HR needs to stick to its role as defender of the business

In your interview with new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) chief executive Jackie Orme, she said the role of HR had changed during her career from a job keeping organisations out of trouble into one of ‘adding value’ (‘Orme: my results will speak for themselves’, front page, Personnel Today, 10 June).

I keep reading about this need ‘to add value’, and I still struggle with it. I realise it is the latest ‘management speak’ – but could someone please tell me how to do it?

I can see that this phrase can be applied to people in the sense that they can be trained and become more capable of flexibility, higher skilled roles and so on, but we do that anyway, don’t we?

An awful lot of management speak has crept into our profession over the past few years. I was rather hoping that the new CIPD chief executive would grasp the reality of the day-to-day jobs that most of us hold. I find that with all the employment rights now available, I spend much of my time trying to keep my employer out of tribunals.

Leave it to sales and marketing to add value to the business. HR, whether we like it or not, is the defender of the business.

Joanna Elms, posted on


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