The CIPD’s recently published report, ‘Next Generation HR: Time for change – Towards a Next Generation for HR’, outlines a number of challenges for the HR function:

  • Has HR asked itself enough questions in light of the seismic shocks to our global economy?
  • Do we need to challenge the way we create HR strategy today?
  • Are we equipped to become a truly insight-driven function?
  • Is there a need to build new HR partnerships to deliver this agenda?
  • The need for courage, pioneering leadership and a new language


The authors of the report comment: ‘The possibility of HR playing a more significant role in building the foundations for future success, while acting as a true partner and on occasion a provocateur in the business today, is very real.


‘However, our work has shown that establishing this broader role is predicated on being able to consistently generate real organisation insight that grounds HR’s contribution in the issues that matter the most, and allows HR to offer new insight into an organisation’s readiness for today and fitness for the future. Without this, the future could simply mirror the challenges that many HR functions face today, namely a proliferation of activity that adds ever more pressure to a scarce resource, allied to a reliance on too few key leaders to deliver the highest value-adding parts of the HR agenda.’


Comment: Plus ça change… – and the reason for this is that, over the years, HR departments habitually attract people with the same skills and aptitudes.


Indeed, the presence of a professional association – such as the CIPD – with its schemes of study and professional qualifications and even CPD programmes cements this ‘competency rigidity’ because it accentuates and perpetuates these skills and aptitudes. Things won’t change for HR folk while the CIPD and other bastions of the HR industry exist. So could the CIPD be arguing for its own abolition? Or am I being too naïve here?