision, strategic direction and long-term goals
into specific projects and initiatives with clear timelines and
goals.
»» Monitors the progress of HR initiatives toward achievement of
HR’s vision, strategic direction and long-term goals.
»» Collaborates with senior leadership to remove obstacles to
the successful implementation of HR initiatives.
»» Obtains and deploys organizational resources and monitors
their effectiveness.
»» Ensures accountability for the implementation of project plans
and initiatives.

Influence
– Inspires
colleagues to
understand
and pursue the
strategic vision
and goals of
HR and the
organization.

»» Builds credibility as an HR expert within and outside of
the organization.
»» Promotes buy-in among organizational stakeholders for
HR initiatives.
»» Motivates HR staff and other stakeholders to support
HR’s vision and goals.
»» Serves as an advocate for the organization or
employees, when appropriate, to ensure advancement
of the organization’s strategic direction and goals.

»» Promotes the role of the HR function in achieving the
organization’s mission, vision and goals.
»» Builds credibility for the organization regionally, nationally or
internationally as an HR expert.
»» Serves as an influential voice for HR strategies, philosophies
and initiatives within the organization.
»» Advocates for the implementation of evidence-based HR
solutions.
»» Inspires HR staff, non-HR customers and executive-level
organizational stakeholders to support and pursue the
organization’s strategic direction, vision and long-term goals.
»» Builds consensus among senior leaders about the
organization’s strategic direction and long-term goals.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE14

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

Organizations of all types and sizes place an
emphasis on ethics in the workplace. Ethical
Practice affects everything from recruiting a
diverse workforce, to ensuring the confidentiality
of sensitive employee data. HR professionals are
often asked to make significant ethical decisions,
and are tasked with navigating the ethical mazes
that surround them. HR leaders are responsible
for setting and contributing to a strong ethical
climate. Such an environment can help protect an
organization from adverse employee behaviors, and
is associated with higher levels of organizational
performance.

In recognition of cross-cultural differences in
ethical standards, the Ethical Practice competency
does not provide a single, universal list of ethical
principles applicable to all HR professionals,
and should not be interpreted as embodying
one. Instead, this competency leaves room
for individuals to define and apply appropriate
ethical standards suitable to their cultures and
organizations.

The “Personal integrity” subcompetency associated
with Ethical Practice describes adherence to one’s
own ethical principles, and recognizes the potential
for bias. The “Professional integrity” subcompetency
describes the ethical pressures of professional
relationships, and encourages HR professionals to
act ethically and perform their jobs in light of the
core values of their organization. The “Ethical agent”
subcompetency considers an HR professional a
driver of the organization’s ethical environment—
someone who ensures that organizational policies
and practices reflect ethical and organizational
values.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):

• Ethical business principles and practices (e.g.,
transparency, confidentiality, conflicts of interest).

• Anonymity, confidentiality, and privacy principles
and policies.

• Codes of conduct.

Ethical Practice
Definition: Ethical Practice is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs)
needed to maintain high levels of personal and professional integrity, and to act as an ethical agent who
promotes core values, integrity and accountability throughout the organization.

Ethical Practice is comprised of three subcompetencies:
• Personal integrity
• Professional integrity
• Ethical agent

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 15

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Personal
integrity –
Demonstrates
high levels
of integrity
in personal
relationships and
behaviors.

»» Shows consistency between espoused and
enacted values.
»» Acknowledges mistakes and demonstrates
accountability for actions.
»» Recognizes personal biases and the biases of
others, and takes steps to increase self-awareness.
»» Serves as a role model of personal integrity and
high ethical standards.

»» Brings potential conflicts of interest or unethical behaviors to the
attention of senior leaders and other executives.
»» Helps others to identify and understand their biases.

Professional
integrity –
Demonstrates
high levels
of integrity in
professional
relationships and
behaviors.

»» Does not take adverse actions based on personal
biases.
»» Maintains privacy, in compliance with laws and
regulations mandating a duty to report unethical
behavior.
»» Uses discretion appropriately when communicating
sensitive information, and informs stakeholders of
the limits of confidentiality and privacy.
»» Maintains current knowledge of ethics laws,
standards, legislation and emerging trends that may
affect organizational HR practice.
»» Leads HR investigations of employees in a
thorough, timely and impartial manner.
»» Establishes oneself as credible and trustworthy.
»» Applies, and challenges when necessary, the
organization’s ethics and integrity policies.
»» Manages political and social pressures when
making decisions and when implementing and
enforcing HR programs, practices and policies.
»» Provides open, honest and constructive feedback
to colleagues when situations involving questions
of ethics arise.

»» Withstands politically motivated pressure when developing or
implementing strategy, initiatives or long-term goals.
»» Balances ethics, integrity, organizational success, employee
advocacy and organizational mission and values when creating
strategy, initiatives or long-term goals.
»» Establishes the HR team as a credible and trustworthy resource.
»» Promotes the alignment of HR and business practices with ethics
laws and standards.
»» Makes difficult decisions that align with organizational values and
ethics.
»» Applies power or authority appropriately.

Ethical agent
– Cultivates the
organization’s
ethical
environment,
and ensures
that policies and
practices reflect
ethical values.

»» Empowers all employees to report unethical
behaviors and conflicts of interest without fear of
reprisal.
»» Takes steps to mitigate the influence of bias in HR
and business decisions.
»» Maintains appropriate levels of transparency for HR
programs, practices and policies.
»» Identifies, evaluates and communicates to
leadership potential ethical risks and conflicts of
interest.
»» Ensures that staff members have access to and
understand the organization’s ethical standards and
policies.

»» Advises senior management
of organizational risks and
conflicts of interest.
»» Collaborates with senior
leaders to support internal
ethics controls.
»» Develops and provides
expertise for HR policies,
standards, and other internal
ethics controls (e.g., protection
of employee confidentiality,
standards for employee
investigations) to minimize
organizational risks from
unethical practices.
»» Creates and oversees HR
programs, practices and
policies that drive an ethical
culture, encourage employees
to report unethical practices
and behaviors, and protect the
confidentiality of employees
and data.

»» Communicates a vision for
an organizational culture in
which there is consistency
between the organization’s
and employees’ espoused and
enacted values.
»» Develops HR programs,
practices and policies that meet
high standards of ethics and
integrity.
»» Designs and oversees
systems to ensure that all HR
investigations are conducted in
a thorough, timely and impartial
manner.
»» Audits and monitors adherence
to HR programs, practices and
policies pertaining to ethics.
»» Designs and oversees learning
and development programs
covering ethics.
»» Implements and maintains
a culture and organizational
system that encourages all
employees to report unethical
practices and behaviors.

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE16

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 17

Interpersonal
CLUSTER

Successful HR professionals eff ectively build and manage a network of relationships
with other employees, with organizational leaders, and with professional colleagues
outside their organization.

There are three behavioral competencies in the Interpersonal cluster: Relationship
Management, Communication and Global & Cultural Eff ectiveness. These competencies
describe the behaviors, attributes and underlying knowledge necessary for HR
professionals to perform the collaborative and interpersonal aspects of their jobs.

Key components of Interpersonal behavioral competencies include: networking;
building and maintaining professional relationships; successfully managing confl ict and
negotiations; clearly and eff ectively communicating with stakeholders; and operating
within a diverse and global workforce.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE18

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

Effective HR professionals leverage a network
of relationships with their HR colleagues,
organizational stakeholders, and business contacts
to advance the organization’s practice of HR
management. Relationship building can lead to
both individual and organizational success. Positive
employee-supervisor relationships, for example,
are associated with higher salaries, increased
promotions, greater career mobility and other
rewards, and improved feelings of belonging
and inclusion in the workplace. Similarly, positive
relationships with coworkers are associated with
greater job satisfaction, involvement, performance,
team cohesion, organizational commitment, and
decreased turnover intentions.

In team settings, HR professionals who are adept
at using their relationship management skills foster
collaboration and open communication among
colleagues. They help to establish an organizational
environment that values and promotes teamwork.
Effective HR professionals are also able to identify
potential sources of conflict, and encourage parties
in conflict to stay positive, respectful and task-
related. In the case of counterproductive conflict,
competent HR professionals work to identify root
causes and mediate disputes in an impartial and
respectful manner.

In negotiations within and outside the organization,
HR professionals serve as their organization’s
representative, working to understand the position
of all negotiating parties to achieve a mutually
acceptable resolution.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Types of conflict (e.g., relationship, task, inter- and

intra-organizational).

• Conflict resolution styles (e.g., avoidance,
competition, cooperation, conciliation).

• Conflict resolution techniques (e.g.,
accommodate, avoid, collaborate).

• Negotiation, tactics, strategies and styles (e.g.,
perspective taking, principled bargainer, auction,
interest-based bargaining).

Relationship Management
Definition: Relationship Management is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics
(KSAOs) needed to create and maintain a network of professional contacts within and outside of the
organization, to build and maintain relationships, to work as an effective member of a team, and to manage
conflict while supporting the organization.

Relationship Management is comprised of five subcompetencies:
• Networking
• Relationship building
• Teamwork
• Conflict management
• Negotiation

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Networking
– Effectively
builds a network
of professional
contacts both
within and outside
of the organization

»» Develops and maintains a network of professional contacts within
the organization, including peers in both HR and non-HR roles, HR
customers and stakeholders.
»» Develops and maintains a network of external partners (e.g., vendors).
»» Develops and maintains a network of professional colleagues in the HR

community at large, for professional development and to fill business
needs (e.g., identification of new talent).

»» Creates opportunities for HR employees to network
and build relationships with higher-level leaders in the
organization and in the HR community at large.
»» Develops and maintains a network of contacts within the

organization (e.g., senior leaders from other business units)
and outside of the organization (e.g., members of legislative
bodies, community leaders, union heads, external HR
leaders).

Relationship
building –
Effectively builds
and maintains
relationships
both within and
outside of the
organization.

»» Develops and maintains mutual trust and respect with colleagues.
»» Develops and maintains a pattern of reciprocal exchanges of support,

information and other valued resources with colleagues.
»» Demonstrates concern for the well-being of colleagues.
»» Establishes a strong and positive reputation, within and outside the

organization, as an open and approachable HR professional.
»» Ensures that all stakeholder voices are heard and acknowledged.
»» Identifies and leverages areas of common interest among stakeholders,

to foster the success of HR initiatives.
»» Develops working relationships with supervisors and HR leaders

by promptly and effectively responding to work assignments,
communicating goal progress and project needs, and managing work
activities.

»» Develops HR’s objectives and goals for relationship
management.
»» Develops and maintains relationships in the HR community

at large through leadership positions in other organizations.
»» Leverages relationships to learn about best practices for

and new approaches to building competitive advantage.

Teamwork –
Participates as
an effective team
member, and
builds, promotes
and leads effective
teams.

»» Builds engaged relationships with team members through trust,
task-related support and direct communication.
»» Fosters collaboration and open communication among stakeholders

and team members.
»» Supports a team-oriented organizational culture.
»» Creates and/or participates in project teams comprised of HR and

non-HR employees.
»» Embraces opportunities to lead a team.
»» Identifies and fills missing or unfulfilled team roles.

»» Fosters an organizational culture that supports intra-
organizational teamwork and collaboration (e.g., silo-
busting).
»» Creates and leads teams with senior leaders from across

the organization.
»» Designs and oversees HR initiatives that promote effective

team processes and environments.

Conflict
management
– Manages and
resolves conflicts
by identifying
areas of common
interest among the
parties in conflict.

»» Resolves and/or mediates conflicts in a respectful, appropriate and
impartial manner, and refers them to a higher level when warranted.
»» Identifies and addresses the underlying causes of conflict.
»» Facilitates difficult interactions among employees to achieve optimal

outcomes.
»» Encourages productive and respectful task-related conflict, using it to

facilitate change.
»» Serves as a positive role model for productive conflict.
»» Identifies and resolves conflict that is counterproductive or harmful.

»» Designs and oversees conflict resolution strategies and
processes throughout the organization.
»» Facilitates difficult interactions among senior leaders to

achieve optimal outcomes.
»» Identifies and reduces potential sources of conflict when

proposing new HR strategies or initiatives.
»» Mediates or resolves escalated conflicts.

Negotiation –
Reaches mutually
acceptable
agreements
with negotiating
parties within and
outside of the
organization.

»» Maintains a professional demeanor during negotiation discussions.
»» Applies an understanding of the needs, interests, issues and bargaining

position of all parties to negotiation discussions.
»» Offers appropriate concessions to promote progress toward

an agreement.
»» Adheres to applicable negotiation- and bargaining-related

laws and regulations.
»» Evaluates progress toward an agreement.
»» Identifies an ideal solution or end state for negotiations, monitors

progress toward that end state, and ends negotiations when
appropriate.

