High price of perfection could change the face of HR

Business secretary John Hutton’s recent announcement that to introduce more employment legislation would be like “using a sledgehammer to miss a nut” has angered unions but has been largely welcomed by big business.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first of the Labour government’s major employment law changes, the national minimum wage, Hutton essentially described the legislative framework for employment in the UK as nigh on perfect. And aside from the recent announcements on agency workers, rights to request flexible working and/or training and the new equality Bill, the Labour government has no plans to introduce any major new regulation.

Political pandering to the ‘too much red tape’ brigade? Perhaps. But HR professionals will certainly welcome news of any government plans to reduce its incessant meddling in employment legislation.

Of course, every silver lining has a cloud, and Hutton duly outlined some “initial thoughts” about what might come along instead of new laws.

One of these ideas was on more effective enforcement of current laws. Whether this will require a new force of government agents checking the minutiae of policies and procedures remains to be seen. With tighter immigration rules coming into force, there is a clear risk that HR could effectively become an unpaid border police.

So much for perfection.

Results, results, results

The new chief executive of the CIPD, Jackie Orme, is asking to be judged by her results. Will she succeed in making the CIPD “the credible voice for a credible and confident profession” as she declares is her aim? Orme says that HR at PepsiCo played a significant role in maximising competitive advantage. So all Orme has to do is show how significant a role the CIPD plays in maximising the worth of the whole profession.

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