Peter Cheese CIPD Progress Update

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 09.50.17.png  So Peter Cheese has been in post as the CIPD’s CEO for 9 months now and I thought it might be time for a review of progress during this time.

That’s partly because I feel a level of, well, not quite ownership or even involvement, but something a bit stronger than interest, in how this is going, having included Peter as my third out of 10 suggestions for the role back in February 2012).

I also advised Peter on five points for his new strategy when he started work last July (quite without any request for this of course, just as this review is similarly unrequested).  So I thought it might be useful?, or at least fun? to review how Peter and the institute are doing against these five things:


1.   Developing more focus on Strategic HR (or HCM)…

I’ve got to give Peter full marks for this.  I love his suggestion that given the changes in the world of work, the workforce and workplace, much (most?) of what we do in HR is no longer fit for purpose.  And I also love to see the way the profession has responded to this with some really revolutionary (and some counter revolutionary) suggestions for the development of the profession in this ‘100 thoughts’ series of provocations.

I’m not too impressed with the way the CIPD’s hackathon, together with Gary Hamel’s MIX, has been set-up (see my comment on Gary’s article, Changing the Way we Change) but I’m still hopefully about using this sort of approach to reinvent what HR does.  It’s certainly a breath of fresh air that we’re trying to do this now!


2.   …. Including more focus on Social HR

We’re seeing less of this so far but there are some good early signs that Peter understands why HR needs to be more social.  (Actually I know he does as I saw him present on this at Gary Hamel’s Management Lab back in 2009).

It’s also good news that Peter’s taken to Twitter, and I love his early tweet I’ve included at the top of this post.  HR’s got to get to grips with dealing with communities and not just individuals.  This lies at the heart of where I think the HR profession is going to have to go.


3.   Being more social itself ie more membership based

Just about top marks for this one too.  I’ve not seen that much of this myself, but that may just be because I’m not involved in branch events as much as I’ve been in the past.  But I’ve heard Peter talking about the need for the CIPD to be more social / inclusive e.g. responding to and including consultants rather than just practitioners, and doing more through local groups.  Great stuff – though future reviews will need to focus rather more on the execution.


4.   Getting rid of Bridge (spit!)

No change here unfortunately which makes Peter’s intent to include consultants feel rather hollow too.  (We’re not going to feel included whilst your competing with us.)

Get rid of it Peter – ideally before July!


5.   Developing these themes through the conference

Coming on nicely – I didn’t get to the CIPD annual conference last year as I was keynoting at NR Norge, and I missed this Spring’s HRD conference too, but I did follow the tweets and things seemed to be developing well:

  • More of a strategic focus, though I still think there’s more that we can do.
  • More on social HR, but this needs much more focus still.
  • More of a social approach from the CIPD and it was great to see Peter getting some comments on his approachability.


So just a bit less than full marks for this area because the CIPD are still wheeling Lee Sears round their various events spurting the same nonsense about Next Generation HR (it’s great to see most people in the 100 Thoughts putting forward a different type of agenda) though.

In summary, great performance on four out of five of my suggestions.  I may come back with some new thoughts for Peter’s second year, though I probably won’t, and in case of this, here’s one more suggestion for next year.

We know the average tenure of CEOs’ is continuing to fall and if he’s not already done so, Peter needs to start thinking about succession (the institute should be role modelling good HR after all).  We really shouldn’t have to be paying an agency to find us the head of our profession (as my post in February 2012 was designed to illustrate).

But given everything that I’ve just been discussing, can’t we do this in a more strategic, social was as well.  Eg I love the way the CIPR have been asking their members to elect their new President. If we could do this for the next CIPD CEO I think we (the institute and the profession) would really be moving forward…


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I graduated from Imperial College, London in 1987 and joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a systems development consultant. After ten years in IT, change and then HR consulting, I joined Ernst & Young as an HR Director, working firstly in the UK, and then, based in Moscow, covering the former USSR.More recently, I have worked as Head of HR Consulting for Penna and Director of Human Capital Consulting for Buck Consultants (the HR consultancy owned by ACS).


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