SHRM's Body of Competency & Knowledge

In 2011, SHRM began years of extensive research involving thousands of HR professionals to develop the SHRM Competency Model, which identifies nine key Behavioral Competencies into three clusters: Leadership(Leadership & Navigation, Ethical Practice), Interpersonal (Relationship Management, Communication, Global & Cultural Effectiveness), and Business (Business Acumen, Consultation, Critical Evaluation). Additionally, the SHRM BASK organizes 14 areas of HR knowledge which comprise the technical competency HR Expertise into three domains: People, Organization, and Workplace.


# Inclucing 9 Behavioral Competencies
1 Leadership Leadership and Navigation The ability to direct and contribute to initiatives and processes within the organization
Ethical Practice The ability to integrate core values, integrity, and accountability throughout all organizational and business practices
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion The ability to create a work environment where individuals are treated fairly and with respect, and can use their abilities and qualities to contribute to the organization's success
2 Business Business Acumen The ability to understand and apply information with which to contribute to the organization’s strategic plan
Consultation The ability to provide guidance to organizational stakeholders
Analytical Aptitude The ability to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data
3 Interpersonal Relationship Management The ability to manage interactions to provide service and to support the organization
Global Mindset The ability to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties
Communication The ability to effectively exchange information with stakeholders


# Technical Competencies (including 14 functional areas of HR)
1 People
  1. HR Strategy
  2. Talent Acquisition
  3. Employee Engagement
  4. Learning and Development
  5. Total Rewards
2 Organization
  1. Structure of the HR function
  2. Organizational Effectiveness and Development
  3. Workforce Management
  4. Employee and Labor Relations
  5. Technology Management
3 Workplace
  1. HR in the Global Context
  2. Risk Management
  3. Corporate Social Responsibility
  4. US Employment Law and Regulations (*For U.S test participants only)
  • The SHRM Competency Model provides HR professionals with a comprehensive roadmap for developing the capabilities they need to advance their careers and improve their effectiveness in the workplace.
  • The SHRM Competency Model is fundamental to SHRM’s two new certifications, the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) for early-career practitioners, and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) for senior-level practitioners.

SHRM is launching these new credentials to further two goals:

  • For HR professionals, to reaffirm the importance of acquiring both the competencies and knowledge essential for successful job performance;
  • For employers, to provide reliable indicators of proficiency in these critical dual aspects of modern HR practice.

SHRM regards the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP as the new standard in certification for the HR profession. By incorporating key HR competencies into the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP, SHRM is enhancing the relevance of the new certifications. SHRM’s new credentials demonstrate to the global business community that the credential holder has strong capabilities in both aspects of HR practice—competency and knowledge—that are required for effective job performance.

The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BASK), also draws heavily on the SHRM Competency Model. The SHRM BASK documents the HR Behavioral Competencies and Knowledge Domains tested on the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification exams. The SHRM BASK is also the common framework for item writers developing questions and individuals developing exam preparation materials. SHRM operates exam development and study material development as separate, independent functions, and observes a strict firewall between these activities to protect the integrity and credibility of the certification exams.

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