The fuse has been lit at AHRI’s National Convention in Melbourne. The time is here and now for HR to act and respond to a rapidly changing business world – or be left behind. That was the message from AHRI Chairman Peter Wilson and CEO Lyn Goodear, making their first major public statement about the drive for certification in the profession.
Goodear said hard facts had to be faced by the profession. She drew attention to the Harvard Business Review’s cover this month that suggests it is time to blow up HR and start again. This isn’t simply bad PR or about changing the perception of HR among employers. HR has to change from within, said Goodear, and raise the skills knowledge and capabilities of its practitioners so that it can play a strategic role within organisations.
Goodear was equally realistic about how the push for certification may affect AHRI members with not everyone making the grade. The alternative, to do nothing, is not an option she said. The demand within organisations for people expertise is growing more urgent as the business case for sound people management is recognised. The HR profession must be bold and take its destiny into its own hands. In 2015, this is the overarching theme of AHRI’s convention.
The transformation of HR was therefore uppermost in people’s minds and the subject of a joint debate with Jon Williams, Partner, Global Practice Leader, People & Org, PWC and Jon Scriven, Group executive HR & office of the CEO at Qantas. Australia’s national carrier has had to rebuild itself, its people strategy and its reputation after several devastating years. Scriven’s candid story of what they went through and how Qantas has begun to turn itself around was as fascinating as it was insightful, with particular lessons on how crucial HR can be in leading cultural change within an organisation on the back foot.
Echoing these thoughts was the Hon. Julia Gillard, who spoke to a standing-room-only crowd, as she discussed how HR can be both change makers and a source of stability within an organisation. Although we live in a world beset with economic uncertainty, complex international relationships and exponential workplace change, HR is in the business of people connections, and there is no better time to seize this opportunity to develop that skill than right now.