CIPD Centenary: HR leaders reflect on the future of HR and the world of work

  7th June 2013      
 CIPD, Company News

On its 100th anniversary, the CIPD has published a series of perspectives

The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, today celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark the occasion, for the last few months it has been asking its members and prominent thinkers in the world of work to reflect on their vision for the future of work, the workforce and the workplace.

Many of the contributions, available to read on the CIPD website, focused on a world changing faster than business is and the need to ensure HR functions are equipped to match the pace of change.  According to the CIPD, if HR is to deliver on its potential to drive economic growth and tackle crises of trust and employee engagement, it needs to adapt to these new and shifting realities. If it does not, it risks being sidelined by CEOs who need answers to their people and cultural problems, but aren’t averse to looking outside of HR if they’re not getting them. However, other contributors were keen to avoid the risk of losing sight of HR’s core purpose: to create better work and working lives by recruiting, developing and treating employees in ways that let them reach their full potential.

Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, comments: “Reflecting on the CIPD’s history demonstrates how much has changed in the world of work over the past 100 years and how much the HR profession has achieved. But there is still much more we can do to bring some HR practices up to date with the new realities of today’s workforces and workplaces, and as the very nature of work continues to change at an unprecedented rate, we need to be better equipped to anticipate and respond, now and in the future.

“With the huge traumas affecting businesses and economies in recent years, there’s never been a more important or interesting time for those of us whose expertise lies in managing, developing and motivating the contribution of people to long-term organisation performance.

“Business leaders and HR professionals alike need to get better at recognising and identifying the changing nature of work. Organisations that can anticipate and harness these changes will thrive and prosper, benefiting individuals, economies and society. But to reap these rewards, we need to create truly agile organisations that change continuously, rather than in fits and starts, and challenge conventional wisdom about what drives performance and success. The CIPD-Mix Hackathon with Gary Hamel is intended to help the profession do just that.”

Contributing to the CIPD’s ‘100 thoughts’ project, Michael Davies, CEO at the UKCES, highlighted the need to reverse elements of Taylorism, in order to redistribute power between managers and front-line workers to rebuild trust and boost agility and performance. In his piece, he argues: “The businesses that survive and thrive will be those which recognise the changing nature of consumerism, and hand power to their staff to meet this challenge”.

Comments from other contributors included:

  • “The future of HR is to drive the value of people through valuing people. This calls for community, trust, leadership, insight and innovation.” Karina Rook, HR Director, Canterbury College
  • “The classic work-life balance will become a phrase of the past — work will be life and life will be work, there will be no delineation.” Mike Campbell, Group Director Europe, easyjet
  • “We need to spread what HR already knows — that good employee relations is one of the biggest untold economic growth measures.” Frances O’Grady, general secretary, TUC
  • “Responding to change requires organisational agility and HR has a central role in equipping organisations for the future.” Mark Beatson, chief economist, CIPD.
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