Aug 6, 2019 | Mary Ellen Slayter
The Ripple Effects of Certification: Using HRCI’s Knowledge at One of the World’s Largest Companies
Shaun Mayo, MBA, SPHR, is senior director of human resources at Sam’s Club. Originally hailing from Houston, Mayo’s HR journey brought him to Bentonville, Arkansas, where he manages HR for four of Sam’s Club’s eight regions.
We sat down with Mayo to discuss his decision to seek HRCI certification and his vision for the industry.
What motivated you to take the HRCI certification course? Did you get something out of it that you didn’t expect going in?
I was looking for a certification course, and HRCI worked one-on-one with us to offer the course at a great price. I had been wanting to do it for a long time, so I put together a group to go through it together. We had three people make it to the final exam, and out of those three, two passed.
I expected to gain skills and credibility from the materials, but what the course really emphasized for me is how people-focused the HR industry is, and how business problems in HR really need to be approached and solved from a people-first perspective.
What challenges do you foresee in the industry? What excites you? And how has HRCI prepared you moving forward?
The biggest challenge I foresee is the convergence of technology and people — how do you blend the two to become a tech company that is, above-all, people-led? After all, you may have the greatest product in the world, but if you don't have the right people to connect the dots when you're talking about that technology, it can all fall apart.
Addressing this challenge is also really exciting though. We’re really learning how to adapt and find the right people to overcome and take on those crucial roles in HR. The certification gave me the right tools and insight to approach this challenge. I really picked up on the mindset of taking broad HR challenges, like this one, and setting them as my own tasks to overcome.
In light of this challenge, what is the most important trait you look for in a new hire?
With tech constantly at the forefront, it’s crucial to maintain sight of human interactions, so I prioritize the ability to connect with leaders and build relationships. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t always have the best relationships with the people that I influenced or reported to, and that was probably a huge hindrance in trying to influence some of the things that I wanted to influence.
When you have those relationships where you can have transparent conversations, the person truly values what you have to say.
Did you find any advantages in taking the certification course in a group setting instead of alone? How do you maintain your certification?
I had tried doing the certification course on my own, but self-motivating can be really difficult. Having the accountability of teaching the material to the group each week forces you to do it, and it really gives you an intimate understanding of the material.
As far as maintaining my certification, webinars and podcasts are the future of learning — they’re available on-demand and are easily accessible. HRCI even offers some great ones that’ll help you stay informed and up-to-date.