This week’s letters

CIPD failing on development

I was interested in the article "Survey attacks HR’s lack of academic
knowledge" (News, 12 February).

I agree with the view that HR professionals are not confident about their
knowledge of models on corporate change or culture. During my experiences as HR
director of Tesco and Barclays I had great difficulty in recruiting senior
teams with the breadth and background to lead on strategic organisation

The CIPD qualification is sufficient to get people from HR adviser/officer
to HR manager, but nothing exists to assist with the next stage of professional
career development.

Eighteen months ago I approached the CIPD with a view to sponsoring a
strategic leadership course for HR that we had developed and trialled to great
acclaim. It was not prepared to support a commercial product, pointing to its
charitable status.

Surely the CIPD should be encouraging HR professionals who wish to share
their experience after years of learning ‘the hard way’ especially as it has
nothing to offer at senior level.

Louise Allen
Director, CEDAR International

Acas cannot fix lack of clear rules

So Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers Forum on Statute and
Practice, thinks that the number of employment tribunal cases is rising because
people are becoming more litigious (News, 19 February), and seems unhappy that
tribunals are dealing with cases more expeditiously. He believes that providing
Acas with more resources will help address this.

Has everyone missed the point? People don’t like being sacked because they
lose their jobs and their reputations. If they are dismissed for what they
believe are trivial or capricious reasons through processes they think are
biased, where else can they turn but an employment tribunal?

If employers are serious about reducing the number of cases, a good part of
the remedy is in their own hands. Most cases are about the lack of clear and
reasonable rules consistently applied, or where procedures are technically fair
but don’t feel fair to those involved. Acas can’t fix that.

Nigel Turner
HR director, Royal Free Hospital

Cracking the people problem

I have been fascinated by your recent articles on the war for talent
(Features, 19 February).

If you connect your research with the Jack Welch approach to talent
management (Features, 12 February), you begin to get a strategy that makes

I think we might find it difficult to follow Welch’s dictum of getting rid
of a fifth of staff annually under our employment legislation, but he does
speak of a holistic approach.

The 21st century workforce is a dynamic entity and many organisations have
figured out how to restructure to meet market changes but not how to develop
their existing talent to meet the demands of the restructures.

Those that crack the problem first are likely to be streets ahead of
everyone else.

Jim Oliver
Partner, The Oliver Consultancy

Who are you to judge us?

I was amazed to read the letter from Alice Lotts about the pay dispute at
South West Trains (Letters, 19 February).

How does someone who has no direct involvement in the dispute make such a
sweeping statement as, "bad management lies with the HR team – it is their
fault problems have escalated"?

She does not work in the HR department of South West Trains, has no
knowledge of the dispute, its history, or the negotiations that have taken
place. I would suggest she is in a poor position to pass judgment on what is
clearly a very complex issue.

If it was as simple as Lotts thinks then perhaps she would care to explain
why many other companies are now threatened by industrial action by the RMT.

Lotts has clearly allocated the roles of villain and victim in the dispute,
but perhaps she should study the mountain of media evidence before jumping to

Margaret Kay
Head of HR, South West Trains

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