Jackie Orme, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) chief executive, said that HR is in the midst of a “quiet revolution”.
She told delegates at the HR Directors Club networking dinner that the profession had come a long way in the past 20 years, but still had far to go.
“The HR profession is at a point of inflection, and when I look back, I see a profession that has changed a huge amount, but has a huge amount of change to undergo,” she told the assembled HR directors at Fortnum and Mason.
“We used to talk about hiring and firing people now we talk about talent pipelines. When I worked with unions, it was always about the balance of power now it’s about engaging your workforce. It used to be Christmas parties and inductions now we talk about employer branding. The shift in the profession that we are part of has been huge, but it’s not over.”
Orme renewed promises she made at the annual CIPD conference in Harrogate to improve the institute’s qualifications and standards.
“Senior people are asking for help to make sure they have the best people coming into the profession, and the help to personally develop,” she said.
“One of the things we’re looking at with qualifications and professional standards are routes to membership. Lots of people are joining at different times of their life, so we’re making sure we can bring people into the membership with very different previous experiences and different qualifications.”
Orme said more information on the updated qualifications and standards would be revealed in the next month, although they would not come into effect until 2010.