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The career advantages of HR certification

A chance to design a new performance management framework at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet was a gift for Samantha Robertson CPHR, enabling her to hone her skills, gain a promotion – and become a newly certified HR practitioner.


Samantha Robertson CPHR, assistant director HR policy and analytics, People Branch of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

The aim of my capstone project for AHRI’s Practising Certification Program was to design a new performance management framework for senior executives. Like many traditional performance frameworks, the old one was focussed on individual outcomes and based around a rigid process.

My project took a more holistic approach to performance, potential, mobility and remuneration. It anticipated that a more transparent and less rigid framework will increase accountability, influence retention and engagement and have a positive impact on culture. It also presented an opportunity to strengthen the link between the department’s purpose, priorities and values, and the performance of our senior executives.

The capstone project allowed me to demonstrate my increased ability to use data to paint a picture and to provide a well-reasoned solution to a business need.

Focusing on that business need was a recurring theme throughout the certification process. It can be difficult sometimes as HR practitioners to avoid having a blinkered approach to what we do, and drive our own agenda.

My decision to do the AHRI certification was cemented when it became clear that the assignments I would do for the course could be based on work I was already doing, and so had a practical application that would benefit my employer. A win-win situation.

Coming to the end of the course and being part of the cohort awarded HR certification at the AHRI convention recently was fantastic. Not only that, I have scored a promotion!

After two years of working together in the APC with my fellow certified HR practioners, we’re going to continue sharing ideas and asking each other for advice.

I am so happy to have reached my ‘before 30’ bucket list item of an EL1 promotion as a result of the program. I look forward to continuing my learning and seeing the attitudes of employers change as they recognise the value of certified HR folk, and the added impact we have on improving the workforce and achieving
better outcomes.”

Cathy Stokes CAHRI, director, wellbeing and employee relations section, People Branch, Corporate Services Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

“The value that Sam Robertson has brought to the business is boundless. She has quite simply professionalised the business. She is able to interpret HR theory models and bring those into the workplace; and she consults with end users as an HR business partner and practitioner – instead of simply directing HR policy.

The difference in having someone who is a qualified HR practitioner is the knowledge and experience they have, and their depth of understanding about what policies means on the ground – and globally. It’s the understanding they bring when providing ideas and insights and what impacts the organisation, both externally and internally. Someone without that training isn’t likely to consider those things.

Since Sam embarked on certification, the main change I’ve seen is in her confidence. She was quite shy before, but as she has developed, she has become very involved and has asked to be in on a lot of workshops. It’s really boosted her self-belief.”

Take your HR career to the next level with the AHRI Practising Certification Program. January 2018 intake enrolments open 15 October 2017.

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