»» Negotiates with stakeholders within and outside of the
organization in complex and high-stakes negotiations.
»» Defines the parameters of negotiating boundaries on behalf

of the HR unit.
»» Achieves a mutually acceptable agreement in difficult and

complex negotiations.

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 19

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE20

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

This competency describes the behavior and
knowledge needed for effective two-way
communication.

HR professionals often serve as the “voice of
HR,” communicating related information (e.g.,
interpretation of HR policies) to employees and
other stakeholders. In this capacity, they must
know how to deliver clear and accurate messages
across a variety of mediums (e.g., through oral
presentations, in e-mails) to audiences of all sizes
and backgrounds. Senior-level HR professionals
may need to describe to employees or other
organizational leaders the organization’s overall
HR strategy, including how it supports the broader
organization’s initiatives, goals and strategic
direction.

The Communication competency also reflects the
need for HR professionals to listen. Successful
practitioners engage in active listening techniques,
striving to understand the perspective and
viewpoint of the communicator and clarifying
information as necessary to better understand the
message being conveyed.

The behaviors required of senior- and executive-
level HR leaders also include facilitating effective
organizational communication across departments,
gathering input from key organizational
stakeholders, and creating and maintaining
an organizational culture that encourages and
rewards constructive communication upward, from
employees to leadership.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Elements of communication (e.g., source, sender,

receiver, message feedback).

• General communication techniques (e.g.,
planning communications, active listening).

• Communication techniques for specialized
situations (e.g., giving feedback, facilitating focus
groups, facilitating staff meetings).

• Communications media (e.g., phone, e-mail, face-
to-face, report, presentation, social media).

Communication
Definition: Communication is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs)
needed to effectively craft and deliver concise and informative communications, to listen to and address the
concerns of others, and to transfer and translate information from one level or unit of the organization
to another.

Communication is comprised of three subcompetencies:

• Delivering messages
• Exchanging organizational information
• Listening

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 21

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Delivering messages
– Develops and
delivers, to a variety
of audiences,
communications that
are clear, persuasive
and appropriate to the
topic and situation.

»» Presents needed information to stakeholders and
refrains from presenting unneeded information.
»» Uses an understanding of the audience to craft
the content of communications (e.g., translates
technical jargon), and chooses the best medium for
communication.
»» Uses appropriate business terms and vocabulary.
»» Ensures that the delivered message is clear and
understood by the listener.
»» Crafts clear, organized, effective and error-free
messages.
»» Creates persuasive and compelling arguments.

»» Demonstrates fluency in the business language of
senior leaders.
»» Communicates difficult or negative messages in an
honest, accurate, and respectful manner.
»» Comfortably presents to audiences of all sizes and
backgrounds.

Exchanging
organizational
information –
Effectively translates
and communicates
messages among
organizational levels or
units.

»» Effectively communicates HR programs, practices
and policies to both HR and non-HR employees.
»» Helps non-HR managers communicate HR issues.
»» Voices support for HR and organizational initiatives in
communications with stakeholders.
»» Effectively communicates with senior HR leaders.

»» Communicates HR’s vision, strategy, goals and culture
to senior leaders and HR staff.
»» Articulates to senior leaders the alignment of HR’s
strategies and goals with the organization’s.
»» Implements policies and initiatives that create
channels for open communication throughout the
organization, across and within levels of responsibility.
»» Prepares and delivers to senior- and board-level
audiences messages on important, high-visibility HR
and organizational issues.

Listening –
Understands
information provided
by others.

»» Listens actively and empathetically to others’ views
and concerns.
»» Welcomes the opportunity to hear competing points
of view and does not take criticism personally.
»» Seeks further information to clarify ambiguity.
»» Promptly responds to and addresses stakeholder
communications.
»» Interprets and understands the context of, motives for
and reasoning in received communications.
»» Solicits feedback from senior leaders in other
business units about the HR function.

»» Develops an organizational culture in which upward
communication is encouraged and senior leaders are
receptive to staff views and opinions.
»» Establishes processes to gather feedback from the
entire organization about the HR function.

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE22

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

Many HR professionals work in a global business
environment, which today encompasses
multinationals with offices abroad as well as
domestic organizations with foreign suppliers. HR
professionals are more frequently coming into
contact with individuals from other cultures and
with workers from other countries. According
to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2010
approximately 40 million people living in the U.S.
were foreign-born; according to a United Nations
report in 2015, there were 244 million migrants
worldwide. Both sources indicated that migration
has increased dramatically and will continue to do
so in the coming years.

In this light, the importance of the Global & Cultural
Effectiveness behavioral competency is evident.
Successful HR professionals understand how their
organizations operate in a global context and how
global events affect their organizations. They show
openness and acceptance to people from other
cultures. They help employees navigate differences
in global laws, policies, values, traditions and
customs. They create HR initiatives and policies
that balance the cultural differences of diverse
employees with the need for fair and consistent
application—a particularly difficult task.

Most importantly, perhaps, is the responsibility
of HR professionals to promote the value of
cultural diversity by creating an open, inviting
work environment and organizational culture that
respects all employees’ unique contributions.
The most effective HR practitioner recognizes
the cultural diversity that exists among the
organization’s employees—even one with domestic-
only operations—and leverages that diversity for
lasting competitive advantage.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Cultural intelligence.

• Cultural norms, values and dimensions (e.g., Hall,
Hofstede, Schein, Trompenaars models).

• Techniques for bridging individual differences and
perceptions (e.g., barrier removal, assimilation).

• Best practices for managing globally diverse
workforces.

• Interactions and conflicts of professional and
cultural values.

Global & Cultural Effectiveness
Definition: Global & Cultural Effectiveness is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other
characteristics (KSAOs) needed to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties,
to interact with others in a global context, and to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Global & Cultural Effectiveness is comprised of three subcompetencies:
• Operating in a diverse workplace
• Operating in a global environment
• Advocating for a diverse and inclusive workplace

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 23

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Operating in a
diverse workplace
– Demonstrates
openness and tolerance
when working with
people from different
cultural traditions.

»» Demonstrates a general awareness and
understanding of and respect for cultural differences
and issues.
»» Adapts behavior to navigate different cultural
conditions, situations and people.
»» Demonstrates acceptance of colleagues from
different cultures.
»» Promotes the benefits of a diverse and inclusive
workforce.
»» Promotes inclusion in daily interactions with others.
»» Conducts business with an understanding of and
respect for cross-cultural differences in customs and
acceptable behaviors.

»» Drives a culture that values diversity and inclusion.
»» Advocates for the strategic connection of diversity and
inclusion practices to organizational success.

Operating in a
global environment
– Effectively
manages globally
influenced workplace
requirements to achieve
organizational goals.

»» Demonstrates an understanding, from a global
perspective, of the organization’s line of business.
»» Tailors HR initiatives to local needs by applying an
understanding of cultural differences.
»» Conducts business with an understanding of and
respect for differences in rules, laws, regulations and
accepted business operations and practices.
»» Applies knowledge of global trends when
implementing or maintaining HR programs, practices
and policies.
»» Operates with a global mindset while remaining
sensitive to local issues and needs.
»» Manages contradictory or paradoxical practices,
policies and cultural norms, to ensure harmony.

»» Creates an HR strategy that incorporates the
organization’s global competencies and perspectives
on organizational success.
»» Uses expert knowledge about global HR trends,
economic conditions, labor markets and legal
environments to set HR’s strategic direction and
to inform development and implementation of HR
initiatives.
»» Uses expert knowledge about global HR trends,
economic conditions, labor markets and legal
environments to evaluate the impact of diversity and
inclusion on the organization’s HR strategy.

Advocating for a
diverse and inclusive
workplace – Designs,
implements and
promotes organizational
policies and practices
to ensure diversity
and inclusion in the
workplace.

»» Supports an organizational culture that values
diversity and promotes inclusion.
»» Uses the organization’s policies and philosophy
toward diversity and inclusion to inform business
decisions and implementation of HR programs,
practices and policies.
»» Designs, recommends, implements, and/or audits HR
programs, practices and policies intended to ensure
diversity and inclusion.
»» Ensures that HR programs, practices and policies are
applied consistently and respectfully to all staff.

»» Develops HR initiatives, programs and policies that
support the organization’s policies and philosophy
toward diversity and inclusion.
»» Ensures that learning and development programs (or
other appropriate interventions) about diversity and
cultural sensitivity are provided to employees at all
levels of the organization.
»» Develops HR initiatives that will be applied
consistently and fairly to all staff.
»» Drives an HR strategy that leverages diversity,
inclusion and cultural differences for organizational
success.

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE24

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 25THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 25

Business
CLUSTER

There are three behavioral competencies in the Business cluster: Business Acumen,
Consultation and Critical Evaluation. These competencies describe the behaviors,
attributes and underlying knowledge necessary for HR professionals to identify, design,
implement and evaluate HR solutions that meet business objectives.

Key components of Business behavioral competencies include: ensuring that HR
contributes to the strategic direction of the organization; understanding the business and
the environment in which it operates; designing and implementing business solutions to
meet human capital needs; contributing to and leading change management initiatives;
and gathering and analyzing data to inform business decisions.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE26

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGETHE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

HR can provide a critical and unique contribution
to the organization’s competitive advantage
through effective management of human capital.
This advantage is most pronounced when HR
professionals develop human capital programs,
policies and systems that align with and contribute
to the organization’s goals and strategic direction.

As they work with non-HR colleagues in other
departments, HR professionals should be able to
understand the organization’s business as a whole
and recognize what unique roles HR can play in
organizational success.

Effective HR professionals have a well-developed
proficiency in Business Acumen. They understand
the core functions of the business, including how it
operates and how HR practices contribute to those
operations. They understand the organization’s
external environment, including the effects of
external factors on competitive advantage. They
master business analysis techniques, which
enable them to design or modify initiatives that
enhance HR’s contributions to the overall business.
Successful senior-level HR professionals create
HR programs that they can ensure are in strategic
alignment with the organization’s goals, strategy
and objectives.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Business terms and concepts (e.g., return on

investment [ROI]).

• Analyzing and interpreting business documents
(e.g., balance sheets, budgets, cash flow
statements, profit and loss statements).

• Elements of a business case.

• Business intelligence techniques and tools (e.g.,
online analytical processing, advanced analytics,
business intelligence portals).

• Financial analysis and methods for assessing
business health.

Business Acumen
Definition: Business Acumen is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs)
needed to understand the organization’s operations, functions and external environment, and to apply
business tools and analyses that inform HR initiatives and operations consistent with the overall strategic
direction of the organization.

Business Acumen is comprised of three subcompetencies:
• Business and competitive awareness
• Business analysis
• Strategic alignment

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 27

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Business and
competitive awareness
– Understands
the organization’s
operations, functions,
products and services,
and the competitive,
economic, social and
political environments in
which the organization
operates.

»» Uses organizational and external resources to
learn about the organization’s business operations,
functions, products and services.
»» Uses organizational and external resources to learn
about the political, economic, social, technological,
legal and environmental (PESTLE) trends that
influence the organization.
»» Applies knowledge of the organization’s business
operations, functions, products and services, in order
to implement HR solutions and inform business
decisions.
»» Applies knowledge of the organization’s industry and
PESTLE trends, in order to implement HR solutions
and inform HR decisions.

»» Gathers and applies business intelligence about
PESTLE trends to define HR’s strategic direction and
long-term goals.
»» Applies expert knowledge of the organization’s
business operations, functions, products and services
when setting HR’s strategic direction and long-term
goals.
»» Applies an understanding of the labor market when
developing a strategy to manage and compete
for talent.
»» Participates in advocacy activities involving
government policy and proposed regulations related
to the organization’s HR strategies and long-term
goals.

Business analysis
– Applies business
metrics, principles and
technologies to inform
and address business
needs.

»» Uses cost-benefit analysis, organizational metrics
and key performance indicators to inform business
decisions.
»» Applies principles of finance, marketing, economics,
sales, technology, law and business systems to
internal HR programs, practices and policies.
»» Uses HR information systems (HRIS) and business
technology to solve problems and address needs.

»» Designs, implements and evaluates HR initiatives with
consideration of value-added, ROI, utility, revenue,
profit and loss statements and other business
indicators.
»» Uses risk assessment to inform HR’s and the
organization’s strategic direction and long-term goals.
»» Determines the budget and resource requirements of
HR initiatives.
»» Develops HRIS and business technology to solve
business problems and address needs.
»» Examines organizational problems and opportunities
in terms of integrating HR solutions that maximize ROI
and strategic effectiveness.

Strategic alignment
– Aligns HR strategy,
communications,
initiatives and
operations with the
organization’s strategic
direction.

