Human resources credentialing traditionally involves taking hours of courses and sitting for a major examination. This is a rigorous exercise that requires major financial and time investments, and, if a successful test-taker passes, pays off greatly in terms of career advancement. However, there is a new growing trend in the HR field and beyond, with micro-credentials and digital badging becoming more commonplace. The global market for online degrees and micro-credentials is expected to reach $117 billion by 2025, as people become more adapted to e-learning settings.
According to HRCP, a leading provider of human resource study materials, micro-credentials allow people to learn knowledge or skills in bite-sized chunks and pass an evaluation to earn a credential for a very specific skill or area. These credentials stack, allowing people to earn a digital badge once they've finished a certain set of micro-credentials. Digital badges can be displayed on the person's resume, email signature, or social media as proof of their achievement.
HRCP co-founder Laura Middleton says that micro-credentials are especially popular among younger generations, who have less patience and tolerance for a traditional education. These first became common in the IT and technology industries, where micro-credentials displayed their proficiency in a particular programming language or some other specific body of knowledge, such as network security or design. Other industries are following suit, so HR professionals are becoming exposed to this method of credentialing and there is a need to adopt it into the human resources field. At a time when unemployment is at a high, micro credentials offer a faster solution to help people become more employable and keep them relevant throughout their career.
“There once was a time when a college degree was the be-all and end-all for many positions. But now, HR managers have to recognize that, because of changes in the way people want to be educated, they need to have a fresh look at micro-credentials and move into the idea that these are available for HR managers too. We believe it is a win-win if HR professionals have earned micro-credentials themselves, so they will understand the value of applicants or employees that have these micro-credentials and how they can
be used to support the whole organization,” Middleton says.
Middleton adds that micro-credentials are more affordable than major examinations. Furthermore, busy career professionals may find it easier to balance their busy work schedule with these shorter learning programs, which can be taken at their own pace.
To ensure that professionals displaying the badges have legitimately earned them, HRCP partnered with Credly, one of the largest and most-connected digital credential networks today. This allows people to click the badge icon displayed on someone's email signature or resume, taking them to the Credly platform that displays all the relevant information, such as the identity of the holder, the specific skills or knowledge involved, as well as the issuer and expiry date of the credential.
To further assist in verifying credentials, HRCP also partnered with Smart Resume, a company that helps customers create instantly verifiable resumes. Previously, a hiring manager used to have to call a university or certifying body to confirm whether an individual had earned their credentials. Now, this new form of resume has all the needed information on it and can be verified in a single click.
In keeping with its position as an innovator on the forefront of human resources credentialing, HRCP has created a badging program, Micro HR, for HR professionals, as well as students and business executives. They can learn up to 13 different badges, encompassing virtually the entire human resources field. These include labor relations, employment, risk management, and employee compensation.
“One of our customers enrolled for the employee benefits digital badge because she wanted to get a job in employee benefits, but she didn't have experience in that field. As we all know, it's hard to get a job if you don't have experience, but there are few ways to gain experience outside of landing a job. She earned the credential and, within a week of her sharing it on Linkedin, she had landed several interviews. Soon after that, she got her first job as a benefits administrator. This shows that micro-credentials and badges can make a difference in people's careers, allowing them to get jobs that they may not have gotten otherwise,” Middleton said.
Name: Terri Varnell
Email: [email protected]