HR risks being cut out if it fails to drive organisational change, warns Met Police HR chief

HR risks being “budgeted out” of business unless it shows more muscle and ensures it is driving organisational change, the Met Police’s HR chief has warned.

Martin Tiplady told delegates at the European HR Directors Business Summit in Birmingham today the majority of HR functions were not driving change in their organisations and were “not fit for purpose”.

He warned that if HR did not “shake off its cuddly image” and stand up and play more of a leading role in organisational change, functions could be cut from businesses.

He said: “We need to change what we do – reposition ourselves as a cheaper, but more effective strategic offering. Still in many places our offering is costly, irrelevant and unsustainable.

“If we do not firmly upgrade our value we might, before too long, be budgeted out ourselves. We have a choice: utilise the value we have got, or get out. Change can happen without us. Let’s be clear, the industrial world can exist without us – so please, no soft and fluffy.”

Tiplady added dealing with the need for change created by the recession and any economic recovery required HR professionals to become faster and more aware of their business’s specific needs.

He said: “If HR is to survive, we need to get a whole lot wiser about the businesses we work for. We need to start using our muscle to drive serious organisational reform and to stop playing in weeks.”

He also warned HR was not doing enough to improve diversity in organisations.

“We may have done well in diversity, but we haven’t done well enough,” he said. “Diversity should be at the heart – not because it’s a nice thing to do and because we have targets, but because businesses are better served by having diverse workforces.”

He told HR delegates they had to focus on the positives of diversity – like the increased recruitment pool – rather than overstating its costs.

His call came as analysis by the Institute of Public Policy Research found almost half of young black people were unemployed.

Tiplady said when he joined the Metropolitan Police in 2001, less than 2% of police officers were from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background, but this figure had now risen to 10%. One in five of all police recruits are now BME, while two in every five hires is female.

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