Future takes HR beyond just people management

first_img Previous Article Next Article Future takes HR beyond just people managementOn 30 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Inan exclusive interview, CIPD director-general Geoff Armstrong talks to NoelO’Reilly about the after-effects of 11 September, challenging ‘sacred cows’ andinfluencing business leadersQWill the economic impact of the events of 11 September lead to good or bad HRpractices? A”I think you’ll see a mixture. The airline industry has jumped straight into deal with pressures that were there anyway… I don’t want to be unkind aboutit, but in many cases they piled into the opportunity to really cut costs andcut capacity that was uncompetitive anyway. “Thereare some companies for which 11 September has been the final straw. It hastriggered very Draconic cutbacks, possibly more Draconic than in fact theeconomic prospects would justify – I don’t think we’re into a global recessionor a pan-sector recession. I think it’s sector specific. “Moreand more you’ve got to think about the war for talent, to use the clich, you’vegot to think about the psychological contract. “Ifwhat you do is treat people as disposable human resources then as soon as theyhave the chance they’ll be off. “Don’tjump for a fortnight – reflect a bit, think about where you are going to getyour skills in the future, what skills you are going to need and think aboutthe psychological contract – it’s not just the people who are going, it’s thepeople who are staying you have to worry about. “You’renot going to have the choice in the future of not developing and continuallyupgrading an employer brand.”QHow do you respond to criticism that the CIPD should be more of a politicallobbying organisation, along the lines of the US HR body SHRM?A”We don’t see ourselves as lobbyists or shop stewards for the profession.We influence quietly, we don’t wave banners about. “Iserve as non-executive director on the management board of the Cabinet Office –we are very close as an organisation at a whole range of levels to the seniorCivil Service and ministers. We take part in confidential focus groups andregional and national workgroups where ideas are floated before they ever seethe light of day.”They(employers and the HR profession) have other outlets for campaigning andlobbying – the CBI, the Chambers of Commerce or trade bodies.”Youhave to remember what we are: we’re a professional institute of individualmembers. “Ourmembers come from right across the political spectrum, public, private andvoluntary sector and they don’t have a united view.”QMany of the directors taking up the new HR roles emerging in the knowledgeeconomy are not from a HR background. Is this a threat to the profession anddoes it undermine the institute’s chartered status?A”It’s always been this way – the change-makers have always been differentsorts of people. You have to be prepared to challenge the sacred cows and theestablished ways of doing things and you can do that from within the professionor you bring in things from outside the profession. “We’renot trying to be an exclusive sect that keeps other people out. If the ideascome from marketing or strategy so be it, if that’s where the leaders come fromfor a time – and that’s one of the reasons why we’ve been working for years nowto look beyond just people management.”QThe CIPD has acknowledged that too few boards have adopted progressive peoplemanagement practices. What is the CIPD doing to influence business leaders andto build alliances with them?AThe CIPD’s research about the business case for HR has been broadly acceptednow. “Theytake it as proof that human capital and the value it can create is a primarydriver of shareholder value and of business performance. So the case ismade.” Theinstitute is working hard to persuade companies to implement HR strategies,however.”Boardexecutives still take a view that HR is a bit flaky, HR isn’t as quantitative,isn’t as business related as a range of activities – they’re not so muchcriticising the profession or the function, they’re just saying these thingsare hard to get to grips with.TheCIPD is working to persuade employers to use its research as a diagnostic toolto develop HR strategies. Anexample of how Armstrong is building alliances is that he has recently beenasked by Institute of Chartered Accountants to stand on a committee to discussstrategy.QShould details of human capital appear in company reports?A”I’m not of the view myself that we should ever have a standard accountingpractice on human capital in the way we have on the evaluation of stock, but Ithink it’s perfectly possible as people professionals to be able to identifywhat we’re doing and put targets in business terms that can be measured andevaluated in their effectiveness.” www.cipd.co.uk Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img

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