Money & Business

Global Growth: 3 Tips for Launching an International Certification

By / Sep 9, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Locally based content experts and the right partnerships are the keys to success in global certification expansion, according to the HR Certification Institute. HRCI, whose global network includes 100 countries, recently announced plans to expand into Mexico.

Human resources professionals in Mexico are about to get a boost in professional development.

Last week, the HR Certification Institute and La Asociación Mexicana Dirección de Recursos Humanos announced a partnership that will bring HRCI’s global credentials to AMEDIRH’s 12,500 member organizations and other HR professionals throughout the country.

HRCI, whose international network includes 135,000 certified HR professionals in 100 countries, will offer three certifications in Mexico—the early- to mid-career HRBP program; the senior-level HRMP program; and the GPHR, which is available to HR professionals who work across international borders.

“We are delighted to formalize this partnership,” HRCI Executive Director Amy S. Dufrane, CAE, said in a statement. “AMEDIRH has earned great credibility as a progressive HR association in Mexico and globally. In promoting HRCI’s global certifications, AMEDIRH continues to elevate the practice of HR throughout Mexico.”

For organizations that consider global growth to be critical to their success—62 percent do [PDF], according to a recent study by the ASAE Foundation and MCI Group—one way they seek to penetrate an international market is by offering a product or service relevant to that audience.

But the launch of an international certification, or any product or service, isn’t something that happens overnight. “It takes years of cultivation and relationship building, and an understanding that it takes financial and human resources to pull this off,” said Dufrane.

HCRI’s process for global expansion provides three lessons for bringing a certification program into a new country:

Know the market. Before moving into any new country, HRCI conducts a market assessment to determine whether and how its certification programs can be of use to the human resources community. “It’s really important to understand the state of the profession in the countries where you’re focusing,” said Linda Anguish, director of certification products at HRCI. “For example, our intention was to develop a senior-level program first, but what we found out was that the profession really demanded two certifications, because the profession was at different stages of development in different countries.”

Identify locally based content experts. HRCI relies on seasoned HR professionals in the countries where it will offer its program to help tailor the content to professionals there. “The subject-matter experts gave us feedback on the eligibility criteria for the exam, help with translating the questions and identifying those slight variances in language, and they help us keep the credentials up to date constantly,” said Dufrane.

Bring in a partner to push the program. With the association busy developing and implementing the program, sometimes it can be difficult to focus on marketing. “Identify a really strong advocate, an ambassador, an individual, or an organization who can speak on your behalf,” said Dufrane. “It should be someone in your industry who’s well respected in the community. They’ll be able to get the word out about the importance of certifications and really drive the interest.”

Do you have any other tips for getting an international certification program off the ground? Share them in the comments.

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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