»» Demonstrates an understanding of the relationship
between effective HR and effective core business
functions.
»» Aligns decisions with HR’s and the organization’s
strategic direction and goals.
»» Makes the business case, or provides the data to
build the case, for HR initiatives and their influence
on efficient and effective organizational functioning
(e.g., ROI for HR initiatives).

»» Defines and communicates HR’s and the
organization’s strategy, goals and challenges in terms
of business results.
»» Aligns HR’s strategic direction and long-term goals
with the organization’s overall business strategy and
objectives.
»» Applies the perspective of systems thinking to make
HR and business decisions.
»» Drives key business results by developing strategies
and long-term goals that account for senior leaders’
input.
»» Serves as a strategic contributor to organizational
decision-making on fiscal issues, product/service
lines, operations, human capital and technology.
»» Evaluates all proposed business cases for HR
initiatives.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE28

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGETHE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

Because HR professionals are expected to be key
contributors to the achievement of organizational
goals in alignment with the organization’s
strategic direction, a well-developed Consultation
competency is important for effective HR practice.

HR professionals collaborate with other business
professionals to create and implement HR solutions
that meet the needs of their organizations. They
apply their expertise in human capital issues to
confront and deal with related challenges (in
staffing, training and development, performance,
employee relations, etc.).

HR professionals collaborate and partner with
stakeholders by actively engaging them as
participants in the job at hand, translating technical
HR concepts and information into actionable
recommendations. As business partners, HR
professionals use their human capital expertise to
generate creative, evidence-based solutions, and
to provide accurate, timely guidance. Best practices
form the basis for such guidance, as well as
research that takes into account the organization’s
unique internal and external environments.

To support the implementation of HR solutions and
changes, HR professionals integrate them into
existing systems, recognize and resolve business
constraints, and obtain buy-in by partnering with
organizational leaders and colleagues. To provide

ongoing support for customers, HR professionals
identify, define and resolve customer needs and
contribute to a customer-centric organizational
culture.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Organizational change management theories,

models (e.g., Lewin’s change management model,
McKinsey 7-S model, Kotter’s 8-step change
model), and processes (e.g., leadership buy-in,
building a case for change, engaging employees,
communicating change, removing barriers).

• Consulting processes and models (e.g., discovery,
analysis and solution, recommendation,
implementation), including the contributions
of consulting to organizational systems and
processes.

• Effective consulting techniques (e.g.,
understanding organizational culture,
understanding areas and limits of one’s own
expertise, setting reasonable expectations,
avoiding overpromising).

• Key components of successful client interactions
(e.g., listening, empathy, communication, follow-
up).

• Methods for design and delivery of HR service
functions and processes (e.g., issue tracking,
client service).

Consultation
Definition: Consultation is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs)
needed to work with organizational stakeholders in evaluating business challenges and identifying
opportunities for the design, implementation and evaluation of change initiatives, and to build ongoing
support for HR solutions that meet the changing needs of customers and the business.

Consultation is comprised of five subcompetencies:
• Evaluating business challenges
• Designing HR solutions
• Implementing and supporting HR solutions
• Change management
• Customer interaction

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 29

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Evaluating business
challenges – Works
with business partners
and leaders to identify
business challenges
and opportunities for
HR solutions.

»» Develops an understanding of the organization’s
current and future HR challenges, and helps
to identify HR needs and opportunities for
improvement.
»» Identifies current and future HR-related threats and
liabilities.
»» Identifies existing HR programs, practices and
policies that impede or support business success.

»» Works with senior leadership to identify how HR
can improve business outcomes and support the
organization’s strategic direction and long-term goals.

Designing HR
solutions – Works with
business partners and
leaders to design HR
solutions and initiatives
that meet business
needs.

»» Offers, in partnership with stakeholders, HR solutions
for business needs that are creative, innovative,
effective and based on best practices and/or
research.
»» Provides guidance to non-HR managers regarding
HR practices, compliance, laws, regulations and
ethics.
»» Defines clear goals and outcomes for HR solutions,
using them to drive solution design.

»» Works with key internal customers to identify initiatives
that minimize threats and liabilities.
»» Determines the strategic approach to remediation of
HR-related threats and liabilities.
»» Works with business leaders to create innovative,
evidence-based talent management strategies that
align with and drive the organization’s strategy.
»» Designs and oversees evidence-based long-term
strategic HR and business solutions.

Implementing and
supporting HR
solutions – Works with
business partners and
leaders to implement
and support HR
solutions and initiatives.

»» Provides guidance to non-HR managers and
business unit teams on implementation of HR-related
solutions.
»» Works with business partners to overcome obstacles
to implementation of HR solutions.
»» Provides follow-up to and ongoing support for
implementation of HR solutions, to ensure their
continued effectiveness.
»» Ensures that implementation of HR solutions adheres
to defined goals and outcomes.

»» Provides ongoing support and HR solutions to
business unit leaders on the organization’s strategic
direction.
»» Encourages staff and other leaders to provide input on
strategic HR and business decisions.
»» Works with senior leaders to overcome strategic
obstacles to implementation of HR initiatives.
»» Integrates HR solutions with related organizational
processes, systems and other business or
management initiatives.

Change management
– Leads and supports
maintenance of or
changes in strategy,
organization and/or
operations.

»» Recommends ways to improve HR programs,
practices and policies.
»» Promotes buy-in among organizational stakeholders
when implementing change initiatives.
»» Builds buy-in among staff for organizational change.
»» Aligns and deploys HR programs to support change
initiatives.

»» Works with other senior executives to identify when
and where change is or is not needed.
»» Builds buy-in among senior leadership and staff at all
levels for organizational change.
»» Defines change objectives and goals.
»» Oversees implementation of change initiatives across
business units and throughout the organization.
»» Partners with other business leaders to achieve
change objectives and goals.
»» Provides support to HR staff at all levels during change
initiatives.

Customer interaction
– Provides high-quality
customer service and
contributes to a strong
customer service
culture.

»» Identifies, defines and clarifies customer needs
and requirements, and reports on the status of HR
services provided and results achieved.
»» Responds promptly, courteously and openly to
customer requests, and takes ownership of customer
needs.
»» Identifies and resolves risks and early-stage
problems in meeting customer needs.
»» Manages interactions with vendors and suppliers to
maintain service quality.

»» Designs and oversees HR programs, practices and
policies that ensure a strong, high-quality customer
service culture in the HR function.
»» Oversees HR’s customer service objectives and
outcomes.
»» Identifies larger system needs and issues influencing
market requirements, and engages outside
stakeholders to help meet requirements that go
beyond HR’s functional assignment.
»» Develops and promotes an organizational culture that
excels at meeting customer needs.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE30

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

In today’s data-driven workplace, HR professionals
rely on metrics and analytics to evaluate and
enhance the effectiveness of human capital
programs. (Examples of such data inquiries
include: comparing the cost-per-hire of college
recruiting fairs against online job ads; measuring
the production-related efficiency gains associated
with an employee training program; and identifying
future workforce needs based on voluntary
turnover rates.) By collecting and properly utilizing
metrics, HR professionals add value to their role in
the organization, and are seen by organizational
leaders as reliable strategic partners.

An evidence-based approach to HR characterizes
the Critical Evaluation behavioral competency.
Effective HR professionals know how to identify
key sources of data that are useful and relevant
for informing HR actions and decisions. They
can assess that data to evaluate its quality and
limitations. They are skilled at analyzing and
interpreting data. HR professionals should be
familiar with various methods of data collection and
basic statistical tests.

In the role of advocates for evidence-based
practice, HR professionals embrace novel
approaches for collecting and using data,
encourage its systematic use in organizational
decision-making, and contribute to a culture of
evidence-driven HR practice.

Key Concepts (foundational knowledge):
• Survey and assessment tools (e.g., development,

administration, validation of surveys and
assessments).

• Sources of data (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus
groups).

• Basic concepts in statistics (e.g., descriptive
statistics, correlation) and measurement (e.g.,
reliability, validity).

• Interpretation of data and charts.

• Using data to support a business case
(e.g., interpretation, visualization, graphical
representation).

Critical Evaluation
Definition: Critical Evaluation is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs)
needed to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data, and to interpret and promote findings that
evaluate HR initiatives and inform business decisions and recommendations.

Critical Evaluation is comprised of four subcompetencies:
• Data advocate
• Data gathering
• Data analysis
• Evidence-based decision-making

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 31

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

SUBCOMPETENCIES
PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

Data advocate
– Understands
and promotes the
importance and utility
of data.

»» Demonstrates an understanding of the importance
of using data to inform business decisions and
recommendations.
»» Promotes the importance of evidence-based
decision-making.
»» Promotes the importance of validating HR programs,
practices and policies to ensure that they achieve
desired outcomes.
»» Identifies decision points that can be informed by
data and evidence.

»» Promotes the role of evidence in setting and validating
HR’s strategic direction and long-term goals.
»» Supports an organizational culture that promotes
the collection and incorporation of data (e.g., risks,
economic and environmental factors) into decision-
making, and supports the organizational processes,
policies and procedures to do so.
»» Promotes the utility of HR metrics for understanding
organizational performance.
»» Ensures that the HR function uses data to inform
decision-making and the development and evaluation
of HR initiatives.

Data gathering –
Understands how
to determine data
utility, and identifies
and gathers data to
inform organizational
decisions.

»» Maintains working knowledge of data collection,
research methods, benchmarks and HR metrics.
»» Identifies sources of the most relevant data for
solving organizational problems and answering
questions.
»» Gathers data using appropriate methods (e.g.,
surveys, focus groups) to inform and monitor
organizational solutions.
»» Scans external sources for data relevant to the
organization (e.g., risks, economic and environmental
factors).
»» Benchmarks HR initiatives and outcomes against
the organization’s competition and other relevant
comparison groups.

»» Ensures that resources and processes are in place to
facilitate systematic collection of data, to inform HR’s
strategic direction and long-term goals.
»» Identifies new sources of data or new methods of data
collection to inform and evaluate HR initiatives.
»» Interacts with senior leaders outside the organization
to collect data relevant to HR.

Data analysis –
Analyzes data to
evaluate HR initiatives
and business
challenges.

»» Maintains working knowledge of statistics and
measurement concepts.
»» Identifies potentially misleading or flawed data.
»» Conducts analyses to identify evidence-based best
practices, evaluate HR initiatives and determine
critical findings.
»» Maintains objectivity when interpreting data.

»» Maintains advanced knowledge of statistics and
measurement concepts.
»» Oversees comprehensive and systematic evaluations
of the organization’s HR programs, practices and
policies.
»» Critically reviews and interprets the results of analyses
to identify evidence-based best practices, evaluate HR
initiatives and determine critical findings.

Evidence-based
decision-making –
Uses the results of data
analysis to inform the
best course of action.

»» Reports key findings to senior business and HR
leaders.
»» Uses research findings to evaluate different courses
of action and their impacts on the organization.
»» Applies data-driven knowledge and best practices
from one situation to the next, as appropriate.
»» Ensures that HR programs, practices and policies
reflect research findings and best practices.
»» Objectively examines HR programs, practices and
policies in light of data.

»» Communicates to other senior leaders in the
organization critical data analysis findings and their
implications for HR’s strategic direction and goals.
»» Uses research findings to inform HR’s strategic
direction and long-term goals.
»» Develops best practices based on evidence from
industry literature, peer-reviewed research and other
sources, including experience.
»» Sponsors evidence-based initiatives for process
improvement.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE32

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

SECTION 2:
HR Expertise (HR Knowledge)

Technical HR knowledge (i.e., HR Expertise) is defi ned as the principles, practices and functions of eff ective
HR management. Its application is facilitated by behavioral competencies (see Section 1). Successful HR
professionals must be in command of both technical HR knowledge and the behavioral components of HR
practice. This approach, which is supported by SHRM research (see Introduction), emphasizes the critical
and integrated roles played by technical HR knowledge (what you know) and by behavioral competencies
(how you apply what you know) in contributing to eff ective HR practice.

How to Read This Section
The technical competency of HR Expertise encompasses the core HR knowledge that an HR professional
needs to eff ectively perform key HR activities HR Expertise is grouped into three knowledge domains:
People, Organization and Workplace. Each domain is further divided into functional areas, which more
specifi cally describe the knowledge required to perform those functions. All together, HR Expertise covers 15
functional areas. Figure 4 provides an overview of this organizing framework.

An in-depth description is provided for each knowledge domain. The following information is provided for
each functional area:

• A Defi nition of the functional area;

• Key Concepts describing the knowledge specifi c to the functional area; and

• Profi ciency Indicators, listed by their applicability based on career level (i.e., applicable to all HR
professionals or to advanced HR professionals).

32 THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIESSECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FIGURE 4: Organizing Framework of the Technical Competency (HR Expertise) Knowledge Domains

DOMAIN FUNCTIONAL AREA DEFINITION

HR Strategic Planning
Involves the activities necessary for developing, implementing and managing the strategic
direction required to achieve organizational success and to create value for stakeholders.

