Shifting the directional thinking of HR
The CIPD is working towards framing a model that brings together different domains in thinking, which it believes will shift the directional thinking in HR. This comprises three elements, explains Cheese. The first one is contextual – developing an understanding of the emergence of ‘megatrends’ and shifts in the nature of work, workplace and workforce. “Every profession has a context and this is ours,” says Cheese.
“There’s no question that these trends in how the new generation of worker thinks, learns and collaborates in the modern workplace will affect every enterprise. So we need to identify ways in which the CIPD can bring together research and insight to help HR professionals understand how to relate this to their own organisation.”
Next, the agenda on measurements and metrics must progress, asserts Cheese. “We don’t have any consistency, understanding or reporting – not even a common definition on basic stuff like headcount,” he says.
This is not just important for HR but also for finance and the wider business profession. “Most of what finance measures on balance sheets accounts for the minority of corporate value. The majority is ‘intangible’ and a large part of that is human capital. The finance profession knows it cannot go on calling this stuff intangible, so we have to put better definition and understanding on it,” explains Cheese.
The CIPD is actively working on an initiative called Valuing Your Talent, which aims to share best practices and build a common framework and exemplars of good people and organisational metrics.
Finally, there is the science of human and organisational behaviour. Cheese believes that there has been so much focus on efficiency and process that we have lost the science of what is at the heart of HR – understanding people.
These three elements provide a solid base to think about a future for HR that is more value-adding, less process-driven, more connected and integrated to business and adding greater value. But is HR ready for this? “There are many examples of HR practitioners fundamentally rethinking what they are about, measuring stuff and doing great things, but we need to learn from these examples,” says Cheese.
“Having been criticised heavily for our effectiveness, HR has lost confidence. We have to regain this and build more solid platforms for the future.”