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CIPD: HR profession should step up after ‘turbulent year’

HR News |  10/11/2016
The chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Peter Cheese has said that HR professionals should “step up” after a “turbulent year” that has seen political upheaval and uncertainty in a number of markets.

Speaking at his organisation’s annual conference in Manchester - which opened yesterday (November 9th) and will continue today - Mr Cheese said that the uncertainty of the past 12 months emphasised the “need and opportunity for the HR profession”.

On the day it was announced that Donald Trump had been elected the next US president, causing a commotion in currency markets, he said that the challenges faced in the world of work are not new, but that “they are now more important to tackle than ever before, in light of events such as Brexit”.

He said: “We cannot freeze in the headlights of uncertainty, but instead must embrace the opportunities that these challenges bring to drive real and lasting change.

“Only by engaging with these issues head on, in a local, national as well as international context, can we build resilient and flexible workforces and organisations that will define what the future of work looks like.”

Mr Cheese said that this is why the role of HR is so crucial, pointing out that it should sit at the heart of organisations in order to bring “real insights on people, capabilities and behaviours”. He added that it “can have a huge impact in shaping positive and productive cultures”.

“We have the opportunity to not only shape the future world of work, but also to ensure that the future of work is human.”

According to Mr Cheese, recent corporate “scandals” have dented people’s trust in business. He explained: “The last 12 months have undermined many people’s trust in business, with too many scandals such as those at Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, BHS and Sports Direct demonstrating the need for business to properly value all their workers and employees and to take their wider accountabilities to all their stakeholders more seriously."

He went on to say that the present time is right for more transparency and the “consistent reporting of how organisations are managing and developing their workforces, building positive cultures, driving value, but also better managing risk”.

According to Mr Cheese, the recent scandals are examples of “misaligned and misdirected human behaviours”. He said that HR professionals now have the chance to expand their understanding of the psychology of that sort of behaviour.

He believes that this will allow the HR profession to help develop businesses and organisational cultures that are “a force for good”.

Also speaking at the event was chief executive and author Margaret Heffernan, who said that organisations are only able to expand when people grow and develop themselves.

Ms Heffernan said that HR should continue to work on building social capital and adaptive businesses.

The CIPD conference aims to discuss the work being done by the organisation and how it intends to campaign for better business.

By Diccon Lynes

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