SHRM Recertifications Up for Sale, No Attendance Needed

Tim Sackett HR, SHRM, Tim Sackett

I don’t know if anyone else saw this, but my favorite HR organization, SHRM, decided it was time to start selling upgrades!  That’s right, for the low, extremely value conscience amount of $295, you too can get a special ribbon on your badge at the 2010 SHRM National Convention as part of your “New Annual Conference Premium Package.”  But wait, it doesn’t stop there, here’s what else you get:

  • 24/7 Virtual Access to all sessions of the conference– PLUS – you can earn all of your re-certification credits through your virtual access! (Does that mean that I pay the extra $295 and I get like 100+ Recert Credits for every single session I can’t attend? Really, I want to know this – because if that’s the case, I’ll take this entire post back and sing the praises of what a great bargain this is! – I will also write another post on what a sham re-certification will now become – but I digress!)
  • Price_is_right_logo Free Time– Yes, this is a feature of the Premium Package. Now, after registering for the conference, making reservations for a hotel, going to Dillards and buying the fake tanning lotion, flying out to San Diego, paying for transportation to the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (the official FOT hotel of the 2010 SHRM National Conference – not really, but if they want to give me a free room, fab! I have some pull with the FOT editorial staff, and I can make things happen!). NOW – for the low price of $295 you don’t even have to show up in the morning after the 3am Tweet-Up – or CareerBuilder Party – which is better than the Monster Party.
  • Personal Conference Consultant – I think this must be for newbies to the conference world or for just plain idiots.  Not sure who needs a Conference Consultant to attend a conference you are already attending – but believe me – for $295, me and my conference consultant will be having some late night, long conversations on Dress Code and other very important HR issues (I think the kids call this drunk-dialing).
  • Autographs and Pictures with China Gorman! Well, this wasn’t really in the package, but if you invite China to your Tweet-Up and buy her a drink, I’m fairly certain you can talk her into both the picture and the autograph – that has to be worth $295!
  • A FREE Book  – Well, again, if you call $295 free, then yes, it’s a free book.  But it’s one of those really thick text book HR type books – you know like the ones on your credenza that you never read, but make you look really smart!

Now, I was one of the lucky one’s who SHRM actually sent out a pre-survey to (oh, wait, you got that to?) – so I also filled out a pre-survey to this idea – in which I tried to get across the point – NO! DON’T DO IT! But, alas, I was just one voice, which has very little influence (as seen by me, still to be considered “TBD” by my fellow HR Influentials).  If you didn’t fill out your survey (which was sent to those of us who did early-bird registration) you missed out on some of the other ideas that didn’t make it to the “New Annual Conference Premium Package for $295” – including – VIP seating for all General Sessions and Entertainment (excuse me! Conference Consultant – can you please remove this lowly “regular” conference attendee from my seating section! You only paid $1295 conference registration, please get out of my front row seat – I paid an extra $295 – so I could show up late from my Tweet-Up hangover and still get a seat in the front-center).

I actually think the seating idea was the only good idea they had in the survey – but I’m snobby that way – I would easily pay $295 to walk in right as every session was about to start, and go right to the 4th row center seat, next to my girl, Punk Rock HR, while all those suckers were standing on the sides without a seat – and believe me, we would point, stare and laugh. That would be so cool! Or maybe it wouldn’t be – especially with a Tweet-Up hangover.

I’m all for SHRM and anyone else making money – it’s why we all do what we do (ok, to all you tree-huggers doing HR for free – except you).  The problem I have is when someone tries to sell me something, they should already be giving me what I’m paying for.  SHRM National is not a cheap conference – so to charge an additional amount is like McDonald’s charging me for ice in my Diet Coke – it just doesn’t seem right.  It also doesn’t seem right, that for a profession that screams to get respect, that we should just be handing out Recertification Credits to those with the largest checkbook.  This coming from a current SPHR, who has paid his dues in getting re-certified for the last 9 years.

SHRM – You made a mistake and I only hope the membership lets you know it was a mistake – but I fear you’ll get 1% who will pay and that additional “profit” will be large enough to act as ear plugs.