This article originally appeared in the Q2 2016 issue of ICE Digest.
Interview by Vicki Gremelsbacker
Amy Dufrane has spent the majority of her career in not-for-profit organizations. She joined HR Certifcation Institute five years ago and has
been the CEO for the past four [at the time of publication]. Here she shares her thoughts on the challenges organizations face today, advice for CEOs and more.
What is your background?
I have spent the majority of my career in not-for-profit organizations. I hold the SPHR certification from HRCI and the CAE from ASAE. I have held roles leading human resources and operational departments with organizations including the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, The Optical Society, Marymount University and Bloomingdale’s. I also serve as a commissioner for NCCA and as an advisory board member with the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind.
How long have you been involved with ICE?
I have been involved with ICE for about five years, both as a member of ICE and as a commissioner of NCCA. It is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the certification profession and to serve the NCCA community in a broader way. It is also a great way to learn more about the industry.
What do you believe are some of the most pressing challenges certifying organizations face today?
There are many options available to employees committed to advancing their careers. We, as certifying bodies, must be able to demonstrate a return on investment to our current and prospective certificants and their employers, as well as to the professions we advance by helping to set high standards for professional mastery and excellence.
The HR Certification Institute (HRCI) commissioned a large-scale study to look at the value of certification from the perspective of both HR certificants and their supervisors. The research, which was conducted by an independent firm, clearly demonstrated that HRCI-certified HR professionals are more likely to get hired, be employed full-time and be compensated more. They are also more likely to perform better on the job. According to the research, employers see the difference and the link between HRCI certification and career success and satisfaction.
In another study, conducted with our strategic partner Top Employers Institute, the research findings showed organizations that have more than five certified individuals had 50 percent higher stock, 25 percent greater revenue performance and Glassdoor ratings that are significantly higher. HRCI certification correlates both with better results for the individually certified HR professional, as we previously demonstrated through our 2015 large-scale value of certification study, and also for the companies that employ them, as these new findings suggest. Investing in certification adds to the bottom line of both the business and the individual.
What is your organization doing to tackle these challenges?
HRCI is demonstrating that certification is vital to the success of both employers and employees. We are very proud of these studies because they demonstrate and point to the importance and value of certification of individuals and businesses. We will continue to do more research in this area to validate the ROI of certification.
What are some of the opportunities coming down the pipeline that certifying agencies should be aware of and preparing for?
The key is to maintain relevance in the respective industries you operate in. At HRCI, we do this by following best practices and keeping current with the ever-evolving HR industry. We need to prepare people for the future. Accreditation by NCCA for HRCI has been essential in terms of staying relevant and current. We stay current by involving hundreds of subject matter experts from across many industries each year, and these HR pros working in the field review and refresh the exams to keep them current. We must be on the cutting edge with the certification process.
What questions is your organization considering as it plans for the future?
We continue to do research to demonstrate relevance and value to the profession. We are expanding on our recently published “A Guide to Body of Knowledge.” We have a global presence, and with that, we need to ensure that the Body of Knowledge encompasses global issues. It is so important to be precise and careful with legal regulations. We continue dialogue with thought leaders involved with certification to push the profession forward. Finally, HRCI is celebrating its 40th anniversary as well as celebrating having certified half a million HR professionals around the world in those 40 years. It has been a rich and rewarding experience to hear from so many certificants and HR industry leaders what a difference it makes to be certified and work with certified professionals. My passion is human resources functions and strategic functions no matter what the industry.
What issues are you hoping to discuss with colleagues in the ICE community in the next year?
In the industry at large, there is confusion between certificates and certification, and I hope that through dialogue and education, we can help further define the differences and clear up the confusion. I feel that HRCI, as a certifying body, often gets lumped in with certificate programs, whereas it is a much more rigorous process to become certified. The differences must be clear. We, as an industry, must pull together to define and address this challenge.
In addition, I would like to discuss with colleagues in the ICE community the value of demonstrating accreditation. This, too, is a rigorous process. We need to talk about what accreditation means, why it is valuable and communicate this to a broader community. It is also important to talk about how we maintain the high standards of the accreditation process as some of the technology advancements impact our profession.
What advice do you have for other CEOs given your experience?
Ic4p recently conducted research that found five factors that drive organizational performance: operating model, intellectual property, financial capital, physical assets and people. However, the research found that people are most often overlooked and misunderstood by the CEO. As CEOs, we cannot afford to not understand people. We need to help people drive the performance of businesses and CEOs to perform better.