The organisation development (OD) consultancy Echelon has welcomed the findings of a recent CIPD survey of 4,500 respondents within the HR arena. Among other things, the survey suggested that the boundaries between learning and development (L&D) and OD will continue to blur as learning is embedded into the way organisations work.
Jackie Orme, the CIPD’s CEO, discussed the survey’s findings in her closing address to the recent Training Journal conference, held in central London. She observed that, in this recession, redundancies are being undertaken on a much more considered basis and spare capacity is being used to develop employees and operating processes.
It is the capability of the organisation’s people that will drive it out of recession, she argued. Retention of key staff is critical to being prepared to benefit from the upturn.
The conference highlighted the increasing importance of L&D to organisational success in the current economic downturn. In addition to the importance of investing in people to build their competence, L&D is essential to driving employee engagement and sustained performance.
Taking up this theme, Ms Orme said that, in an era where change is the norm, those designing and managing change should work hand-in-hand with those responsible for skilling the workforce.
Alistair Morrison, Echelon’s CEO, commented: “The general conclusion of various recent reports and surveys, along with current practitioner thinking is that organisations must put their money where their mouths are in terms of recognising the capacity and criticality of their organisation’s ‘most valuable asset’.
“L&D alone is not the answer. Instead, its integration with business planning and organisational design – to shape the structure and performance of the best practice organisation – is essential. The growing role of HR in strategic planning is a welcome sign – and L&D professionals must step up to the plate to ensure that training delivers the competencies required by the organisation and that training can be applied quickly in the context of the organisation, its customers and its market.
“Jackie Orme is right that HR is no longer merely one discipline,” he continued. “Rather, it’s an amalgam of sub-specialisms, within each of which the level of skill required for success is continually growing.
“The contribution of HR to workforce planning in support of organisational strategy is miles away from just being about ‘recruitment and rations’. This highlights the growing importance of HR as an agent of change and reflects a major shift in its purpose,” Morrison added.
“The role of the HR practitioner is about supporting people managers to achieve their objectives. HR is increasingly seen as a value-adding function and an essential component in creating the sustained capability and flexibility required for the organisation to achieve its future vision.”
In supporting this, Echelon sponsored the management of change award at the event’s accompanying TJ Awards. The prize went to Safestore, which not only collected that award but also the award for the best overall project.