Thursday, 18 September 2008

Reflections on the CIPD Harrogate Conference

A few further thoughts on the CIPD Annual Conference at Harrogate. Of all the sessions I attended, perhaps the two most useful for me were on the CIPD's 'Shaping the Future' programme and Jack Phillips workshop on Measuring HR and Determining Return on Investment.

The CIPD's Shaping the Future agenda, which you can find details of on their website, is an ambitious set of a dozen or so action research projects intended to help members learn more about the links between people management and high performance. As they stress, this is a research programme and a development programme, based on the premise that you only ever learn about something by trying to change it. For us, this is an excellent fit with our work as we run a number of action-research based masters programmes and are about to begin a major knowledge networking and action research programme of our own with senior HR professionals.

The second session on measuring HR directly played into our project for the the Scottish Government/ESRC on measuring human capital and its links with public value. Jack Phillips work has been influential in this field for some years but this is the first time I have come across him face-to-face. Personally engaging in a low key kind of way, he was the consumate HR professional, both in his presentation and in being 'content rich'. For anyone considering a project on measuring human capital, I strongly recommend an examination of his well-research and rigorous methodology - beginning with a look at his ROI website and attending one of his seminars.

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