I think the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a great organisation, and I’m proud to be a member of long standing. I often describe myself as having held continuous membership of CIPD and its predecessors for over 25 years – by which I mean I was a member of IPD before it won its Royal Charter, and before that the Institute of Training and Development (ITD) until it merged with the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM).
I voted for that merger. I know learning and development professionals who did not, and they argued that trainers’ interests would be lost in a body that primarily served the interests of human resources (HR) generalists. It’s a long time since that merger, but I often find myself wondering if they were right.
The latest issue of the CIPD magazine, People Management (a title that is little to do with learning) carries a diagram showing “forty years of evolution” (pp 28-29 of the print edition) where the ITD is virtually airbrushed out of history. There’s an image of the IPM journal, but none of any ITD publication.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised: the magazine’s overall strapline is “HR news, comment and jobs…” The institute is often described in shorthand as the body for HR professionals. And the recent revamp of its professional map reduced “learning and talent development” to just one-eighth of the institute’s scope.
Well, I’m not an HR professional; I’m a learning and development professional. And the latter is not simply a subset of the former. The merger was supposed to be a marriage of equals; indeed, numerically there were far more of us in ITD, and I wonder whether that remains the case. I often feel like a second class citizen in CIPD, and I’m a Chartered Fellow, who has spoken at the Scottish and UK conferences, and has written extensively for CIPD publications. If I feel a bit like that, how much more excluded must others feel?
I’ve no intention of giving up my membership. I’m also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and I have no concerns that there I’m part of a much broader community. But I wonder whether CIPD genuinely serves the interests of learning and development professionals, or whether we’d be better served elsewhere?
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