One of the world’s pioneers in her discovery of radioactivity, Marie Curie, proposed that we should be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. In similar vein, the much-loved American diplomat and social advocate, Eleanor Roosevelt, observed that “great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people”.
I mention these two perspectives not so much to denigrate the very human desire to share reflections on friends and colleagues, or even the pleasure we might derive from occasional indulgence in harmless gossip, but as a reminder of the primacy of ideas in the purposeful conduct of human affairs.
I am particularly conscious of matters of the mind this month because in this column I want to discuss the third pillar in my series on the five strategic AHRI pillars.
Pillar 3 is about how AHRI can better build capability to advance the professional standing of HR through robust research, intellectual leadership, management of knowledge and judicious advocacy.
AHRI takes a collective view of the development of intellectual capital. Typically, we connect and engage with leading thinkers from overseas and at home in settings as dissimilar as mass-audience and capital-city conferences on the one hand, and intimate, member-only local network forums on the other.
In addition, we facilitate the interchange of HR conceptual thinking by making use of traditional and social media to circulate ideas, share stories and challenge assertions via blogs and LinkedIn discussions. The establishment of AHRI’s HRM media online, supplementing our long-standing magazine HRMonthly, has generated much greater interactivity between HR thought leaders, HR practitioners and general readers.
AHRI’s refereed Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources draws on the academic research of specialists in HR related fields of study and it publishes long-form articles for the use of members four times a year.
We also continue, through the generosity of members who participate in surveys, to bring together perspectives on matters of significance in the worlds of business, economics, politics and professional HR practice. The findings that result from those surveys culminate in research that informs AHRI white papers and government submissions, as well as to influential agencies, such as the Productivity Commission and the ASX Corporate Governance Council.
A more intimate option available to members is the AHRI mentor program, through which individuals grow their personal intellectual capital. I am pleased to report that the mentor program gathers pace each year and attracts a growing number of mentors and mentees who regularly meet and share their knowledge and experience.
AHRI has also invested on behalf of members in the building of reusable intellectual capital through resources such as AHRI:Assist and our education and training courses. AHRI:Assist is a member-only portal established three years ago that includes templates, fact sheets and FAQs across numerous HR subject areas. It not only provides advice to the many members who use it, but also adds continuously to the body of knowledge available to members in the future.
More recently our investment in the development of the AHRI Practising Certification program is an initiative that will underpin our recently announced formal ‘professional certification’ strategy. The APC designation for CAHRI members is founded on the best intellectual capital existing within the profession, and is an initiative that will not only benefit participating members but contribute to the long-term standing of the profession in the business community.
Pillar 3 acknowledges that intellectual capital takes many shapes and forms, and comes from a variety of sources. It also recognises that before good ideas can influence the way people behave and are perceived, they need to be widely circulated and skilfully marketed. Pillar 3 reinforces AHRI’s dedication to advancing the professional standing of HR.
This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the May 2015 issue of HRMonthly magazine as ‘The power of ideas’. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.