I read with interest the recent article by Geoff Armstrong of the CIPD. He
was responding constructively to a recent survey among HR directors, exposed at
the HR Forum a few weeks ago, and recently reported in Personnel Today.
The results were a source of concern for me, and no doubt for others, too,
because they indicated that, increasingly, the people who lead HR seem to
believe that it is losing its way. If this is this case, then surely they
cannot seek to disassociate themselves from the root of the problem?
First and foremost, I do not agree with the prognosis. As in every function
and company, there will almost always be areas of excellence, and those that
My own team at Scottish Water has been integral to achieving the
largest-ever corporate merger in Scotland, and it has delivered a
highly-effective model of partnership working across the business. Indeed, this
system was actually extremely pivotal to Scottish Water’s transformation
programme, which has delivered total annualised savings approaching £70m in two
I know from the many people I meet and speak to that there are considerable
numbers of excellent HR professionals out there who are doing a great job for
their companies and their people. They frequently lie at the centre of major
change programmes, constantly being driven to achieve increasingly more with
Of course there will always be a need to continuously improve, but that is
as true a statement for any other area of functional expertise as it is for HR.
I agree with Geoff Armstrong when he points out that the CIPD needs to get
closer still to its members, and I note progress in this area.
Nonetheless, we have a professional body to represent us, and it is our responsibility
as HR professionals to ensure that it continues to meet the rising expectations
of its members – that’s us.
My main purpose in the penning of this article, however, is to recognise the
real and considerable achievements being made day in, day out by HR
professionals in delivering business results by leading crucial people
I hope that HR leaders everywhere would join me in recognising HR’s
achievements, and spurring the profession on towards even greater successes in
By Paul Pagliari, HR director, Scottish Water