Jackie Orme delivers opening speech to CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition, focusing on enhanced services for CIPD members and strengthened Code of Conduct
Delivering her opening address to the Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Manchester today, Jackie Orme, CIPD Chief Executive, said:
2010, more than any other single year in my experience, has been a turning point for us all, not just in the UK but across the globe. It’s been a year which has been much less about the final days of the old order, and much more about the emerging shape of the new. And the changes are big. Coalition politics, compromise and collaboration are the way forward – even it seems – with our traditional sparring partners, the French! It’s the year when China formally took its place as the world’s second largest economy and the contrast of stellar growth in the East with long, slow recovery in the West, truly crystallised.
It’s a time of austerity mixed with big opportunity. Done well, this will be a decade of putting something back, not of borrowing from the future. Done well, it will be a decade in which business sees success as being both about long-term financial health and social and environmental responsibility.
It’s an unprecedented moment of change and I believe that what we do over the next two years will define the role and contribution of our profession for the next twenty years. It’s a big playing field for us as HR people and for us as business people. We have to ensure that we have an obsession with agility in our organisations that goes beyond just effectiveness, efficiency or even engagement, so that we are well-placed to deal with the regular, unexpected, ‘left field’ turns that we will inevitably face.
And we have to be prepared to act as stewards. We need to hold up our hands when we see behaviour which is different from what our organisation publicly espouses, and when we see behaviour that places the long term health of the organisation at risk. But we also need to recognise that, collectively we have a role to play in wider society. And despite these straitened economic times, we have to avoid the danger of creating a world of work, split by the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.
Instead, for me, it is clear that HR must remain committed to deliver work and workplaces that play a huge role in building an inclusive and fair society. This week we’re welcoming Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister to the stage here at Manchester, and together we’re issuing a joint ‘call to arms’ to all HR people to help support the Government’s Work Programme, and to help, in particular, to ensure that benefit claimants can get successfully back into work.
It’s a big ambition. But the HR people I meet and speak to are definitely up for it! And they want the CIPD on the journey right by their side. Our commitment at the CIPD is simple. Firstly, to help shape the thinking and practice of HR that allows organisations to be the best that they can be, for the long term. We’re well placed to do this – because we’re informed by our unparalleled access to those at the frontline of the profession and because of our independence.
We’re politically independent and we’re sectorally independent. As those of you who were following the news last week will have seen, we’re not afraid to enter the fray on difficult or controversial issues like unemployment figures and forecasts. Our second commitment is to provide the support and services to our members that best enables them to do their jobs and to develop their careers. I will come on and talk more about this later.
I am extremely proud of the terrific progress made, in so many ways, by the team at the CIPD, both staff and volunteers, over the last 12 months. We delivered a radical overhaul of qualifications and membership – designed to make CIPD membership the gold standard for HR people globally. We made a clear statement that we want this to be an inclusive body and because of this we have developed a new, experience assessment route that will be formally launched from 1 January and that will cater to the professional needs, in particular, of late entrants to the profession, specialists and those who have experience over qualifications.
We’ve delivered enhanced membership services such as My HR Map – the online career and development diagnostic that in its first six months has already been used more than 10,000 times. We delivered an extensive programme of research including our groundbreaking research on the future of the profession – Next Generation HR which has since formed the basis of an impressive new leadership programme for those who will lead our profession into the future. All this and much more has been delivered in the last 12 months.
But I also remain deeply ambitious for our future. There’s so much more still to do. Every single day we talk to those in the HR profession to understand their world and their differing needs. Many thousands of you have shared your point of view and your insights over the last 12 months. You told us that when it comes to membership services, affordability, convenience and increasingly, choice are key to what you want. You told us that you, like us, want to see professional membership as stretching and deeply aspirational, a valued, trusted and recognised badge of competence that’s recognised in the workplace. And you told us that the concept of Insight led HR, that ability to see what matters most to long term success and to develop the creative solutions that work and stick, that we outlined in our Next Generation HR research resonates for so very many of you as the way forward for our profession.
Because that is what we heard from you, you’ll see a lot of work that delivers against this over the next 12 months. You’ll see extensions of the extremely successful Next Generation HR leadership development programmes. You’ll see further research reports on and the development of, practical tools to support Insight led HR. And we will shortly be asking you to work with us to help redefine the regulatory code for HR people, a new Code of Conduct.
In a world where our profession must be, above all others things, trusted, and in a world where we are committed to responsible and sustainable practice in organisations, our current Code of Conduct must be strengthened to be fit for purpose for today’s world, embracing ethics and responsibility, holding us all answerable for our actions. You’ll see all these things and much, much more.
But today I want to talk you about some exciting innovations in our services to members that directly respond to what you have told us. In particular, about our plans to provide a total package of practical, relevant, up to date information, at a price and quality unbeaten in the market. Information for your every HR need – from making you legally compliant, to finding you the job you most want, to inspiring you with the success of others, to linking you with those who have the experience to answer your issues, to help you deal with the admin and the day today, so that you can put your time and your focus on the value add.
Let me talk to you about a small number of those initiatives. In February you’ll see a relaunch of our website with more information, but importantly, much easier to find. You’ll see the content strengthened, with the provision of global HR news and the addition of a comments and insights section on the big issues of the day, where we’ll draw on the views of the best HR practitioners and thinkers.
At the same time, working with the team at People Management, we’ll be bringing you even more timely and topical news and jobs online, every day. Because the truth is, a fortnightly magazine can’t deliver the pace and relevance of news required in today’s net savvy, e-news, iPad wielding and Twitter friendly world. With this online emphasis on news PM will move to a monthly magazine from next spring, in order to become the more feature-led magazine you’ve told us you want – more challenging and thought provoking articles, and inspiration from more in depth sharing of best and next practice.
And there is more. Because you’ve told us that you are often overwhelmed by the pure volume of information coming at you from so many sources and that it is often hard to find the gems, from next spring, we will launch a monthly digest, that summarises from a wide range of business publications and media, the most important and best of that months information.
One last important innovation I want to share with you. From today our flagship product HR Inform – a high quality, comprehensive online resource of practical tools, model policies and procedures and employment law advice – will become available to CIPD members at the heavily discounted price of £425 – more than 60% less than its regular subscription price. This is a move that is especially designed to the needs that we have heard from those of our members working in SMEs or as independent consultants. To ensure that CIPD membership is a gateway to highly affordable, most competitively priced, services.
We’ve listened to the different information needs you have, at different times, and the different ways you want those needs met. We’re responding with the affordable, accessible, convenient services and resources you’ve told us you need.
But now, let me turn to the most immediate information and resource needs those of you gathered here today have. Our conferences are yet another way we can provide you with the tools you need to do your jobs and boost your personal and career development. The programme we’ve pulled together for you here in Manchester this week is filled with a glittering array of leading thinkers, inspiring practitioners and acknowledged experts in their fields. And it is fitting that such a strong programme is opened with a keynote of truly star quality.
Ram Charan is an acclaimed author. He’s sold over a million copies of his books, and his latest, The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers, is launched here in January. In it, he says if businesses managed their finances as loosely as they manage their talent development, most would go bankrupt. With our long experience in HR, an argument we can warmly embrace.
But what’s most different about Ram is the weight he can put behind his arguments. Consultant and trouble-shooter to some of the world’s best known best known businesses and their leaders, he has coached some of the very best for over 25 years. Passionate about the capacity people have to achieve extraordinary things when they grow their capacity to think, he is the ideal opener for our conference. Please welcome, Ram Charan.
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