Monday, 7 March 2011

Whither CIPD?

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?


k.hills said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robert.blevin said...

Hi Ken,

Firstly, mea culpa. I worked with the editor of People Management to come up with the “timeline” illustration for the article covering the new People Management magazine and looking ahead to the launch of our new website. And it didn’t occur to me to put in an ITD magazine cover as well. (In my defence, I was still at university at the time of the merger, and I didn’t start working for the CIPD until 10 years later! But apologies nonetheless, it was remiss of me).

But the more important point in your blog is your feeling that the HR profession map has in some way marginalised L&D. Our intention, and I’d firmly contend what we’ve actually delivered, couldn’t be more at odds with that perception. One of the driving motivations behind the work we’ve done to reform our qualifications, our membership criteria and our routes to membership – all built on the foundations of the HR profession map – was to ensure we were better placed to meet the needs of specialists as well as generalists. And within that, recognising the validity of concerns that our old professional standards required L&D professionals to jump through too many to-them-irrelevant HR shaped hoops was a clear part of the picture.

As a result of the work we’ve done on the map, and on our qualifications and routes to membership, it is now much more possible for an L&D professional to achieve both qualifications and full chartered status on the basis of a clear focus on their specialist knowledge. And that needn’t just be limited to the “learning and talent development” professional area. Many L&D professionals will also find the “organisation development” and “organisation design” professional areas, for example, relevant. And we’re also clear that anyone, specialist or generalist, should be well served by the core criteria we’ve set out in the “strategy, insights and solutions” and “leading and managing” professional areas. Our new upgrading process, built on the Profession Map, is now fully up and running, and I know from colleagues in our membership team that a good few L&D professionals have come through it and have been well served by it. … (to be continued …)

robert.blevin said...

… (Continued …) Building on the map, we’ve also launched a new suite of foundation, intermediate and advanced level qualifications specifically designed for L&D professionals.

The key point, though, is that we’ve very deliberately acted to make it easier to recognise the contribution of specialists – especially L&D and OD professionals.

The story about qualifications and routes to membership is, of course, only part of the story. We’re also determined to ensure that the new magazine and the relaunched website continues to offer the best possible array of insights, learning and support for specialists and generalists alike – from entry level right up to your own experienced level of the profession.

I’m sorry if you feel in any way a second class citizen. As I say, we’ve been working hard to ensure we upgrade our service to L&D professionals to first class. I hope we’re hitting the mark. If you want to discuss this in more detail, give me a call at CIPD HQ. And if we reach the limit of my specialist knowledge, I’ll make sure I get relevant colleagues to pick up the baton to try and address any concerns you still have.

All the best,
Robert Blevin
CIPD Head of External Affairs

(Apologies for the two part post - I think I fell foul of an unstated "" policy on length of posts).

Ken said...

Thanks to Rob (and a couple of his colleagues) for the detailed response. Nice to see CIPD taking an interest!

I have no doubts about the position within CIPD of L&D practitioners in the HR profession. My question is whether CIPD continues to be relevant to L&D practitioners outside the HR profession (of whom I am one).

My concern is that CIPD's majority paradigm seems to be the HR profession, when many members may work elsewhere. I wonder whether others share that concern?