Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), today opened the organisation's annual conference by setting out his ambitions for the institute and the wider HR profession, and pledged to make the CIPD more inclusive for organisations of all sizes.
Speaking ahead of the CIPD's centenary year in 2013, Cheese said that HR is facing a "crisis of trust" due to events in recent years across the wider business landscape, and referred to the negative impact this has had on employees' perception of leadership.
As well as underlining the need for organisations to rebuild trust, Cheese also emphasised the importance of HR in a business climate facing a sustained period of change, and pointed out how HR is operating in a "VUCA world" - one that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
He said: "The changes in the nature of work, the diversity of the workforce, and even the changes in the workplace, all within a very uncertain business environment, create a greater need than ever for our profession to step up. I have said there has never been a more interesting time for HR, and I think it's true."
He added: "There are now so many critical business, economic and social issues that are genuinely strategic and that we have the confidence to talk about.
"Issues such as rebuilding purpose and aligning to values at create the right sorts of organisational culture - not only to engage with employees, but to engage with the communities and societies we work in and impact more positively. Rebuilding trust in leadership is a vital part of this process, and has been significantly damaged after one crisis after another."
Cheese also called on the profession to think more strategically about how to build the "workforce of tomorrow", and said part of the CIPD's new broader purpose would be to "champion better work and working lives", pointing out that a 1% increase in productivity would result in a £20 billion boost to the UK economy.
He added that the institute's new purpose would be achieved by "improving people management and development practices to build greater value for organisations, benefiting economies and society".
Cheese also pledged to make the CIPD more inclusive, and that it would set out to engage more effectively with small and medium-sized enterprises, consultants and the learning and development community, as well as strengthening its research and thought leadership, and by building a stronger regional structure to support its members locally.
The CIPD annual conference takes place in Manchester on 6-8 November. XpertHR has a range of information and resources relating to topics being covered at the conference.