Two characteristics of a profession are a common body of knowledge and benchmarked performance standards (Webster’s).
The Canadian HR Body of Knowledge
First introduced in 2001 after several years of research by CCHRA, in conjunction with the federal government department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and researchers from across Canada, set out to define the HR body of knowledge in Canada. In a broad professional practice analysis, they gathered input from HR practitioners, business leaders and academics in the field of HR across Canada to determine the knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes (KSAOs) required for an individual working in HR to show their professional competence in the workplace.
These KSAOs were grouped into Required Professional Capabilities (RPCs® ) which were validated by survey analysis with HR practitioners who confirmed that all were necessary for a competent HR professional. The RPCs® are based on the core capabilities of the HR profession as well as HR policies and practices used in Canada. In 2000-2001, teams made up of HR professionals developed assessment standards related to the RPCs®.
RPCs then formed the test specifications of the profession’s national standards of assessment, the National Knowledge Exam® (NKE) and the National Professional Practice Assessment® (NPPA). The NKE exam is designed to test academic knowledge while professional judgment is assessed through the NPPA.
In keeping with best practices in certification, CCHRA undertook a review the HR Body of Knowledge and the RPCs® in 2005-2007. A two stage approach was utilized for a review of the RPCs® : member association task forces composed of representatives from the HR, business and academic communities as well as a survey of qualified HR professionals to validate the RPCs® and determine which of the new RPCs® represented academic knowledge versus experiential knowledge.
In the first stage, task force members were asked to review the existing KSAOs and RPCs® and consider whether they were required for a competent HR professional to know and apply them to successfully function in their profession.
In the second stage, a survey was administered to all CHRPs in Canada. They were asked to validate the RPCs and indicate what emphasis a successful HR professional would place on each functional dimension and whether each RPC® was an indicator of academic knowledge (and thus should be measured in the NKE) or professional judgment (and therefore should be measured by the NPPA). A total of 2,265 HR professionals from across the country participated in the survey in 2007.
Results of the task force stage and the survey work were combined to produce new and updated RPCs®. The final results were also reviewed by the PSC and validated by the IBE.
The final results consolidated the functional dimensions into seven areas. The functional dimensions are: professional practice; organizational effectiveness; staffing; employee and labour relations; total compensation; organizational learning, training and development; and occupational health, safety and wellness. Individual RPCs® were modified, some were deleted and some new ones were added resulting in 187 RPCs® written with greater clarity. As well, the weighting of functional dimensions within the exams was adjusted to reflect today’s requirements. The seven functional dimensions and their 187 RPCs® reflect the Canadian Human Resources Body of Knowledge.