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Whither HR? - Trying to understand the CIPD's aspirations for the profession

The Chair of my local branch recently came back from a visit to CIPD HQ and, in conversation, mentioned that Peter Cheese (and, by extension, the CIPD) has an aspiration that HR professionals should not be seen as conventional employees, but more like engaged professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, who may be paid by the company but who have - in principle - a higher obligation that trumps their obligation to their employer.

I know that many of my colleagues see themselves in this light already and presumably have employers that see them as such.  But two things do occur to me regarding this:

1. At what point does an HR professional reach this position?  Is it based on role, qualifications, CIPD membership status?  Presumably the same rule would not apply to an HR Administrator as to an HR Director?

2. To what extent, then, will HR practitioners become externally accountable for their advice and actions?  Whilst this may raise the profile of HR, might it also scare people away from progression?

I guess I'm wondering what potential man-traps may be lurking in the long grass of the future if this is the direction our profession takes and thought that others might have some insight to share.

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  • I think that the moment you join a professional body, like the CIPD, you're bound by values and obligations beyond the organisation that you may be working for at the time (and may sometimes be at odds with it). I'm not sure of the moment that kicks in - but for myself, I'd say that it was from the start that I felt that I was operating in an ethical/legal framework that was larger than the business.

    It's definitely cemented over the years though, and there's a battle between properly owning and promoting that ethical and legal perspective, and being seen as responsible so the rest of the management team don't need to bother.

    When you think about the issues that we're trusted to know about, handle and report on, that sense of responsibility is really important. If that scares people away from the profession then (with respect) they probably weren't right for it. [There are plenty of days where I count myself one of them, today being a case in point!]