PHR / SPHR Exam For Dummies
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Business Management and Strategy (BMS) is the functional area of the PHR/SPHR exams that focuses specifically on the need for human resources to be strategic business partners. The BMS exam objectives can be categorized as related to general business principles and best practices and the process of strategic planning. The objectives also are heavily oriented toward the need to create and utilize various business metrics to assess the effectiveness of organizational efforts.

Here are the PHR and SPHR Bodies of Knowledge (BOK) defined by the Human Resource Certification Institute:

  • 01 Interpret and apply information related to the organization's operations from internal sources, including finance, accounting, business development, marketing, sales, operations, and information technology, in order to contribute to the development of the organization's strategic plan.

  • 02 Interpret information from external sources related to the general business environment, industry practices and developments, technological advances, economic environment, labor force, and the legal and regulatory environment, in order to contribute to the development of the organization's strategic plan.

  • 03 Participate as a contributing partner in the organization's strategic planning process; for example, provide and lead workforce planning discussion with management and develop and present long-term forecast of human capital needs at the organizational level (SPHR only).

  • 04 Establish strategic relationships with key individuals in the organization to influence organizational decision-making.

  • 05 Establish relationships/alliances with key individuals and outside organizations to assist in achieving the organization's strategic goals and objectives; for example, corporate social responsibility and community partnership.

  • 06 Develop and utilize business metrics to measure the achievement of the organization's strategic goals and objectives; for example, key performance indicators, balanced scorecard (SPHR only).

  • 07 Develop, influence, and execute strategies for managing organizational change that balance the expectations and needs of the organization, its employees, and other stakeholders.

  • 08 Develop and align the human resource strategic plan with the organization's strategic plan (SPHR only).

  • 09 Facilitate the development and communication of the organization's core values, vision, mission, and ethical behaviors.

  • 10 Reinforce the organization's core values and behavioral expectations through modeling, communication, and coaching.

  • 11 Provide data such as human capital projections and costs that support the organization's overall budget.

  • 12 Develop and execute business plans — for example, annual goals and objectives — that correlate with the organization's strategic plan's performance expectations to include growth targets, new programs/services, and net income expectations (SPHR only).

  • 13 Perform cost/benefit analyses on proposed projects (SPHR only).

  • 14 Develop and manage an HR budget that supports the organization's strategic goals, objectives, and values (SPHR only).

  • 15 Monitor the legislative and regulatory environment for proposed changes and their potential impact to the organization, taking appropriate proactive steps to support, modify, or oppose the proposed changes.

  • 16 Develop policies and procedures to support corporate governance initiatives; for example, whistleblower protection and code of ethics.

  • 17 Participate in enterprise risk management by ensuring that policies contribute to protecting the organization from potential risks.

  • 18 Identify and evaluate alternatives and recommend strategies for vendor selection and/or outsourcing (SPHR only).

  • 19 Oversee or lead the transition and/or implementation of new systems, service centers, and outsourcing (SPHR only).

  • 20 Participate in strategic decision-making and due diligence activities related to organizational structure and design; for example, corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and divestitures (SPHR only).

  • 21 Determine strategic application of integrated technical tools and systems; for example, new enterprise software, performance management tools, and self-service technologies (SPHR only).

Both the PHR and the SPHR explore these relationships in depth; however, BMS makes up 30 percent of the SPHR exam and 11 percent of the PHR exam, which means that the SPHR exam has approximately 53 questions related to this exam content, and the PHR exam has approximately 19 questions.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Sandra M. Reed, SPHR, is the owner of EpocHResources, a consulting firm specializing in the unique HR needs of small businesses. She has authored learning modules and case studies for the Society for Human Resource Management. She is the co-author of PHR/SPHR: Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide, 4E, by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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