The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge: A Living Organism

​A physical body is defined as the physical structure of a person or an animal, including the bones, flesh and organs. A body of information and learning is very much the same. The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK) is, by definition, a living, breathing organism.

A Daily Reference, Guide and Influence

That said, how does the SHRM BoCK manifest in the daily working life of a certified HR professional? I decided to keep track of how I apply the SHRM BoCK’s behavioral competencies and functional areas of knowledge for one week, for the ultimate test of its status as a living organism.

  • Monday: It’s one of the busiest days in the office. Over the weekend, employees may have made financial decisions, and today, they tend to request job letters and reissuances of pay slips. In my organization, the payroll department is aligned with the finance team, so I need to utilize the behavioral competency of Communication.
    A meeting scheduled later in the month with representatives of a local trade union will require internal meetings for research, reporting and preparation. Consultation is the applicable competency here: how action items are prioritized and managed; who attends meetings; determining the meeting agenda; and the presentation of findings and market data.
  • Tuesday: I receive a reminder to complete mandatory training in IT security awareness, which covers phishing, ransomware and the importance of creating strong passwords. The training overlaps two functional areas of HR knowledge: Technology Management and Risk Management. Risk Management is further underscored when I get an e-mail from our regional learning institute offering a free webinar on enterprise risk management.
  • Wednesday: “Spirit Week” in our company, a supermarket chain, is approaching. It’s an annual staging of fun events centered on community service and acts of kindness, which relates to the Corporate Social Responsibility functional area. Sourcing prizes for in-house competitions involves Relationship Management—I apply that behavioral competency when I call the marketing officer of a local bank to negotiate a barter arrangement between our organizations, in the form of new-account customer cash and supermarket vouchers.
  • Thursday: It’s a morning filled with interviews for temporary and seasonal employees; Talent Acquisition is the functional area in focus here. Approval of the employee requisitions via the web-based HR portal is confirmed, then we are busy multitasking into the afternoon to prepare for onboarding the new recruits. The Employee & Labor Relations functional area ensures that all new recruits are aware of (among other things) the current COVID-19 protocols in place on the sales floor and all work areas.
  • Friday: This day is set aside for the review of medical claims submitted by employees. Our process is an internally run and managed assistance scheme, under which the handling of information—particularly employee diagnoses, as well as storage of related data—requires sensitivity. This calls on all aspects of the Ethical Practice competency.

    Finally, I use my knowledge of local HR legislation to assist in providing updates to employees who are uncertain about holiday pay and the calculation of double-time and overtime. The SHRM BoCK functional area U.S. Employment Law & Regulations does not technically apply here, because I live and work in the nation of Barbados, but the overall concept is still relevant.

Growth and continuous improvement are two of the core values of my company. Consistent with these values is the practical application of what I learned from the SHRM BoCK to my everyday activities as an HR professional.

I may not have mentioned every behavioral competency and HR functional area that applied to my activities in the above one-week sample. Work life is a continuum and a suitable space where your knowledge can make a real difference.

Alison Brome, SHRM-CP, is HR supervisor for Massy Stores in Barbados. She has a master’s degree in project management and is a Certified Green Project Manager (GPM-b).

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