AHRI’s annual National Convention gave delegates a look into plans to encourage people to take HR seriously by introducing national HR certification.
Last month, AHRI’s annual National Convention was back in Brisbane for the first time in 14 years. Our last trip north was in 2002, and on the strength of the return to the sunshine state we will be back there sooner rather than later. Brisbane is a wonderful city and our hosts were more than warm and welcoming.
I am delighted to acknowledge with thanks the Queensland state president Caroline McGuire, the elected state councillors, and Queensland members for the spirited convention showing. Around 2500 attendees were present at our showcase event, and that number included more than 1400 delegates to the main program.
The event closed with a moving final keynote speech by journalist Peter Greste, whose harrowing story reminded us that we are stronger than we think we are. Following Greste, our chairman and national president Peter Wilson echoed the thoughts of many delegates when he said that Brisbane is now on the regular convention circuit.
It was pleasing this year that delegates who were not able to make the trip to Brisbane were able to participate remotely by tuning in to the live webcasts of keynote speakers such as Lynda Gratton, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Wayne Cascio, David Rock and Tim Soutphommasane.
I can also report that the social media activity of Brisbane delegates resulted in around 12,500 posts, comments and likes to the convention app over the main three days. Add to that more than 3500 posts to Twitter using the convention hashtag, and you’re left with the impression that HR people are not shy when it comes to sharing their thoughts on social media.
Introducing HR certification
In his opening address, Peter Wilson returned to the theme he touched on last year: namely HR certification. This year he talked about the fact that it’s finally happening and we have momentum. We now have a National Certification Council that meets twice a year, and has been judiciously conferring HR certification on most of the candidates that come before it.
Peter Wilson drew on his own career story to ask why the ANZ CEO chose him from outside HR to take the top HR job at the ANZ bank, when he had no experience or background in the field, when the bank had a large HR department to draw on, and when he was an openly reluctant conscript.
He concluded that one answer was that the CEO did not take his HR department seriously enough to want anyone from within it to report to him on what he regarded as the critical issue of the bank’s people strategy. Another possible answer to Peter’s question is that HR is not regarded as a fully-fledged profession, unlike architecture, medicine and accounting.
Until we remedy that situation, how does a CEO get to know what sort of people can actually do the work of a chief HR officer and perform as a true business partner?
AHRI’s answer to that question is in two parts. The first is our application of an exacting certification standard that assesses candidates’ expertise, but also attests to their behavioural ability to do what they say they can do. The second is that we will be informing business leaders that HR finally has its house in order and we will provide them with a list of certified HR practitioners that we are confidently able to say can perform the demanding role of HR business partner.
This article was originally published in the September 2016 edition of HRM magazine.