Peter Cheese

"When I started at the CIPD five years ago, I commented that I was joining at a time of great change and opportunity for the profession. Reflecting on the past year, it is clear that the pace of change shows no sign of slowing. Agility and adaptability are key for any business today, and, as HR and L&D professionals, our members have a major role in helping to shape the cultures and organisations that can prosper, as well as supporting and developing individuals."

This year we launched our guiding professional principles, a set of fundamental beliefs which can guide good HR and workplace decisions in any situation. We defined these principles – work matters, people matter, professionalism matters – in collaboration with our members, informed by conversations with academics, policy makers, business leaders and the wider HR community.

We've also stepped up our work on developing our new Professional Standards Framework, which places these principles at its core and sets out the knowledge and behaviours that people professionals need to champion better work and working lives in all they do. The framework will create clear standards for people professionals at every level, and an international gold standard for Chartered members.

Over the past year we have also been working hard to stay focused on our core purpose, building on our evolving professional standards and our vision for the future of the profession, while remaining agile. We have defined a ‘future fit’ strategy to 2021 to ensure we remain financially secure, generating the surplus that allows us to reinvest in our core purpose and innovate for the future. Our investment in digital technologies is a crucial part of that innovation and growth.

This year we have made progress on a number of very important fronts. I’m proud of the growing legitimacy and influence of our voice. Our independence and objectivity is a real strength. Many different issues have been fuelling debate on the changing world of work – increased automation, social change, political uncertainty and the skills agenda among them. They’ve all provided opportunities for us to share and unify our thinking on the future of work.

We’re feeding in to public policy agendas on matters such as the gig economy, diversity and inclusion, pay and reward, skills supply and demand, and corporate governance. And we’re engaging with many others in the wider business, regulatory and academic communities as we raise the voice and impact of the profession.

Our collaboration with the High Pay Centre, jointly championing a more ethical approach to pay and reward, is one of the valuable new partnerships we have forged over the year, helping us to strengthen our voice - increasing awareness of the issues through engagement with members and other stakeholders and through a growing media presence.

This year we reached some significant milestones in our digital transformation programme. For example, we launched our new website which is providing our members with better access to content, and more collaborative and digital learning environments, wherever they are in the world.

I’m proud of our worldwide community of members, who are embracing our commitment to championing better work and working lives. We now have more than 145,000 people professionals around the world, many of whom volunteer their time and skills on community-wide initiatives from our job seekers mentoring programme to supporting local branch members. We really value their good work as well as the contributions of volunteers who share their expertise by serving on our Professional Code of Conduct panels, or as assessors, on our committees and our Trustee Board.

Looking ahead, I want us to grow our connections across our communities, to encourage more active engagement and to help and support each other more. We are currently looking at how we can extend HR support to smaller businesses through our membership, learning from the People Skills pilot we carried out last year in three cities across the UK, funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Our members are our most important stakeholders. We want to help them develop and give them the confidence to play their role in fulfilling our shared purpose. We’re working hard to ensure we are providing them with the right tools to be the best people professionals they can be. This year we have introduced a new internal CRM system which is bringing about a step-change in our understanding of members’ needs and how we can support them.

We’ve been working closely with other stakeholders, including the business community, policy-makers and academics. These relationships ensure that our profession gains wider recognition for the value and expertise it brings to the world of work. Our work on culture and corporate governance, for example, was cited in the Financial Reporting Council’s report on the role of boards. And we have created wide-ranging, substantial debate on the future of work and working lives – positioning the organisation as a leading authority and convener in this area and building a community of over 1,000 people who share in a common belief that the future of work is human.

Our employees are stakeholders too, and their contribution is vital in delivering the knowledge and support that our other stakeholders need. It’s essential that we live the values of championing better work and working lives if we are to fulfil our own role as a responsible and supportive employer.

The way we position ourselves for the longer-term future of the profession is incredibly important. We have a great legacy, but what we do in the future is not simply governed by what we have done in the past. Our new Professional Standards Framework is one of the vehicles that will help the profession move forward. It will contain a greater emphasis on building ethical competence, commitment to public good and strong governance on continuing professional development.

Looking to the future, the CIPD is pulling together a number of different aspects of our work whether it is demonstrating the impact of our thought leadership, growing access to online content and building connections internationally, engaging and supporting people professionals on their career journey or helping business, to make sure we are playing to our strengths, and innovating for the future.

With the right insights, evidence and support, we can shift mind-sets, change behaviours and make the future of work better for all.

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