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Chartered Institute of Pointless Direction



I was having a mental blank this morning.  Normally I know what I’m going to write about days and days in advance.  Looking for inspiration I asked my friends on Twitter for ideas and Michael Carty replied asking me for a 140 character treatise on what Sartre means to me.  Now I’m not doing that because a) I don’t think it’s possible and b) you don’t deserve that!  But it did remind me of a conversation I’d had with Michael at the last #ConnectingHR event when he asked me when I was going to share my views on the CIPD.

Ironically, I arrived in the office to find a communication from this auspicious organisation sitting on my desk.  It was fate.  For those of you who don’t know, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) is the professional organisation for HR bods in the UK.  I should say that I am a member and have been for 15 years now….long before it added the C to its name but not long enough for it to have an M instead of a D.

And that is symbolic of the problems with the CIPD….they really don’t know who they are, what they are and indeed what they are for.  Well maybe they think they know…but if that is the case they sure as hell don’t make it clear to the rest of us.  And given that I was asked to complete a long questionnaire some time ago on what I would be willing to pay for my membership if the services were varied….I think change is a foot.  So being the loving helpful giving person I am, here is my agenda for change:

  1. Make the letters count.  If you are going to have professional standards, stick to them.  Make them hard….really hard and kick out people who don’t meet them.  A few years ago I was working for a FTSE100 company and the CIPD sent me a list of the membership levels of my HR team.  There were people two or three levels below me that were Fellows of the CIPD.  As part of the membership criteria for this level, you need to be a “Board/executive team member with regular access to the senior management team” and “Influence business/organisational policy and strategic aims and objectives.”  How on earth are you supposed to take the qualifications seriously, if they are being given away like Smarties?  Some of these people were as strategic as a fence post…… How do we expect anyone to take us seriously when we can’t take ourselves seriously?
  2. Stop trying to be something you are not. There are better providers of legal advice and guides out there.  You have missed the boat.  If you wanted to focus on this you should have been doing what XpertHR were doing, when they were doing it.  Not now.  There is a lot of information and guidance that you can provide members, unleash John Philpott for example.  Raise the game.  Provide real insight, challenge….look at the CRF papers as an example.
  3. Ditch the CIPD Exhibition.  Ok….so I know it raises money for the conference etc. But have you ever walked around it?  It is a day out for all the ineffective,  bureaucratic, tea and sympathy HR administrators trying to fill up on mugs, pens and anything else they can get their hands on.  If you took the attendance as a snapshot of the HR population you would think we were a completely pointless, cost incurring,waste of space……oh hang on!
  4. Reform the CIPD branch network.  Start engaging with the 90% of HR professionals that aren’t involved with them and ask them why.  I am sure there must be some good ones, but I am yet to experience anything that doesn’t feel akin to entering a School staffroom in the 1970s.  If we are a commercial forward thinking profession, lets start looking like one, behaving like one and organising like one….not like some charity committee.
  5. Start having controversial views.  Stop sucking up to which ever Government is in power and stand up and be counted.  Provide us with a little thought leadership .  What you are doing is what poor HR people do…they defer, they become a shadow, they suck up to the boss and don’t have any backbone.  Be a role model for the profession.  Get some balls.

I’m available for consultancy at extortionate rates…..should you need.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/27/2010 09:20

    I’ve recently been on a CIPD Postgraduate course. The requirements for entry were “A bachelor’s degree at 2.1 or above”. Plain and simple.

    In a group of about 40, 3 (including me) were graduates.

    • The Engaging Engager permalink
      06/01/2010 15:34

      What? And how many of those three ad degrees from The UNI of Staffordshire or Amersham or Badger’s Bottom or such?

  2. 05/27/2010 12:56


    I’m flattered to have helped inspire a blog post from you, although I still rather feel that the world has been robbed (or at least temporarily deprived?) of your Twitter-length take on Roquentin et al. Perhaps you could start by tweeting or blogging on Camus, before taking a controversial stroll past Celine, and finally moving on to the big J-P himself?

    On to the blog post itself: You make a number of very interesting points here, and it’ll be very interesting to see what the HR “blogosphere” (for want of a more elegant word) and the wider UK HR profession makes of all this.

    For all the good and bad points that might be made about it, the CIPD is positioned right at the heart of HR in the UK, and I’m sure they’ll be interested to hear not only about your views, but also about the extent to which they might resonate or clash with those of the UK HR profession at large. And I’m also sure they’ll have plenty to say in response.

    What the CIPD means to the UK HR profession in 2010 is a topic that is ripe for discussion and debate and I for one will be very interested to see what kind of response your post generates – whether it be from present, past or prospective CIPD members, or from representatives of the CIPD itself. To this end, I’ve just published a post entitled What does the CIPD mean to you? on XpertHR’s Employment Intelligence blog. In this post I invite UK HR professionals to cast an eye over what you’ve written here, and leave a comment either here or on Employment Intelligence, setting out their own views on the CIPD.

    Now surely it’s time for you to get cracking on the Sartre blog post?

    Kind regards


  3. 05/28/2010 00:36

    My eyes glazed over all this foreign stuff, but “strategic as a fence post” stood out. I would relish the opportunity to lob such an elegant gem at a deserving individual…

  4. Grumpy permalink
    05/30/2010 18:43

    Great to see someone asking relevant questions about CIPD.

    If you were an accountant you would expect to have a knowledge of most things accountancy.

    CIPD Membership is given out like smarties and many don’t know the first thing about the core profession.

    I think we need to go back to academic standards again P0st Grad Diplomas etc rather than being so touchy feely and marketing oriented.

    Just my 5p

  5. g-dog permalink
    06/02/2010 01:15

    There’s a Python sketch in here somewhere…

  6. 06/03/2010 08:22

    @Nick Gallimore – Sadly that is just another example of the dumbing down of the profession.

    @Michael Carty – Thanks for taking the debate to another level on Xpert HR. I think I’ll stick to mindless rants in the future. Causes far less issues……

    @Geekette – Please feel free to use with gay abandon!

    @Grumpy – Welcome and thanks for commenting. Your 5p is more than welcome. I think the level of academic standards in the profession is central…..if people can get the letters without making their brains work, then how the hell do we expect people to take us seriously?

    @g-dog – The Ministry of Silly Professions?

  7. g-dog permalink
    06/03/2010 18:52

    upperclass twit of the year
    the abbatoir (sp?) sketch I cannot remember
    so many others…

  8. 06/04/2010 08:04

    @g-dog – You are whetting my appetite for a Pythonesque weekend!

  9. 06/09/2010 07:57

    What I find ridiculous about the CIPD is how easy it is to get qualified, there’s no standardisation and this leads to a wide variety in the practical abilities of HR staff (from really bad to excellent). You just don’t find that with accountants….but then am I comparing apples with pears?

  10. 06/10/2010 07:16

    @karencwise – I completely agree. I read your comments on HRSpace on this too. Let us be honest, it is not hard to qualify and if people think it is, that says more about the quality of entrants than it does the exams.


  1. What does the CIPD mean to you? | Employment Intelligence

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