Talent Acquisition
Encompasses the activities involved in building and maintaining a workforce that meets the
needs of the organization.

Employee Engagement &
Retention

Refers to the activities aimed at retaining high-performing talent, solidifying and improving
the relationship between employees and the organization, creating a thriving and energized
workforce, and developing eff ective strategies to address appropriate performance
expectations from employees at all levels.

Learning & Development
The activities that enhance the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs)
and competencies of the workforce in order to meet the organization’s business needs.

Total Rewards
Refers to the design and implementation of compensation systems and benefi t packages,
which employers use to attract and retain employees.

Structure of the HR Function
Encompasses the people, processes, theories and activities involved in the delivery of
HR-related services that create and drive organizational eff ectiveness.

Organizational Eff ectiveness
& Development

Concerns the overall structure and functionality of the organization, and involves
measurement of long- and short-term eff ectiveness and growth of people and processes, and
implementation of necessary organizational change initiatives.

Workforce Management
Refers to HR practices and initiatives that allow the organization to meet its talent needs (e.g.,
workforce planning, succession planning) and to close critical gaps in competencies.

Employee & Labor Relations
Refers to any dealings between the organization and its employees regarding the terms and
conditions of employment.

Technology Management
Involves the use of existing, new and emerging technologies to support the HR function,
and the development and implementation of policies and procedures governing the use of
technologies in the workplace.

HR in the Global Context
Focuses on the role of the HR professional in managing global workforces to achieve
organizational objectives.

Diversity & Inclusion
Encompasses activities that create opportunities for the organization to leverage the unique
backgrounds and characteristics of all employees to contribute to its success.

Risk Management
The identifi cation, assessment and prioritization of risks, and the application of resources to
minimize, monitor and control the probability and impact of those risks accordingly.

Corporate Social
Responsibility

Represents the organization’s commitment to operate in an ethical and sustainable manner by
engaging in activities that promote and support philanthropy, transparency, sustainability and
ethically sound governance practices.

U.S. Employment Law &
Regulations

Refers to the knowledge and application of all relevant laws and regulations in the United
States relating to employment—provisions that set the parameters and limitations for each HR
functional area and for organizations overall.

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THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 33

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34 THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 35

People
KNOWLEDGE DOMAIN

This domain covers essential HR knowledge relating to people. Its functional areas
include: HR Strategic Planning, Talent Acquisition, Employee Engagement & Retention,
Learning & Development, and Total Rewards.

To perform their job functions eff ectively, HR professionals need to know how to:
create and set the strategic direction of the HR function; acquire or develop the talent
necessary for pursuing organizational goals; maintain a satisfi ed and engaged workforce
while minimizing unwanted employee turnover; and develop a total rewards program that
maximizes the eff ectiveness of the organization’s compensation and benefi ts.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE36

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #1: HR Strategic Planning
Definition: HR Strategic Planning involves the activities necessary for developing, implementing and
managing the strategic direction required to achieve organizational success and to create value for
stakeholders.

HR professionals at all career levels are expected
to support and contribute to the strategic
role of HR and the strategic direction of the
organization. To do so effectively, they need a
solid grasp of systems thinking and theory, which
explains how organizational systems—including
HR—work together. Practitioners must be able to
understand and identify the contributions of the
organization’s strategic direction to organizational
decision-making, and the contributions of each
organizational system to the organization’s overall
strategy.

When HR professionals work with other business
leaders to engage in strategic planning and analysis,
they do so with an understanding of the external
environment. They incorporate the organization’s
mission and vision into goal setting, and they
determine how HR can help the organization create
and sustain competitive advantage.

HR professionals at all career levels can use
project management skills (e.g., project planning,
monitoring, reporting, leadership) to carry out
key initiatives that contribute to the goals of the
HR function, and that are based on the strategic
direction of the organization. Such programs should
be continually evaluated by HR professionals as
to their impact on the organization, in order to
maximize their positive contributions.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to project management (e.g.,

traditional, Lean Six Sigma, agile, critical chain)
and processes (e.g., initiating, planning and
design, launching/executing, monitoring and
controlling, closing).

• Concepts of systems thinking (e.g., related parts,
input-process-output) and components of an
organizational system (e.g., interdependence,
necessity of feedback, differentiation of units).

• Organizational mission, vision and values, and
their relation to strategic management and
planning.

• Project planning, monitoring and reporting
methods and tools (e.g., critical path analysis,
Gantt charts, variance analysis, outcome
monitoring).

• Project leadership, governance and structures
(e.g., team roles, team management, work
breakdown structures).

• Role of strategic management and planning in
creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

• Strategic planning analysis frameworks (e.g.,
PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis, industry
analysis, scenario planning, growth-share matrix).

• Strategic planning process (e.g., formulation,
goal-setting, implementation, evaluation).

• Systems theory and input-process-output models.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 37

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Uses the perspective of systems thinking to understand how the
organization operates.
»» Informs business decisions with knowledge of the strategy and goals
of HR and the organization.
»» Develops and implements an individual action plan for executing HR’s
strategy and goals.
»» Uses benchmarks, industry metrics and workforce trends to
understand the organization’s market position and competitive
advantage.
»» Informs HR leadership of new or overlooked opportunities to align
HR’s strategy with the organization’s.
»» Provides HR leadership with timely and accurate information required
for strategic decision-making.

»» Identifies the ways in which the HR function can support the
organization’s strategy and goals.
»» Engages other business leaders in strategic analysis and planning.
»» Evaluates HR’s critical activities in terms of value added, impact and
utility, using cost-benefit analysis, revenue, profit-and-loss estimates
and other leading or lagging indicators.
»» Provides HR-focused expertise to other business leaders when
formulating the organization’s strategy and goals.
»» Develops and implements HR strategy, vision and goals that align with
and support the organization’s strategy and goals.
»» Ensures that HR strategy creates and sustains the organization’s
competitive advantage.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE38

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #2: Talent Acquisition

Definition: Talent Acquisition encompasses the activities involved in building and maintaining a workforce that
meets the needs of the organization.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Understands the talent needs of the organization or business unit.
»» Uses a wide variety of talent sources and recruiting methods to attract
qualIfied applicants.
»» Uses technology (e.g., social media, applicant tracking software
[ATS]) to support effective and efficient approaches to sourcing and
recruiting employees.
»» Promotes and uses the EVP and employment brand for sourcing and
recruiting applicants.
»» Uses the most appropriate hiring methods to best evaluate a
candidate’s technical skills, organizational fit and alignment with the
organization’s competencies needs.
»» Conducts appropriate pre-employment screening.
»» Implements effective onboarding and orientation programs for new
employees.
»» Designs job descriptions to meet the organization’s resource needs.

»» Analyzes staffing levels and projections, to forecast workforce needs.
»» Develops strategies for sourcing and acquiring a workforce that meets
the organization’s needs.
»» Establishes an EVP and employment brand that supports recruitment
of high-quality job applicants.
»» Designs and oversees effective strategies for sourcing, recruiting and
evaluating qualified job candidates.
»» Designs and oversees employee onboarding and assimilation
processes.
»» Designs and oversees valid and systematic programs for assessing the
effectiveness of talent acquisition activities that meet the organization’s
needs.

Attracting, recruiting and selecting talent to meet
organizational staffing needs is a key responsibility
of the HR function. HR professionals carry out
these functions effectively by analyzing and
understanding the organization’s workforce
requirements and staffing levels, which enables
them to accurately assess its current and future
talent needs.

To create and maintain a workforce that meets
organizational goals, HR professionals identify the
best and most efficient sources of talent. Then they
use a variety of methods, from employer branding
to social media, to recruit or attract that talent to
the organization. HR professionals use high-quality,
valid, cost-effective methods to evaluate each
candidate, identifying those who will best meet
the organization’s labor requirements and facilitate
achievement of strategic goals.

To ensure the continuous improvement of the
organization’s approach to talent acquisition, HR
professionals regularly evaluate it to identify areas
that can be improved.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to employee onboarding.

• Approaches to sourcing (e.g., external talent
pipelines).

• Employment categories (e.g., salaried/
hourly, contract, temporary, interns).

• Job analysis and identification of job
requirements

• Job offer contingencies (e.g., background
investigations, credit checks).

• Job offer negotiations (e.g., salary).

• Methods for creating and maintaining a
positive employer value proposition (EVP) and
employment brand.

• Methods for external and internal employee
recruitment (e.g., job ads, career fairs).

• Methods for selection assessment (e.g., ability,
job knowledge, non-cognitive tests, assessment
centers, interviews).

• Talent acquisition metrics (e.g., cost per hire, time
to fill).

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 39

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #3: Employee Engagement & Retention
Definition: Employee Engagement & Retention refers to activities aimed at retaining high-performing talent,
solidifying and improving the relationship between employees and the organization, creating a thriving and
energized workforce, and developing effective strategies to address appropriate performance expectations
from employees at all levels.

Employee turnover and poor performance can be
extremely costly and disruptive to organizations.
HR practices that create and maintain an engaged,
satisfied workforce and a positive organizational
culture, however, can mitigate these problems, by
improving organizational performance and the
retention of high-performing talent.

This can be accomplished by HR professionals who
comprehend the theories and concepts behind job
attitudes (e.g., satisfaction, engagement), the causes
of turnover, and the most effective ways of measuring
both. HR professionals should understand best
practices relating to such data, including analysis,
identification of key findings and their communication
to senior leadership.

HR professionals should know how to design and
create HR systems and interventions that apply
these data to improve job attitudes and build a
positive organizational culture, and how to use the
appropriate metrics to evaluate such improvement.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to developing and maintaining a

positive organizational culture (e.g., learning
strategies, communication strategies, building
values).

• Approaches to recognition (e.g., performance or
service awards).

• Creation, administration, analysis and
interpretation of employee attitude surveys.

• Creation, planning and management of employee
engagement activities.

• Employee lifecycle phases (e.g., recruitment,
integration, development, departure).

• Employee retention concepts (e.g., causes of
turnover) and best practices (e.g., realistic job
previews [RJP]).

• Influence of culture on organizational outcomes
(e.g., organizational performance, organizational
learning, innovation).

• Interventions for improving job attitudes.

• Job attitude theories and basic principles (e.g.,
engagement, satisfaction, commitment).

• Job enrichment/enlargement principles and
techniques.

• Key components of, and best practices associated
with, performance management systems.

• Methods for assessing employee attitudes (e.g.,
focus groups, stay interviews, surveys).

• Principles of effective performance appraisal (e.g.,
goal setting, giving feedback).

• Retention and turnover metrics (e.g., voluntary
turnover rate).

• Types of organizational cultures (e.g., authoritarian,
mechanistic, participative, learning, high
performance).

• Workplace flexibility programs (e.g., telecommuting,
alternative work schedules).

(CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE40

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Designs, administers, analyzes and interprets surveys of employee
attitudes (e.g., engagement, job satisfaction) and culture.
»» Administers and supports HR and organizational programs designed
to improve employee attitudes and culture (e.g., social events,
telecommuting policies, recognition, job enlargement/enrichment,
workplace flexibility).
»» Identifies program opportunities to create more engaging or
motivating jobs (e.g., job enrichment/enlargement).
»» Monitors changes in turnover and retention metrics, and ensures that
leadership is aware of such changes.
»» Coaches supervisors on creating positive working relationships with
their employees.
»» Trains stakeholders on use of organization’s performance
management systems (e.g., how to enter performance goals, make
ratings).
»» Helps stakeholders understand the elements of satisfactory employee
performance and performance management.
»» Implements and monitors processes that measure effectiveness of
performance management systems.

»» In collaboration with other leaders, defines an organizational strategy
to create an engaged workforce.
»» Implements best practices for employee retention in HR programs,
practices and policies (e.g., RJP, career development programs,
employee socialization).
»» Communicates to other senior leaders the results of surveys of
employee attitudes and culture.
»» Designs and oversees an action plan to address the findings of
employee attitude surveys.
»» Designs and oversees HR and organizational programs designed
to improve employee attitudes (e.g., social events, telecommuting
policies, recognition, job enlargement/enrichment, workplace
flexibility).
»» Holistically monitors the organization’s metrics on employee attitudes,
turnover and retention, and other information about employee
engagement and retention.
»» Designs and oversees best practices-based employee performance
management systems that meet the organization’s talent management
needs.
»» Designs and oversees processes to measure the effectiveness of
performance management systems.

FUNCTIONAL AREA #3: Employee Engagement & Retention (CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE)

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 41

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #4: Learning & Development
Definition: Learning & Development activities enhance the knowledge, skills, abilities and other
characteristics (KSAOs) and competencies of the workforce in order to meet the organization’s
business needs.

