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Society of Fellows Gains Big Strides in Local Credentialing: Targets International Accreditation

Updated: Mar 26

by OSCAR L. CONTRERAS, JR. DPM, CEC, MPA


The late great British actor Donald Pleasance once told in an interview, “all the real work is done in the rehearsal period”. These words evoke meaning and relevance in any profession. It stresses the importance of both preparation and actual delivery. The same situation holds true when a doctor, lawyer or even an HR/OD practitioner finally gets the recognition he deserves and is granted an accreditation for the practice of his craft and profession. However, one does not get there unless he has earned his spurs and stripes through study, practice, hard work, determination and the right attitude.


The Philippine Society of Fellow (PSOF) of PMAP, ever mindful of its commitment to offer a clear roadmap for charting the career development plans of HR/OD practitioners, established the PSOF in 1982. Designed to bring together entrants, specialists, contributors, generalists and consultants engaged in the profession, it embarked on a mission of “promoting the pursuit of excellence in the practice of people management for the benefit of society”. Its long-term vision, which has modestly acquired through the years is “to be the recognized credentialing organization in the practice of people management in the Philippines”.


But in this age of full globalization, the advent of the 4th industrial revolution, the exponential rise of technology, the now prevalent use of social media, pandemics, and the now ubiquitous VUCA world we live in, the market for human talent is the whole universe. As adept HR/OD professionals, PSOF realized that it has to keep up with these trends and developments as they affect the practice. Thus, it had to recognize that the Society faces a wider challenge and role of preparing, educating and credentialing in the context of the ASEAN region where there is no choice but to remain competitive.


Obviously, the initial step that has been taken (and this continues to be updated) come up with a Competency Template, a ready framework of reference for use by the practitioner himself as well as companies which are interested in knowing what it takes to have a full-fledged professional HR/OD organization in the workplace. Clearly knowing where one is, understanding how to get there and more importantly, HOW WELL one actually delivers in his stuff and practice are important steps to a challenging journey of a worthwhile vocation imbued with nobility and purpose. After all, the HR/OD function helps to administer in a fair, and equitable way the proper treatment not of robots nor miscreants but bloodbought souls--- the often referred to resource as the most important asset of any organization, its human capital.


Currently, the levels of accreditation points to 3 grades: The Associate Fellow in People Management (AFPM), the Fellow in People Management (FPM) and the Diplomate in People Management (DPM). The initial level refers to the proficient acquisition of knowledge and skills in the practice for the initial entrant, a worthwhile contributor or a specialist in any of the 5 functional competencies as well as the 5 core competencies. Securing an FPM level means a complete mastery of knowledge and skills for ALL the functional competencies and core competencies for a HR/OD generalist. The DPM level suggests not only the possession and mastery of the knowledge and skills of an HR/OD generalist has but also transcending these and clearly manifesting work done at a fairly strategic level, and has complexity in both the thinking and delivery of service. Here, one works with and influences a range of stakeholders while creating value for significant numbers of people, from employees, top management, peers and external parties.


The functional competencies referred to are in: HR Planning and Acquisition, Learning and Development, Rewards Management, Organizational Development and Employee/Labor Relations. The core competencies speak of actual possession of personal and professional traits related to: Leadership, Business Acumen and Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation, Results Orientation and Professional Ethics. To date, the PSOF has had a modest harvest of 265 members, with 69 AFPMs, 142 FPMs and 54 DPMs. The successful candidates went through the panel of interviews which were actual conversations with 3 to 5 DPMs which were characterized by dialogues that were outcomes-driven, evidence-based and principles-led.


As it moves forward, the Society hopes to further solidify its membership base and aims to lead the efforts to be a credentialing arm in the region. Efforts are afoot as well to seek worldwide recognition too with PSOF membership as an initial base and vying for world accreditation through 2 of the world’s recognized accrediting organizations-- the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) based in the UK and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) of the USA. This stems from the belief that for associations to be seen and perceived as a trusted resource, they must get their knowledge, along with their members’ knowledge, out to the broader community they represent.


In the pipeline are projects related to networking with the AIHRM to further deepen the integration of our curriculum- based programs with the Competency Template, organizing a conference in April 2020 for both PMAP and PSOF members (and non-members) to focus on Movers and Innovators: Assessing their Impact on the HR/OD Practice and Profession, collaborating with the HR Foundation on the design and conduct of a PMAP CSR program called Teaching Educators and Advocates for Corporate HR (acronym TEACH) which is designed to address the teaching gaps in the academe on the way it teaches HR/OD subjects at the tertiary level, and pursuing the collaboration and consequent accreditation by both CIPD and SHRM. At the same time, it will be imperative for the organization to revise its Statutes and By-Laws.


Indeed, plans augur well for the revitalization of the PSOF and for its members, reaping the benefits of what membership will mean for them. For one, they now join peers and colleagues in the profession who share a calling for elevating the practice of HR/OD several notches higher to a more professional level. As such, they enjoy the benefits of interacting with fellow practitioners, openly receiving and sharing from each other the latest practices and trends in the practice of the profession, including occasionally being at the receiving end of various learning activities and fora designed to enhance professional leadership and managerial competencies as a recognized HR/OD

expert.


In due time, this affiliation also affords them the chance to broaden their network and socialize with colleagues in the government, the academe and other professional organizations akin to sharing a common aspiration to improve the quality of HR/OD practice in the country. Both internally (within PMAP) and externally, this recognition increases opportunities to be tapped as coach, mentor or subject matter expert in HR/OD by entities in need of their services. For PMAP members wishing to join the ranks

of the PSOF, they are encouraged to seek accreditation as a first step. Contact Ms. Dette Tan (dette.tan@pmap.org.ph) of the PMAP Secretariat for details.

OSCAR L. CONTRERAS, JR. DPM, CEC, MPA

His work experience spanned more than 32 years and included serving in the oil, food, banking and telecommunication industries. He earned his HR stripes at Esso Standard Chemical and Fertilizer Co., strategically positioned at both head office and plant sites as the Executive Assistant to the overall HR.


Currently, he is the Chairman of Human Resource Innovations and Solutions, Inc.(HURIS). Currently the President of Philippine Society of Fellows, he has been an active member of PMAP for 25 years. In 2004, he served the association as its National President and was also the chairman of the Accreditation Council.


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