The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) president Gill Rider opened this week's conference and exhibition with a call for HR to take on a more active leadership role in organisations.
Thousands of HR professionals converged on Manchester as headlines continued to be dominated by the challenges facing the global economy. Rider outlined the challenge ahead, citing the shortfall in job creation across G20 countries, an increased amount of stress in the workplace and a crisis of trust in leadership.
"We need to recognise that no other profession has the same range of levers as HR to deliver and drive the change required. I see a real shift in emphasis in what is required of great HR - more important than ever is our ability to lead and drive performance."
She said that she believed there has been an acceleration in the need to spur performance, even in the last year. "I see more urgency. The themes may be familiar, but the magnitude is different," she said.
Rider highlighted three key implications:
- HR leaders at the top of organisations need, first and foremost, to be business leaders and strategists driving performance and change through people.
- All HR professionals need to develop business skills. "In career development terms I think we need equal measures of business skills to complement our HR skills and specialities," Ryder said.
- HR needs to attract the brightest graduates into the profession.
Rider finished by paying tribute to Jackie Orme's leadership of the CIPD and shared the news that the CIPD chief executive has been diagnosed with cancer. "Jackie would normally be standing here giving this opening address. But as many of you will have heard, Jackie now faces a far more personal challenge.
"I wanted to take the opportunity today to share this difficult news with all of the profession, on Jackie's behalf, and I know I am able to take all your good wishes back to her."
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