Learning and development is a key function
of HR, and HR professionals play a vital role in
enhancing the capabilities of employees to advance
organizational goals. Using their understanding of
learning theories and approaches, HR professionals
design and implement a variety of learning and
development activities (e.g., training programs,
coaching and mentoring programs, developmental
assignments).

HR professionals should develop and implement
structures for sharing and ensuring the retention
of key knowledge and skills throughout the
organization. Learning and development programs
should be evaluated for their effectiveness and
impact on employees’ day-to-day work behaviors.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to coaching and mentoring (e.g.,

formal, informal mentorship programs).

• Career development.

• Developmental assessments (e.g., 360s).

• Knowledge-sharing techniques and facilitation.

• Learning and development approaches and
techniques (e.g., e-learning, leader development).

• Learning and development program design and
implementation (e.g., ADDIE model).

• Learning evaluation (e.g., Kirkpatrick 4-level
model).

• Learning theories (e.g., adult learning theory).

• Needs analysis types (e.g., person, organizational,
training, cost-benefit) and techniques (e.g.,
surveys, observations, interviews).

• Organizational analysis (e.g., performance
analysis).

• Techniques for career development (e.g., career
pathing, career mapping).

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Uses best practices to evaluate data on gaps in competencies.
»» Creates individual development plans (IDPs) in collaboration with
supervisors and employees.
»» Uses best practices to develop and deliver learning and development
activities that close gaps in employees’ competencies and skills.
»» Uses all available resources (e.g., vendors) to develop and deliver
effective learning and development programs.
»» Creates internal social networks to facilitate knowledge-sharing
among employees.
»» Administers and supports programs to promote knowledge transfer.

»» Designs and oversees efforts to collect data on critical gaps in
competencies.
»» Provides guidance to identify and develop critical competencies that
meet the organization’s talent needs.
»» Monitors the effectiveness of programs for emerging leaders and
leadership development.
»» Creates long-term organizational strategies to develop talent.
»» Creates strategies to ensure the retention of organizational
knowledge.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE42

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #5: Total Rewards

Definition: Total Rewards refers to the design and implementation of compensation systems and benefit
packages, which employers use to attract and retain employees.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Collects, compiles and interprets compensation and benefits data from
various sources (e.g., remuneration surveys, labor market trends).
»» Implements appropriate pay, benefit, incentive, separation and
severance systems and programs.
»» Complies with best practices for and laws and regulations governing
compensation and benefits.
»» Differentiates between government-mandated, government-provided
and voluntary benefit approaches.
»» Performs accurate job evaluations to determine appropriate
compensation.

»» Designs and oversees organizational compensation and benefits
philosophies, strategies and plans that align with the organization’s
strategic direction and talent needs.
»» Designs and oversees executive compensation approaches that
directly connect individual performance to organizational success.
»» Ensures the internal equity of compensation systems.

By creating compensation and benefits plans that attract
and retain talent, HR professionals play a key role in
maintaining the organization’s most valuable resource—its
employees.

HR professionals are responsible for developing,
understanding and consistently applying the organization’s
compensation and benefits philosophy. The process by
which they do so includes such actions as: determining
appropriate total rewards levels to meet organizational
needs through job evaluation; benchmarking against other
organizations; conducting remuneration surveys; and
analyzing labor market data.

Total rewards plans, including those for special groups
(e.g., executives), should fully integrate and maximize
the effectiveness of monetary compensation (i.e., salary,
bonuses), employee benefits (e.g., health care, paid
leave), and other forms of compensation (e.g., deferred
compensation). HR professionals should continually
evaluate and revise the organization’s compensation
philosophy and approach to ensure that organizational
needs are met.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to gathering compensation- and benefits-

related market and competitive intelligence (e.g.,
remuneration surveys).

• Basic accounting and financial knowledge for managing
payroll (e.g., total compensation statements).

• Compensation philosophies.

• Compensation plans for common and special workforce
groups (e.g., domestic, global/expatriate, executive,
sales).

• Job evaluation for determining compensation and
benefits.

• Leave plans and approaches (e.g., vacation, holiday, sick,
paid/unpaid leave).

• Other benefits (e.g., disability, unemployment insurance,
employee assistance programs, family, flex, wellness
programs).

• Other compensation (e.g., deferred compensation, direct/
indirect compensation, stock options).

• Pay practices and issues (e.g., pay increases, base pay,
pay levels, banding, variable pay).

• Remuneration and labor market data collection and
interpretation.

• Remuneration data analysis (e.g., comparable worth,
determining compensation, internal alignment, external
competitiveness).

• Retirement planning and benefits (e.g., pension plans).

• Total rewards metrics and benchmarks.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 43THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 43

Organization
KNOWLEDGE DOMAIN

This domain covers critical HR knowledge relating to the organization. Its functional
areas include: Structure of the HR Function, Organizational Eff ectiveness & Development,
Workforce Management, Employee & Labor Relations, and Technology Management.

To carry out their job responsibilities eff ectively, HR professionals need to know how
to: create an eff ective HR function fully aligned to organizational strategy; enhance the
eff ectiveness of the organization at large; ensure that the organization’s talent pool has
the skills and capabilities to achieve organizational goals; promote positive relationships
with employees; and leverage technology to improve HR functioning.

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THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #6: Structure of the HR Function
Definition: Structure of the HR Function encompasses the people, processes, theories and activities involved
in the delivery of HR-related services that create and drive organizational effectiveness.

Effective HR functions, whether executed by a
department with hundreds of employees or by
a single person, must be structured to meet the
needs of organizational stakeholders. How these
functions are structured is highly dependent on their
complexity, the organization’s characteristics (e.g.,
size, sector, unionization), and HR’s role.

To ensure that the HR function is optimally
structured and integrated with the rest of the
organization, HR professionals should know about
the different types of HR service models, and
should understand how various HR services are
integrated, aligned and/or appropriately outsourced.

Ongoing data collection enables HR professionals
to evaluate HR’s effectiveness and identify
areas for improvement. To accomplish this, they
gather feedback from stakeholders and calculate
appropriate metrics for determining HR-related
performance and satisfaction.

When necessary, HR professionals should be
able to recognize opportunities to improve HR
operations or structure in response to such factors
as changes in the workforce, globalization and
organizational restructuring.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to HR operational integration (i.e.,

how HR structures work together).
• Approaches to HR function/service models (e.g.,

centralized vs. decentralized).
• Approaches to HR structural models (e.g., Center

of Excellence [COE], shared services).
• Elements of the HR function (e.g. recruiting, talent

management, compensation, benefits).
• HR-function metrics (e.g., HR staff per full-

time employee, customer satisfaction, key
performance indicators, balanced scorecard).

• HR staff roles, responsibilities and functions (e.g.,
generalists, specialists, HR business partners).

• Outsourcing of HR functions.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Adapts work style to fit the organization’s HR service model (e.g.,
centralized vs. decentralized), to ensure timely and consistent delivery
of services to stakeholders.
»» Seeks feedback from stakeholders to identify opportunities for HR
function improvements.
»» Acts as HR point-of-service contact for key stakeholders within a
division or group.
»» Provides consultation on HR issues to all levels of leadership and
management.
»» Coordinates with other HR functions to ensure timely and consistent
delivery of services to stakeholders.
»» Ensures that outsourced and/or automated HR functions are
integrated with other HR activities.
»» Analyzes and interprets key performance indicators to understand the
effectiveness of the HR function.

»» Designs and implements the appropriate HR service model for the
organization (e.g., centralized vs. decentralized), to ensure efficient
and effective delivery of services to stakeholders.
»» Creates long-term goals that address feedback from stakeholders
identifying opportunities for HR function improvements.
»» Ensures that all elements of the HR function (e.g., recruiting, talent
management, compensation and benefits, learning and development)
are aligned and integrated, and provide timely and consistent delivery
of services to stakeholders.
»» Identifies opportunities to improve HR operations by outsourcing work
or implementing technologies that automate HR functions (e.g., time,
payroll).
»» Designs and oversees programs to collect, analyze and interpret key
performance indicators (e.g., balanced scorecard) to evaluate the
effectiveness of HR activities in supporting organizational success.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 45

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #7: Organizational Effectiveness & Development

Definition: Organizational Effectiveness & Development concerns the overall structure and functionality of
the organization, and involves measurement of long- and short-term effectiveness and growth of people and
processes, and implementation of necessary organizational change initiatives.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Ensures that key documents and systems (e.g., job postings and
descriptions, performance management systems) accurately reflect
workforce activities.
»» Supports change initiatives to increase the effectiveness of HR
systems and processes.
»» Identifies areas in the organization’s structures, processes and
procedures that need change.
»» Provides recommendations for eliminating barriers to organizational
effectiveness and development.
»» Collects and analyzes data on the value of HR initiatives to the
organization.

»» Aligns HR’s strategy and activities with the organization’s mission,
vision, values and strategy.
»» Regularly monitors results against performance standards and goals in
support of the organization’s strategy.
»» Establishes measurable goals and objectives to create a culture of
accountability.
»» Consults on, plans and designs organizational structures that align
with the effective delivery of activities in support of the organization’s
strategy.
»» Assesses organizational needs to identify critical competencies for
operational effectiveness.
»» Designs and oversees change initiatives to increase the effectiveness
of HR systems and processes.
»» Ensures that HR initiatives demonstrate measurable value to the
organization.

Organizational effectiveness describes the extent to
which an organization is able to achieve its desired
goals. Organizational development describes the
ongoing maintenance of a workforce capable
of accomplishing these goals. HR functions for
human capital management play a key role in
organizational effectiveness and development.

HR ensures that key documents are accurate
and reflective of critical workforce activities,
so that all stakeholders have a common and
accurate understanding of employees’ roles and
responsibilities. HR professionals use their in-depth
knowledge and understanding of organizational
design principles, organizational performance
theories, and inter- and intra-group dynamics to
recommend ways to remove barriers that impede
organizational functioning.

HR professionals collect and evaluate data on
the performance of HR and the contributions of
HR initiatives to the organization. They establish
measurable goals for continuous improvement and
instill a culture of accountability.

Key Concepts:
• Application of behavioral assessments (e.g.,

personality assessments).

• Intergroup dynamics (e.g., intergroup conflict).

• Intragroup dynamics (e.g., group formation,
identity, cohesion, structure, influence on
behavior).

• Organizational design structures and approaches
(e.g., customer, functional, geographic, matrix,
program).

• Organizational performance theories, structures,
and approaches.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE46

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #8: Workforce Management
Definition: Workforce Management refers to HR practices and initiatives that allow the organization to meet
its talent needs (e.g., workforce planning, succession planning) and close critical gaps in competencies.

Workforce management describes an integrated
set of practices designed to optimize staffing and
productivity of employees, and effectiveness of
the organization as a whole. HR professionals
continually evaluate the ability of the organization’s
workforce to meet the organization’s strategic
goals. Where competency gaps are identified, HR
professionals develop comprehensive plans to
meet the organization’s competency and talent
needs.

To ensure continuity of leadership, HR professionals
work with other organizational leaders to develop
and implement leadership development initiatives
(e.g., succession planning, development of high-
potential employees).

Key Concepts:
• Analysis of labor supply and demand.

• Approaches to restructuring (e.g., mergers and
acquisitions, downsizing).

• Best practices and techniques for knowledge
management, retention and transfer.

• Leadership development and planning (e.g.,
high-potential development programs).

• Succession planning programs and techniques.

• Techniques for organizational need-gap analysis
(e.g., examination of HR records, interviews, focus
groups).

• Workforce planning approaches, techniques
and analyses (e.g., attrition, gap and solution,
implementation and evaluation, reduction in force,
supply and demand, workforce profile).

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Identifies gaps in workforce competencies and misalignment of
staffing levels.
»» Implements approaches (e.g., buy or build) to ensure that appropriate
workforce staffing levels and competencies exist to meet the
organization’s goals and objectives.
»» Plans short-term strategies to develop workforce competencies that
support the organization’s goals and objectives.
»» Administers and supports approaches (e.g., succession plans, high-
potential development programs) to ensure that the organization’s
leadership needs are met.
»» Supports strategies for restructuring the organization’s workforce (e.g.,
mergers and acquisitions, downsizing).

»» Evaluates how the organization’s strategy and goals align with future
and current staffing levels and workforce competencies.
»» Develops strategies to maintain a robust workforce that has the talent
to carry out the organization’s current and future strategy and goals.
»» Coordinates with business leaders to create strategies (e.g.,
succession planning, leadership development, training) that address
the organization’s leadership needs.
»» Develops strategies for restructuring the organization’s workforce
(e.g., mergers and acquisitions, downsizing).

