Anyone reading about last week’s CIPD conference in national newspapers will have come away with the impression that the agenda was all to do with Internet abuse and pop psychology about gender roles. They certainly wouldn’t get a clear message about the CIPD’s policies and priorities.
So much for the body’s inaugural year as a chartered institute.
But the problem goes deeper than the apathy of the national press towards the CIPD’s agenda. Incoming CIPD president Don Beattie kicked off this year’s conference by admitting that too many chief executives hold back from good HR practices.
Belatedly, the institute appears to be ready to do something about it. Personnel Today has learned that the CIPD plans to expand resources to improve channels of communication with ministers.
Beattie also used the conference to invite Chancellor Gordon Brown to take into account the institute’s research on HR and business performance when he sits down with the CBI and the TUC to discuss how to make the UK more competitive.
But the CIPD will need to come up with more than vague invitations to the Treasury if it is to ever get its message across to the media, industry and the Government.
It could do worse than looking to the American personnel body, the SHRM, which employs a team of professional political lobbyists and has even gone so far as to sue the US Government over bad legislation.
The CIPD must wake up to the modern political climate of professional spin and lobbying. Employing a team of professionals to get the ear of the Government this would be a big step in the right direction.
But the institute must go further. It must decide whether it needs to fundamentally change its remit from being an educational body to being a political force capable of representing the interests of human resource management at the highest level. It is time for the CIPD to climb off the fence and tell the world what it believes in.