Any HR department that wants to have a strategic impact on
its organisation needs to build employee trust to a level where unions become
an irrelevance, a leading HR consultant has urged.
Paul Kearns said
senior HR professionals who are serious about adding value to their
organisations should have a written HR strategy which states an intent to work
without the unions.
Kearns made the controversial claim as he debated the strategic
value of HR with Duncan Brown, the assistant director general of the Chartered
Institute of Personnel and Development at a CIPD branch event last week.
The head to head debate followed months of disagreement
conducted through the pages of Personnel Today.
"You can’t have an HR strategy that’s compatible with
the unions," he said. "To have an effective [strategy] you need trust
and you can’t have the level required if a union is there."
Go to page 4 for the debate in full
In the debate, hosted by the CIPD’s West London branch,
Kearns argued that HR was too focused on process tasks and needed to
"break through the brick wall" and add value to business.
Brown conceded the function was not as strategic as it could
be but said it had come a long way and was already adding value through its