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 47

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #9: Employee & Labor Relations

Definition: Employee & Labor Relations refers to any dealings between the organization and its employees
regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

When interacting with employees or their
representatives (e.g., union representatives), HR
professionals serve as the voice of the organization.
In this role, they may lead negotiations with labor
unions (e.g., supporting or leading the organization’s
efforts during the collective bargaining process) or
with other parties. Because they are responsible
for ensuring that employees are treated fairly, HR
professionals must maintain expert-level knowledge
of employment rights, standards and unfair labor
practices. They may lead employee investigations,
establish disciplinary procedures and address
employee grievances and complaints.

By developing and implementing workplace
policies, handbooks and codes of conduct, HR
professionals serve as a resource for employees.
To ensure positive employee-organization
relationships, HR professionals educate non-HR
employees about operating within the bounds
of labor agreements or policies, help non-HR
managers deal with difficult employees, and work to
prevent retaliation.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to retaliation prevention.

• Approaches to union-organization relations
(e.g., collective bargaining, contract negotiation,
contract administration process).

• Causes of and methods for preventing and
addressing strikes, boycotts and work stoppages.

• Disciplinary procedures and approaches.

• Employment rights, standards and concepts (e.g.,
labor rights, living wage and fair wage concepts,
standard workday), according to the International
Labor Organization (ILO).

• Techniques for disciplinary investigations.

• Techniques for grievance and complaint
resolution.

• Types and development of compliance and
ethics programs (e.g., design, implementation,
performance measures).

• Types and structures of organized labor (e.g.,
unions, works councils, trade union federations,
other employee collectives).

• Types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (e.g.,
mediation, arbitration) and their advantages and
disadvantages.

• Unfair labor practices, according to the ILO.

• Unionization approaches, methods and
management (e.g., acceptance, avoidance
strategies).

(CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE48

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Supports interactions with union and other employee representatives.
»» Supports the organization’s interests in union-management activities.
»» Assists and supports the organization in the collective bargaining
process.
»» Participates in or facilitates ADR processes (e.g., arbitration, mediation).
»» Makes recommendations for addressing other types of employee
representation (e.g., governmental, legal).
»» Develops and implements workplace policies, handbooks and codes
of conduct.
»» Provides guidance to employees on the terms and implications of
their employment agreement and the organization’s policies and
procedures (e.g., employee handbook).
»» Consults managers on how to supervise difficult employees, handle
disruptive behaviors and respond with the appropriate level of
corrective action.
»» Conducts investigations into employee misconduct and suggests
disciplinary action when necessary.
»» Manages employee grievance and discipline processes.
»» Resolves workplace labor disputes internally.

»» Manages interactions and negotiations with union and other employee
representatives (e.g., governmental, legal).
»» Serves as the primary representative of the organization’s interests in
union-management activities (e.g., negotiations, dispute resolution).
»» Manages the collective bargaining process.
»» Consults on and develops an effective organized labor strategy (e.g.,
avoidance, acceptance, adaptation) to achieve the organization’s
desired impact on itself and its workforce.
»» Educates employees, managers and leaders at all levels about the
organization’s labor strategy (e.g., avoidance, acceptance, adaptation)
and its impact on the achievement of goals and objectives.
»» Educates employees at all levels about changes in the organization’s
policies.
»» Coaches and counsels managers on how to operate within
the parameters of organizational policy, labor agreements and
employment agreements.
»» Oversees employee investigations and discipline.

FUNCTIONAL AREA #9: Employee & Labor Relations (CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE)

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 49

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #10: Technology Management
Definition: Technology Management involves the use of existing, new and emerging technologies to support
the HR function, and the development and implementation of policies and procedures governing the use of
technologies in the workplace.

HR uses technology (e.g., HR information systems
[HRIS]) to enhance the effectiveness of the HR
function. HR has traditionally used technology to
automate routine and administrative tasks (e.g.,
benefits enrollment, applicant tracking), which freed
up HR professionals to focus on more strategic
tasks. More recently, HR has embraced technology
to enhance the performance of core HR functions
(e.g., use of social media for recruiting, software that
facilitates Big Data analytics).

HR professionals should understand common
HR-related technology applications (e.g., electronic
self-service for basic HR functions). They should
be able to assess the potential value and ability
of new HR-related technology to support the
organization’s strategic direction, vision and goals.
HR professionals may also be responsible for
developing and implementing technology-related
policies (e.g., social media usage, employee use of
company-provided phones for personal use).

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to electronic self-service for basic

HR and people management functions (e.g.,
scheduling, timekeeping, benefit enrollment).

• Data and information management (e.g., data
integrity, confidentiality, security, disclosure).

• HRIS capabilities and use.

• Policies and procedures for procurement.

• Policies and practices for technology and social
media use (e.g., bring-your-own-device, websites,
computers for personal activity).

• Software for recruiting and applicant tracking.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Implements and uses technology solutions that support or facilitate
delivery of effective HR services and storage of critical employee
data.
»» Implements HRIS that integrate with and complement other enterprise
information systems.
»» Develops and implements organizational standards and policies for
maintaining confidentiality of employee data.
»» Uses technologies in a manner that protects workforce data.
»» Provides guidance to stakeholders on effective standards and policies
for use of technologies in the workplace (e.g., social media, corporate
and personal e-mail, internet messaging).
»» Coordinates and manages vendors implementing HR technology
solutions.
»» Uses technologies that collect, access and analyze data and
information, in order to understand business challenges and
recommend evidence-based solutions.

»» Evaluates and implements technology solutions that support the
achievement of HR’s strategic direction, vision and goals.
»» Evaluates and selects vendors to provide HR technology solutions.
»» Designs and implements technology systems that optimize and
integrate HR functional areas.
»» Develops and implements technology-driven self-service approaches
that enable managers and employees to perform basic people-
related transactions (e.g., scheduling, timekeeping, compensation
administration, benefit enrollment, information changes).

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE50

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 51THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 51

Workplace
KNOWLEDGE DOMAIN

This domain covers crucial HR knowledge related to the workplace. Its functional areas
include: HR in the Global Context, Diversity & Inclusion, Risk Management, Corporate &
Social Responsibility, and U.S. Employment Law & Regulations.

To be successful at their jobs, HR professionals need to know how to: foster a diverse
and inclusive workforce; manage organizational risks and threats to the safety and security
of employees; contribute to the well-being and betterment of the community; and comply
with applicable laws and regulations.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE52

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #11: HR in the Global Context
Definition: HR in the Global Context focuses on the role of the HR professional in managing global
workforces to achieve organizational objectives.

Many HR professionals work in multinational
organizations or in organizations that are moving
toward a globally dispersed workforce. HR
professionals in these organizations are responsible
for understanding the global environment and
global HR trends and issues, which may have an
impact on the organization and its employees.
Within that context, HR professionals must know
how to manage global workforces, administer
overseas assignments, and foster a workplace
culture that reinforces organizational values while
demonstrating respect for local norms.

Key Concepts:
• Best practices for international assignments (e.g.,

approaches and trends, effective performance,
health and safety, compensation adjustments,
employee repatriation, socialization).

• Requirements for moving work (e.g., co-sourcing,
near-shoring, offshoring, on-shoring).

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Addresses global issues that influence day-to-day HR activities and
makes recommendations for business solutions.
»» Maintains up-to-date knowledge of global political, economic, social,
technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) factors and their
influence on the organization’s workforce.
»» Administers and supports HR activities associated with a global
workforce.
»» Implements and conducts audits of global HR practices.
»» Maintains knowledge of global HR trends and best practices.
»» Balances with local needs the organization’s desire for standardization
of HR programs, practices and policies.
»» Builds relationships with global stakeholders.
»» Manages the day-to-day activities associated with international (i.e.,
expatriate) assignments.

»» Recognizes and responds to global issues that influence the
organization’s human capital strategy.
»» Consults with business leaders on global PESTLE factors and their
influence on the organization’s workforce.
»» Develops a comprehensive organizational strategy that addresses
global workforce issues.
»» Consults with business leaders to define global competencies and
embed them throughout the organization.
»» Identifies opportunities to achieve efficiencies and cost savings by
moving work (e.g., offshoring, on-shoring, near-shoring).
»» Designs and oversees programs for international (i.e., expatriate)
assignments that support the organization’s human capital strategy.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 53

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #12: Diversity & Inclusion

Definition: Diversity & Inclusion encompasses activities that create opportunities for the organization to
leverage the unique backgrounds and characteristics of all employees to contribute to its success.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Provides mentoring, training, guidance and coaching on cultural
differences and practices to employees at all levels of the
organization.
»» Consults with managers about distinctions between performance
issues and cultural differences.
»» Develops and maintains knowledge of current trends and HR
management best practices relating to D&I.
»» Contributes to development and maintenance of an organizational
culture that values a diverse and inclusive workforce (e.g., conducts
diversity training).
»» Identifies opportunities to enhance the fairness of organizational
policies and procedures to all employees (e.g., removes demographic
barriers to success).
»» Identifies and implements workplace accommodations.
»» Demonstrates support to internal and external stakeholders for the
organization’s D&I efforts.

»» Incorporates D&I goals into all HR programs, practices and policies.
»» Advocates for incorporation of diversity goals into the organization’s
strategic plan.
»» Develops, implements and oversees, in conjunction with other
business leaders, enterprise-wide programs, practices and policies
that lead to a diverse workforce.
»» Designs and oversees HR programs, practices and policies supporting
the development and maintenance of an organizational culture that
values and promotes a diverse and inclusive workforce.
»» Designs and oversees HR programs, practices and policies that
encourage employees to take advantage of opportunities for
working with those who possess a diverse set of experiences and
backgrounds.
»» Ensures that HR staff members have up-to-date knowledge of current
trends and HR management best practices relating to D&I.

Diversity can facilitate organizational success by
fostering creativity through expression of divergent
opinions and perspectives, promoting healthy
working relationships, and giving the organization
an opportunity to connect with a wider audience.

HR professionals play a key role in an organization’s
diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts in several
ways: they consult with non-HR managers on
diversity issues and policies; create and maintain
an organizational culture of D&I; and identify and
implement workplace accommodations.

Senior- and executive-level HR professionals
may, in addition to developing and implementing
HR plans and strategies to create and maintain
a diverse and inclusive workforce, incorporate
D&I into the organization’s goals and strategic
plan. At all career levels, HR professionals should
recognize that diversity goes beyond readily
observable differences (e.g., race), be proficient in
D&I best practices, and leverage this knowledge
to identify ways in which to improve the fairness of
organizational policies and procedures.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to developing an inclusive

workplace (e.g., best practices for diversity
training).

• Approaches to managing a multi-generational/
aging workforce.

• Demographic barriers to success (e.g., glass
ceiling).

• Issues related to acceptance of diversity,
including international differences (i.e., its
acceptance in foreign nations or by employees
from foreign nations).

• Workplace accommodations (e.g., disability,
religious, transgender, veteran, active-duty
military).

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THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #13: Risk Management
Definition: Risk Management is the identification, assessment and prioritization of risks, and the application of
resources to minimize, monitor and control the probability and impact of those risks accordingly.

Organizations constantly face a variety of internal
and external risks. In response, HR develops and
implements strategies to prevent and reduce the
occurrence of risks and adverse events, and to
minimize associated harm to the organization and
its employees.

As part of this process, HR engages in inward- and
outward-facing risk analysis, which enables HR
professionals to understand potential sources
of risk (and prioritize them by importance), their
likelihood of occurrence, and their impact on
employees and the organization. Once risks have
been identified and evaluated, HR professionals
may lead efforts to develop preventive policies and
procedures (e.g., drug and alcohol abuse policies,
sexual harassment prevention, security procedures,
employee injury or illness prevention protocols).

Regarding adverse events that actually occur,
HR professionals play a key role in developing
organization-wide procedures to address them (e.g.,
business recovery and continuity plans, emergency
and disaster response). HR professionals also lead
risk and safety audits and investigations to ensure
compliance with related organizational policies,
laws and regulations.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to a drug-free workplace (e.g.,

testing, treatment of substance abuse).

• Approaches to qualitative and quantitative
risk assessment (e.g., single loss expectancy,
annualized loss expectancy).

• Business recovery and continuity-of-operations
planning.

• Emergency and disaster (e.g., communicable
disease, natural disaster, severe weather,
terrorism) preparation and response planning.

• Enterprise risk management processes and best
practices (e.g., understand context, identify risks,
analyze risks, prioritize risks) and risk treatments
(e.g., avoidance, reduction, sharing, retention).

• Legal and regulatory compliance auditing and
investigation techniques.

• Quality assurance techniques and methods.

• Risk sources (e.g., project failures) and types (e.g.,
hazard, financial, operational, strategic).

• Security concerns (e.g., workplace violence,
theft, fraud, corporate espionage, sabotage,
kidnapping and ransom) and prevention.

