It's up, up, up for Debra CrossleySunday, June 20, 2021
BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON
CONGRATULATIONS! That was the message that appeared on Debra Crossley's laptop screen, shortly after completing her senior level professional exam for human resource management, which lasted for four hours.
“I've never been so relieved in my life. My knees were shaking, I stood up right after, jumped and said, 'Yes! Yes!' I was very happy because all that hard work paid off. I've always had to juggle between work and exam time and that's what carried me through. It was really satisfying,” said Crossley, who is a human resource administration officer at the Jamaica Observer.
The exam, which is called Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional exam (SHRM-SCP), was designed by SHRM, an international human resource body in the United States. It is done by human resource practitioners to gain certification for performing HR practices in the US.
Admitting that she was unnerved for many reasons when she sat the exam on March 29, Crossley said she covered her face before checking the results.
“Even though the exam is US-based, I did it remotely. If you lose your Internet connection you are on your own and you do not get a refund — failing was not an option,” she said, noting that while doing the exam, her Internet connection failed twice, but she managed to complete it successfully.
“I had to complete a survey afterwards, then I saw a blank screen, then covered my face as I was afraid to look and I held that pose for a while. I started peeping with one eye through my fingers and all I could see was the word 'exam'. I couldn't see anything else, so I said 'okay, I really have to take my hands down' and that's when I saw the word 'congratulations',” she added.
According to Crossley, SHRM provides HR practitioners with the opportunity to strategically forecast aspects of human resources management in their organisations.
“Human resource management has different tenets. There are transactional duties but there is also another part of it that is focused on forecasting. In the same way that you forecast sales, you can forecast what you need in people management — SHRM is geared towards that,” she explained.
She noted that before sitting the exam, she completed a human resource management course at Villanova University, Florida in April.
“I thought it was necessary to do something in HR as well. The content is so similar to that of SHRM. If you pay attention in that course, there's no way you can fail SHRM exam,” she explained.
She stressed the importance of that course, as her academic discipline was not HR. She completed a management studies degree at The University of the West Indies, Mona in 2013, where she was an operations major.
Additionally, Crossley attained a Professional Certificate in Industrial Relations (PCIR) at Management Institute for National Development (MIND) in 2019, which she said focuses on the conflicts and industrial disputes of HR.
“I always tell people I did not choose HR, it chose me. I am someone who is faith-based so I believe wherever you go, the Lord created that path and I do believe that you must bloom where you were planted and appreciate whatever role you are given, even if it's not something that you want,” she said.
Crossley, who has been in her position for seven years, said she loves her job, as it has helped her to develop personally and professionally.
“I think it [the position] has helped me to deal with people better in terms of relationships because the personalities are so diverse and you just learn to appreciate people more. I always think that the most rewarding thing in this job is persons trying to connect with you, sharing their personal information with you — their personal struggles. I believe you are the custodian of people's dreams and aspirations and you can't take that lightly. If there is any lesson I have taken away from HR, that's most important to me it would be that one,” she said.
Looking forward to utilising her certification throughout her roles at the Observer, Crossley encourages other HR practitioners to enhance their expertise.
“I believe that you should do things to the best of your ability and in order to do so, you must have the skills and the knowledge required to perform effectively. For personal growth, you owe it to yourself, and the people you serve, to make sure you are fully equipped to give them the best job that you can do,” she said.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login