Continuous Professional Development (CPD) gets a bad reputation. A tick box exercise, something we ‘should’ do. And like anything in life that we ‘should’ do, it can become less desirable. However the value of CPD in helping us to develop not only professionally but personally, cannot be underestimated.
As HR professionals we are lucky that CPD is left to our own professional judgement. We can choose what development we do. We can choose to look out to the wider world and draw on learning from many different sectors, keeping on top of new changes, thinking and issues. However, we also find that when the day job gets busy, our best laid plans to read up on the latest HR news or attend that event, goes out of the window.
But this month is the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE) and this is one bit of CPD I won’t be missing. I was lucky enough to attend the full conference last year (2016) and I loved it. From the moment I heard the first keynote speaker, Margaret Heffernan, I was completely inspired. I have since read two of her books (which I thoroughly recommend) and it has given me an entirely new perspective on the world of work. And I can still remember listening to Daniel Susskind and his thoughts on the future of professions - if that doesn’t get you thinking about future-proofing your business, nothing will!
What surprised me was the variety of speakers at ACE. Yes, there were speakers from HR functions sharing valuable best practice, however, there were also neuroscientists, psychologists, futurologists, discussing specialisms which you can then apply to managing people. It gave me a different angle on things. As HR professionals we are the ‘people experts’, and if we don’t find out about the wider topics that can help to support the people in our organisations, no one else will. This year I have signed up to go to talks on artificial intelligence, migration, diversity, culture and leadership. What a mix.
In HR we often get overlooked for CPD and it can be difficult to sell the value of it to employers. But my advice, for what it’s worth, is to make an effort to attend ACE even if just for one day.
We live in a world that is constantly changing and as HR professionals we need to stay up to date. We will have to face many challenges in the next decade – the automation of roles, the increased use of data and Brexit to name but a few. We are uncovering more about the human brain than we thought possible, and this information can help us better manage our people. We are not the “tissues and issues” function any more, it is our role to look after the people in our organisation. This is our domain, and if we don’t take professional pride in being experts in it, then no one will.