• Workplace/occupational injury and illness
prevention (e.g., identification of hazards),
investigations and accommodations.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 55

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Monitors political, economic, social, technological, legal and
environmental (PESTLE) factors and their influence on the
organization.
»» Administers and supports HR programs, practices and policies that
identify and/or mitigate workplace risk.
»» Implements crisis management, contingency and business continuity
plans for the HR function and the organization.
»» Communicates critical information about risks (e.g., safety and security)
and risk mitigation to employees at all levels.
»» Conducts due diligence investigations to evaluate risks and ensure
legal and regulatory compliance.
»» Conducts workplace safety- and health-related investigations (e.g.,
investigates workplace injuries).
»» Audits risk management activities and plans.
»» Maintains and ensures accurate reporting of internationally accepted
workplace health and safety standards.
»» Incorporates into business cases the anticipated level of risk.

»» Develops, implements and oversees formal and routinized processes
for monitoring the organization’s internal and external environments, to
identify potential risks.
»» Monitors and evaluates macro-level labor market, industry and global
trends for their impact on the organization.
»» Examines potential threats to the organization and guides senior
leadership accordingly.
»» Develops, implements and oversees a comprehensive enterprise risk
management strategy.
»» Develops crisis management, contingency, and business continuity
plans for the HR function and the organization.
»» Communicates critical information about risks (e.g., safety and
security) and risk mitigation to senior-level employees and external
stakeholders.
»» Ensures that risk management activities and plans are audited and that
the results inform risk mitigation strategies.
»» Oversees workplace safety- and health-related investigations and
reporting.
»» Establishes strategies to address workplace retaliation and violence.
»» Leads after-action debriefs following significant workplace incidents
(e.g., those involving employee safety and security).
»» Evaluates the anticipated level of risk associated with strategic
opportunities.

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THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

FUNCTIONAL AREA #14: Corporate Social Responsibility

Definition: Corporate Social Responsibility represents the organization’s commitment to operate in an ethical
and sustainable manner by engaging in activities that promote and support philanthropy, transparency,
sustainability and ethically sound governance practices.

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Acts as a professional role model and representative of the
organization when interacting with the community.
»» Engages in community-based volunteer and philanthropic activities.
»» Identifies and promotes opportunities for HR and the organization to
engage in CSR activities.
»» Helps staff at all levels understand the societal impact of business
decisions and the role of the organization’s CSR activities in improving
the community.
»» Maintains transparency of HR programs, practices and policies, where
appropriate.
»» Coaches managers to achieve an appropriate level of transparency in
organizational practices and decisions.
»» Identifies opportunities for incorporation of environmentally
responsible business practices, and shares them with leadership.

»» Serves as a leader in community-based volunteer and philanthropic
organizations.
»» Develops CSR strategies that reflect the organization’s mission and
values.
»» Ensures that the organization’s CSR programs enhance the employee
value proposition and have a beneficial impact on HR programs (e.g.,
recruitment and retention) and/or contribute to the organization’s
competitive advantage.
»» Creates CSR program activities that engage the organization’s
workforce and the community at large.
»» Coordinates with other business leaders to integrate CSR objectives
throughout the organization.
»» Coordinates with other business leaders to develop and implement
appropriate levels of corporate self-governance and transparency.
»» Develops, with other business leaders, strategies that encourage and
support environmentally responsible business decisions.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reflects the
organization’s role in assisting the community in
achieving or sustaining economic prosperity, social
equity and environmental protection.

HR professionals help the organization integrate
into its business operations CSR activities that
align with business goals. HR professionals may
collaborate with organizational leaders to identify
CSR opportunities that deliver value to both the
organization and the community. HR professionals
also play a key role in helping employees
understand the value of CSR programs.

Key Concepts:
• Approaches to community inclusion and

engagement (e.g., representation on community
boards, joint community projects, employee
volunteerism).

• Creating shared value (e.g., definition, best
practices).

• Developing CSR-related volunteer programs (e.g.,
recruiting and organizing participants).

• Organizational philosophies and policies (e.g.,
development, integration into the organization).

• Principles of corporate citizenship and
governance.

• Steps for corporate philanthropy and charitable
giving (e.g., selecting recipients, types, donation
amounts).

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 57

SECTION 2: HR EXPERTISE (HR KNOWLEDGE)

FUNCTIONAL AREA #15: U.S. Employment Law & Regulations

Definition: U.S. Employment Law & Regulations refers to the knowledge and application of all relevant
laws and regulations in the United States relating to employment—provisions that set the parameters and
limitations for each HR functional area and for organizations overall.

HR professionals are responsible for maintaining the compliance and alignment of human capital programs and policies
with relevant employment laws and regulations. Related activities that HR professionals may engage in include: educating
other employees, including senior executives, on the legality of HR-related programs; establishing metrics or other criteria to
measure and track compliance; and ensuring that organizational systems and processes facilitate the collection, analysis and
reporting of relevant data.

Key Concepts:
Below are six broad categories of U.S. laws, regulations and Supreme Court cases relating to employment, with selected
examples. (Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of categories or examples.) State, municipal and other local-level
laws, regulations and cases are not included.

Important note: Only examinees residing within the United States will be tested on these topics; examinees residing outside the U.S.
will not be tested on it. All laws and regulations referenced are subject to change.

• COMPENSATION
EXAMPLES: Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
(ERISA); Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA; Wage-Hour Bill;
Wagner-Connery Wages and Hours Act) and amendments; Equal
Pay Act of 1963 (amending FLSA); Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of
2009; Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007).

• EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
EXAMPLES: Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (LMRA; Taft-
Hartley Act); National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA; Wagner
Act; Wagner-Connery Labor Relations Act); NLRB v. Weingarten
(1975); Lechmere, Inc. v. NLRB (1992).

• JOB SAFETY AND HEALTH
EXAMPLES: Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988; Guidelines on
Sexual Harassment; Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

• EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
EXAMPLES: Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
and amendments; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
(ADA) and amendments; Civil Rights Acts; Equal Employment
Opportunity Act of 1972; Uniform Guidelines on Employee
Selection Procedures (1978) (29 CFR Part 1607); Griggs v. Duke
Power Co. (1971); Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp. (1971).

• LEAVE AND BENEFITS
EXAMPLES: Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA;
expanded 2008, 2010); Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act (ACA; “Obamacare”); National Federation of Independent
Business v. Sebelius (2012).

• MISCELLANEOUS PROTECTION LAWS
EXAMPLES: Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988; Genetic
Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

(CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE58

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

PROFICIENCY INDICATORS

For All HR Professionals For Advanced HR Professionals

»» Maintains a current working knowledge of relevant domestic and
global employment laws.
»» Ensures that HR programs, practices and policies align and comply
with laws and regulations.
»» Coaches employees at all levels in understanding and avoiding illegal
and noncompliant HR-related behaviors (e.g., illegal terminations or
discipline, unfair labor practices).
»» Brokers internal or external legal services for interpretation of
employment laws.

»» Maintains current, expert knowledge of relevant domestic and global
employment laws.
»» Establishes and monitors criteria for organizational compliance with
laws and regulations.
»» Educates and advises senior leadership on HR-related legal and
regulatory compliance issues.
»» Oversees fulfillment of compliance requirements for HR programs,
practices and policies.
»» Ensures that HR technologies facilitate compliance and reporting
requirements (e.g., tracking employee accidents, safety reports).

FUNCTIONAL AREA #15: U.S. Employment Law & Regulations (CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE)

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 59

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

Appendix A: Glossary

Below is a list of key terms from this document and their defi nitions.

ADDIE (analysis, design,
development, implementation,
and evaluation) model

Instructional systems design (ISD) framework consisting of fi ve steps that guide the design
and development of learning programs.

Alternative dispute resolution
(ADR)

Umbrella term for the various approaches and techniques, other than litigation, that can be
used to resolve a dispute (e.g., arbitration, conciliation, mediation).

Analytics
Tools that add context or sub-classifying comparison groups to data so that the data can be
used for decision support.

Applicant Person who has applied for or formally expressed interest in a position.

Applicant tracking system (ATS)
Software application that automates organizations’ management of the recruiting process
(e.g., accepting application materials, screening applicants).

Arbitration
Method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by which disputing parties agree to be bound
by the decision of one or more impartial persons to whom they submit their dispute for fi nal
determination.

Assessment center
Process by which job candidates or employees are evaluated to determine their suitability
and/or readiness for employment, training, promotion or an assignment.

Balance sheet
Statement of an organization’s fi nancial position at a specifi c point in time, showing assets,
liabilities and shareholder equity.

Balanced scorecard
Performance management tool that depicts an organization’s overall performance, as
measured against goals, lagging indicators and leading indicators.

Benchmarking
Process by which an organization identifi es performance gaps and sets goals for
performance improvement, by comparing its data, performance levels and/or processes
against those of other organizations.

Benefi ts
Mandatory or voluntary payments or services provided to employees, typically covering
retirement, health care, sick pay/disability, life insurance and paid time off (PTO).

TERM DEFINITION

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE60

TERM DEFINITION

Bias
Conscious or unconscious beliefs that influence a person’s perceptions or actions, which
may cause that person to become partial or prejudiced.

Bona fide occupational
qualification (BFOQ)

Factor (e.g., gender, religion, national origin) that is reasonably necessary, in the normal
operations of an organization, to carry out a particular job function.

Business case
Tool or document that defines a specific problem, proposes a solution, and provides
justifications for the proposal in terms of time, cost efficiency and probability of success.

Business intelligence
Raw data, internal and external to an organization, that is translated into meaningful
information for decision makers to use in taking strategic action.

Business unit
Element or segment of an organization that represents a specific business function (e.g.,
accounting, marketing, production); also may be called department, division, group, cost
center or functional area.

Buy-in
Process by which a person or group provides a sustained commitment in support of a
decision, approach, solution or course of action.

Career development
Progression through a series of employment stages characterized by relatively unique
issues, themes and tasks.

Career mapping
Process by which organizations use visual tools or guides to depict prototypical or
exemplary career possibilities and paths, in terms of sequential positions, roles and stages.

Career pathing
Process by which employers provide employees with a clear outline for moving from a
current to a desired position.

Cash flow statement
Statement of an organization’s ability to meet its current and short-term obligations, showing
incoming and outgoing cash and cash reserves in operations, investments and financing.

Center of excellence (COE)
Team or structure that provides expertise, best practices, support and/or knowledge transfer
in a focused area.

Change initiative
Transition in an organization’s technology, culture or behavior of its employees and
managers.

Change management
Principles and practices for managing a change initiative so that it is more likely to be
accepted and provided with the resources (financial, human, physical, etc.) necessary to
reshape the organization and its people.

Coaching
Focused, interactive communication and guidance intended to develop and enhance
on-the-job performance, knowledge or behavior.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 61

APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY

TERM DEFINITION

Collective bargaining
Process by which management and union representatives negotiate the employment
conditions for a particular bargaining unit for a designated period of time.

Comparable worth
Concept that jobs primarily filled by women, which require skills, effort, responsibility and
working conditions comparable to similar jobs primarily filled by men, should have the same
classifications and salaries.

Competencies
Clusters of highly interrelated attributes, including knowledge, skills, abilities and other
characteristics (KSAOs), that give rise to the behaviors needed to perform a given job
effectively.

Compliance
State of being in accordance with all national, federal, regional and/or local laws, regulations
and/or other government authorities and requirements applicable to the places in which an
organization operates.

Conciliation
Method of nonbinding alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by which a neutral third party
tries to help disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable decision (i.e., mediation).

Conflict of interest
Situation in which a person or organization may potentially benefit, directly or indirectly, from
undue influence, due to involvement in outside activities, relationships or investments that
conflict with or have an impact on the employment relationship or its outcomes.

Corporate social responsibility
(CSR)

Concept that a corporation has an impact on the lives of its stakeholders and the
environment, encompassing such areas as corporate governance, philanthropy,
sustainability, employee rights, social change, volunteerism, corporate-sponsored
community programs and workplace safety.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)
Approach to determining the financial impact of an organization’s activities and programs on
profitability, through a process of data or calculation comparing value created against the
cost of creating that value.

Critical path
Amount of time needed to complete all required elements or components of a task,
determined by taking into account all project-task relationships.

Culture
Basic beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors and customs shared and followed by members of
a group, which give rise to the group’s sense of identity.

Disability Physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one’s major life activities.

Diversity
Differences in people’s characteristics (e.g., age, beliefs, education, ethnicity, gender, job
function, personality, race, religion, socioeconomic status, thought processes, work style).

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE62

TERM DEFINITION

Due diligence
Requirement to thoroughly investigate an action before it is taken, through diligent research
and evaluation.

E-learning Electronic media delivery of educational and training materials, processes and programs.

Emotional intelligence (EI) Ability to be sensitive to and understand one’s own and others’ emotions and impulses.

Employee engagement
Employees’ emotional commitment to an organization, demonstrated by their willingness to
put in discretionary effort to promote the organization’s effective functioning.

