This week’s letters

Let’s aim high together for HR’s sake

There is no doubt that HR leaders and the CIPD have a job to do in
convincing employers that effective people management pays (Leader, 5 March).

We have made huge progress over the past decade in compiling evidence of how
people contribute to competitive success.

Your Leader is wrong to say the CIPD is not addressing issues of relevance
to senior professionals. Apart from our long-running projects demonstrating the
link between people management and business performance, our frequent surveys,
research reports, books and executive guides are widely valued as promoters of
best practice.

Our magazine and website also provide extensive information from which
people learn, benchmark and innovate. Our courses, conferences and branch
events are well attended – and senior professionals rate them highly.

Furthermore, many senior professionals are actively involved with the CIPD,
contributing time and energy to the institute and getting back value in terms
of their own development.

The CIPD’s initial qualification is designed to provide professionals with
knowledge for the early stages of their career and prepare them for a move to
strategic partner work when they have more experience. But we have also
advanced practitioner standards for those with more experience, involving
formal programmes, networks and steering groups at the leading edge of

HR professionals have their work cut out to demonstrate their value in a
harsh competitive world. The CIPD is with them every step. Surely it is time we
stopped putting up divisions so we can all move forward together in raising the
standard of people management.

Ward Griffiths
Assistant director general, CIPD

Sex bias is bad for business

The report behind the news story ‘Putting family first holds back career
women’ (News, 5 March) has some salutary messages for employers.

Opportunity Now’s research into women in non-management roles in the UK
shows that the barriers to women’s advancement are subtle but firmly

HR needs to drive cultural change programmes to develop greater
understanding between genders at work.

Flexibility has a positive impact on retention, and it also enables better
pay, more interesting work and promotion.

Line managers must also be given the right tools and training to get the
most out of their non-managerial staff. Better access to training is vital if
these women are to achieve their potential. Over half of respondents did not
believe their potential was being fulfilled – a waste of talent and bad for UK

Sue Morrell
Communications manager, Opportunity Now

Don’t relax the rules on stress

The recent Court of Appeal ruling overturning three awards for stress at
work (News, 12 February) should ring alarm bells.

Not because of unshackled compensation culture, but because of the danger
that employers will use this as an excuse to sit back and relax.

It is vital the mental health of staff is a priority. The CBI estimates that
workplace stress was the second biggest cause of mental illness in 2000 and
cost £5.6bn.

The Court of Appeal backed a pre-emptive approach, so any problems can be
identified and support given early. Employers who ignore this will be the

Gil Hitchon
Chief executive, Mental After Care Association

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