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SHRM's HR Competency Model Initiative 

As a global leader in service to the HR profession, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is committed to empowering HR professionals with the proper tools and resources needed to succeed. With more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, SHRM recognizes that a successful human resource professional utilizes both expertise and experience to achieve the organizational strategy and mission. To accomplish this, the human resContact Us ource professional must leverage his or her technical and behavioral competencies.

In keeping with our mission of serving and advancing the profession, SHRM set out to identify the core competencies needed to succeed as an HR professional.Through extensive research across the globe, SHRM created a comprehensive competency model, SHRM ELEMENTS for HR Success Competency Model.

SHRM's Elements for HR Success is a comprehensive competency model designed to assist HR professionals as they set out on or continue their careers. SHRM's competency model comprises nine competencies, one technical competency and eight behavioral competencies, and it identifies the foundational competencies HR professionals need for success:

  • at the entry, mid, senior, and executive levels of experience;
  • in small, medium, and large sized organizations;
  • in private, public, non-profit, and not-for-profit sectors; and
  • in organizations with multinational and domestic operations.

Watch Dr. Alexander Alonso, Vice President of Research (previously Director of HR Thought Leadership), discuss SHRM's competency initiative.

Model Development

Overall, the initiative engaged 33,500 HR professionals in 29 cities representing 33 nationalities.

First an initial model was developed through a synthesis of the academic and practitioner literature. The resulting model then was tested, refined, and further developed through 111 focus groups with 1,200 HR professionals globally (Bahrain, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America).

Click on a region of the world below to see what nations were represented in the development of SHRM’s competency model, Elements for HR Success.

State name appears here

Model Content Validation
The content of the model then was validated through analysis of data from over 32,000 participants worldwide in SHRM's 2012 Competency Validation Survey. First, the 2012 Competency Validation Survey asked participants to self-identify their career stage: entry, mid, senior or executive. To ensure a shared definition of the four levels, a detailed description was provided of the characteristics and responsibilities at each level. Throughout the remainder of the survey, participants rated various characteristics of the model relevant to that level of experience as well as personal and organizational demographic information.

Respondents provided the following ratings and information:

  • Competency Importance. How important is this competency to effective job performance for HR jobs at the [respondent career stage] level?
  • Competency Required Upon Entry. Is this competency required when entering an HR job at the [respondent career stage] level?
  • Behavior Importance. How important is this competency behavior to effective job performance for HR jobs at the [respondent career stage] level?
  • Proficiency Standard Relevance. Is this proficiency standard clearly related to the competency?
  • Proficiency Standard Level. Does this standard reflect performance at the [respondent career stage] level?
  • Demographic Information. Respondents provided information regarding organizational characteristics, organizational performance, and individual demographics.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or would like to learn more about Elements for HR Success or related initiatives, please contact SHRM Competencies at