Employee surveys
Instruments that collect and assess information on employees’ attitudes and perceptions
(e.g., engagement, job satisfaction) of the work environment or employment conditions.

Employee value proposition (EVP)
Employees’ perceived value of the total rewards and tangible and intangible benefits they
receive from the organization as part of employment, which drives unique and compelling
organizational strategies for talent acquisition, retention and engagement.

Employees Persons who exchange their work for wages or salary.

Ethics
Set of behavioral guidelines that an organization expects all of its directors, managers and
employees to follow, in order to ensure appropriate moral and ethical business standards.

Evidence-based
Approach to evaluation and decision-making that utilizes data and research findings to drive
business outcomes.

Focus group
Small group of invited persons (typically six to twelve) who actively participate in a structured
discussion, led by a facilitator, for the purpose of eliciting their input on a specific product,
process, policy or program.

Gap analysis
Method of assessing a current state in order to determine what is needed to move to a
desired future state.

Global mindset Ability to have an international perspective, inclusive of other cultures’ views.

Globalization
Status of growing interconnectedness and interdependency among countries, people,
markets and organizations worldwide.

Governance
System of rules and processes set up by an organization to ensure its compliance with local
and international laws, accounting rules, ethical norms, internal codes of conduct and other
standards.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 63

APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY

TERM DEFINITION

Hazard
Potential harm, often associated with a condition or activity that, if left uncontrolled, can
result in injury or damage to persons or property.

HR business partner
HR professional who advises an organization’s leaders in developing and implementing
a human capital strategy that closely aligns with overall organizational mission, vision and
goals.

HR service model
Approach to structuring and delivering an organization’s HR services to support
organizational success.

Human resource information
system (HRIS)

Information technology (IT) framework and tools for gathering, storing, maintaining,
retrieving, revising and reporting relevant HR data.

Inclusion
Extent to which each person in an organization feels welcomed, respected, supported and
valued as a team member.

Individual development plan (IDP)
Document that guides employees toward their goals for professional development and
growth.

Information management (IM)
Use of technology to collect, process and condense information, for the purpose of
managing the information efficiently as an organizational resource.

Integrity
Adherence to a set of ethical standards, reflecting strong moral principles, honesty and
consistency in behavior.

Internal equity
Extent to which employees perceive that monetary and other rewards are distributed
equitably, based on effort, skill and/or relevant outcomes.

Job analysis
Process of systematically studying a job in order to identify the activities/tasks and
responsibilities it includes, the personal qualifications necessary to perform it, and the
conditions under which it is performed.

Job description
Document that describes a job and its essential functions and requirements (e.g.,
knowledge, skills, abilities, tasks, reporting structure, responsibilities).

Job enlargement Process of broadening a job’s scope by adding different tasks to the job.

Job enrichment Process of increasing a job’s depth by adding responsibilities to the job.

Job evaluation
Process of determining a job’s value and price in order to attract and retain employees,
by comparing the job against other jobs within the organization or against similar jobs in
competing organizations.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE64

TERM DEFINITION

Key performance indicators (KPIs)
Quantifiable measures of performance that gauge an organization’s progress toward
strategic objectives or other agreed-upon performance standards.

KSAOs Knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics.

Labor union
Group of workers who formally organize and coordinate their activities to achieve common
goals in their relationship with an employer or group of employers (i.e., trade union).

Lagging indicator Type of metric describing an activity or change in performance that has already occurred.

Leader development
Professional program that helps management- and executive-level employees develop
knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) related to leadership.

Leadership Ability to influence, guide, inspire or motivate a group or person to achieve their goals.

Leading indicator
Type of metric describing an activity that can change future performance and predict
success in the achievement of strategic goals.

Liabilities Organization’s debts and other financial obligations.

Measurement Process of collecting, quantifying and evaluating data.

Mediation
Method of nonbinding alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by which a neutral third party
tries to help disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable decision (i.e., conciliation).

Mentoring Relationship in which one person helps guide another’s development.

Merger & acquisition (M&A)
Process by which two separate organizations combine, either by joining together as relative
equals (merger) or by one procuring the other (acquisition).

Mission statement
Concise outline of an organization’s strategy, specifying the activities it intends to pursue
and the course its management has charted for the future.

Motivation Factors that initiate, direct and sustain human behavior over time.

Negotiation Process by which two or more parties work together to reach agreement on a matter.

Offshoring
Method by which an organization relocates its processes or production to an international
location through subsidiaries or third-party affiliates.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 65

APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY

TERM DEFINITION

Onboarding
Process of assimilating new employees into an organization through orientation programs to
help them. New employees’ experiences in their first months of employment.

Organizational effectiveness
Degree to which an organization is successful in executing its strategic objectives and
mission.

Organizational learning
Acquisition and/or transfer of knowledge within an organization through activities or
processes that may occur at several organizational levels. Ability of an organization to learn
from its mistakes and adjust its strategy accordingly.

Organizational values
Beliefs and principles defined by an organization to direct and govern its employees’
behavior.

Orientation
Process by which new employees become familiar with the organization and with their
specific department, coworkers and job.

Outsourcing
Process by which an organization contracts with third-party vendors to provide selected
services/activities, instead of hiring new employees.

Performance appraisal
Process of measuring and evaluating an employee’s adherence to performance standards
and providing feedback to the employee.

Performance management
Tools, activities and processes that an organization uses to manage, maintain and/or
improve the job performance of employees.

Performance measures
Data or calculations comparing current performance against key performance indicators
(KPIs).

Performance standards
Behaviors and results defined by an organization to communicate the expectations of
management.

Pluralism
Type of labor environment in which multiple forces are at work in an organization, each with
its own agenda, and in which conflict is overcome through negotiation.

Position Scope of work roles and responsibilities associated with one or more persons.

Radicalism
Concept that management-labor conflict is an inherent characteristic of capitalism and can
be resolved only with a change in the economic system.

Realistic job preview (RJP)
Tool used in the staffing/selection process to provide an applicant with honest, complete
information about the job and work environment.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE66

TERM DEFINITION

Recruitment
Process by which an organization seeks out candidates and encourages them to apply for
job openings.

Regulation
Rule or order issued by an administrative agency of government, which usually has the
force of law.

Reliability Extent to which a measurement instrument provides consistent results.

Remediation Process by which an unacceptable action or behavior is corrected.

Remuneration
Total pay in the form of salary and wages received in exchange for employment (e.g.,
allowances, benefits, bonuses, cash incentives, monetary value of non-cash incentives).

Remuneration surveys
Instruments that collect information on prevailing market compensation and benefits
practices (e.g., base pay, pay ranges, starting wage rates, statutory and market cash
payments, paid time off [PTO], variable compensation).

Repatriation
Process by which employees returning from international assignments reintegrate into their
home country’s culture, conditions and employment.

Restructuring Act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational or other structures of an organization.

Retention Ability of an organization to keep its employees.

Return on investment (ROI)
Data or calculation comparing an investment’s monetary or intrinsic value against expended
resources.

Risk
Uncertainty that has an effect on an objective, where effect outcomes may include
opportunities, losses and threats.

Risk management
System for identifying, evaluating and controlling actual and potential risks to an
organization, and which typically incorporate mitigation and/or response strategies,
including the use of insurance.

Selection Process of evaluating the most suitable candidates for a position.

Six Sigma/Lean Six Sigma
A set of techniques and tools for process improvement, aimed at increasing quality
by decreasing defects in processes. Lean Six Sigma also aims at increasing speed by
eliminating waste.

Social media
Internet technology platforms and communities that people and organizations use to
communicate and share information, opinions and resources.

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE 67

APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY

TERM DEFINITION

Socialization
Process by which persons learn the knowledge, language, social skills, culture and values
required for assimilating into a group or organization.

Sourcing Process by which an organization generates a pool of qualified job applicants.

Stakeholders
Those affected by an organization’s social, environmental and economic impact (e.g.,
customers, employees, local communities, regulators, shareholders, suppliers).

Stay interviews
Structured conversations with employees for the purpose of determining which aspects of
a job (e.g., culture, engagement, leadership, organization, satisfaction) encourage employee
retention, or may be improved to do so.

Strategic management System of actions that leaders take to drive an organization toward its goals and objectives.

Strategic planning Process of setting goals and designing a path toward organizational success.

Strategy Plan of action for accomplishing an organization’s overall and long-range goals.

Succession planning
Process of implementing a talent management strategy to identify and foster the
development of high-potential employees or other job candidates who, over time, may
move into leadership positions of increased responsibility.

Sustainability
Practice of purchasing and using resources wisely by balancing economic, social and
environmental concerns, toward the goal of securing present and future generations’
interests.

SWOT (strength, weakness,
opportunity and threat) analysis

Method for assessing an organization’s strategic capabilities through the environmental
scanning process, which identifies and considers the internal and external factors that affect
the achievement of organizational goals and objectives.

Systems thinking
Process for understanding how seemingly independent units within a larger entity interact
with and influence one another.

Talent management
System of integrated HR processes for attracting, developing, engaging and retaining
employees who have the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) to
meet current and future business needs.

Totalization agreements
Bilateral agreements between countries, entered into for the purpose of eliminating double
taxation of employees on international assignments.

Trade union
Group of workers who formally organize and coordinate their activities to achieve common
goals in their relationship with an employer or group of employers (i.e., labor union).

THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE68

TERM DEFINITION

Training
Process by which employees are provided with the knowledge, skills, abilities and other
characteristics (KSOAs) specific to a task or job.

Transformational leadership
Leadership style that focuses on challenging and developing members of an organization to
attain long-range results through continuous evolution, improvement or change, based on
the leader’s vision and strategy.

Transparency
Extent to which an organization’s agreements, dealings, information, practices and
transactions are open to disclosure and review by relevant persons.

Turnover Act of replacing employees who are leaving an organization. Attrition or loss of employees.

Unfair labor practice (ULP) Violation of employee rights. Action prohibited under labor-relations statutes.

Unitarism Concept that employers and employees can act together for their common good.

Validity Extent to which a measurement instrument measures what it is intended to measure.

Value Measure of usefulness, worth or importance.

Variance analysis
Statistical method for identifying the degree of difference between planned and actual
performance or outcomes.

Vision
Description of what an organization hopes to attain and accomplish in the future, which
guides it toward that defined direction.

Workforce planning
Strategic process by which an organization analyzes its current workforce and determines
the steps required for it to prepare for future needs.

Workplace accommodation
Modification of a job, job site, or way of doing a job, so that persons with disabilities can
have equal access to opportunity in all aspects of work and can perform the essential
functions of their positions.

Works councils
Groups that represent employees, generally on a local or organizational level, for the
primary purpose of receiving from employers and conveying to employees information
about the workforce and the health of the enterprise.

SECTION 1: BEHAVIORAL COMPETENCIES

69THE SHRM BODY OF COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE

Appendix B: Resources

The following resources provide additional guidance to readers seeking career advancement, which includes SHRM
certifi cation. They were selected for their usefulness to individuals studying for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams.
There are three sections:

• Section 1: General Resources – broad coverage of the HR profession.

• Section 2: Competency Resources – focus on behavioral competencies; eight subsections, arranged in order of
SHRM-defi ned behavioral competency.

• Section 3: HR Expertise Resources – focus on technical knowledge; 15 subsections, arranged in order of SHRM-
defi ned functional area.

Download Appendix B: Resources at shrmcertifi cation.org/SHRMBOCK/Resources.

WHAT IS SHRM?
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR
membership organization, representing 285,000 members in more than 165
countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider
of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the practice of
human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affi liated chapters within
the United States and subsidiary offi ces in China, India and United Arab Emirates.
Visit us at shrm.org.

©2018 Society for Human Resource Management. This material in its entirety or any portion thereof may not be copied, sold, licensed, or otherwise redistributed,
except for the following: SHRM grants all users permission to download and use one copy of the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ for the sole and
limited purpose of individual non-commercial use, with no further copying or distribution without SHRM’s prior explicit permission in writing. To request permission
to copy or distribute, please e-mail certifi [email protected]

Questions
Contact the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP Exam Team
E-mail: shrmcertifi [email protected]
Phone (U.S. only): 800.283.7476, option 3
Phone (International): +1.703.548.3440, option 3

For more information
shrmcertifi cation.org/SHRMBOCK

Questions
Contact the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP Exam Team Contact the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP Exam Team
E-mail: shrmcertifi [email protected] E-mail: shrmcertifi [email protected]
Phone (U.S. only): 800.283.7476, option 3Phone (U.S. only): 800.283.7476, option 3
Phone (International): +1.703.548.3440, option 3 Phone (International): +1.703.548.3440, option 3

For more information
shrmcertifi cation.org/SHRMBOCK

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