Monday, 15 March 2010

You down with CPD? Er, well, sort of

Hand on heart, how many of you complete and keep up to date your CPD log?

Now of those who have said yes, how many have completed it under instruction- with it either being linked to a recent or upcoming appraisal, or perhaps part of your studies towards your CPP or CIPD?

I have yet to meet someone who is anti their own professional development, yet at the same time do not know many of my colleagues in HR who without fail will keep an up to date log of their CPD independent of a deadline or direct order to complete it. Maybe this is perhaps a reflection of the company I keep- there again, most of those I have spoken to are soon to be fully qualified CIPD practitioners or long gone being qualified. A mix of the future and current graduate (and higher level) representatives of the CIPD and beyond seem to not want to prescribe to the log itself.

However, when I have raised the subject the first answer always tends to be a defensive one shrouded in an off the cuff response along the lines of “If it is the CIPD asking I can get it to them- but my dog ate it last night so I might need a little time for a redraft”. People are weary of falling foul of the CPD log police but would not seem to exhibit many other motives in wanting to get it completed.

I think this might be partly due to buy in from CIPD members. It should be like preaching to the converted- we all tell our managers and staff to take their appraisal process seriously, approaching it as a reflective space of what has been achieved, what will be required in future and so on. Yet we are not jumping to get on board.

Would we take as much care to our own review as part of our organisation’s appraisal system if it did not often have the possibility of an extrinsic reward waiting for us in the form of a pay rise or promotion as a result of it? Not to assume we are all chasing extra pay but as a certain giant retailer likes to remind us, every little helps!

There will be some reading this that are using the log as a template for a structure for their appraisals and will undoubtedly be reaping the benefits. If this is the case please comment, we need to know you actually exist! But I feel comfortable by making the generalisation that the majority of people I have come across do not take part in it.

So what can be done about this? I think there might be some benefits in the CIPD considering a different approach other than stick. I say stick as there would seem to be no carrot at present as the motivation is all about just in case- “I will do it just in case I get audited/door stepped by the CIPD”.

What about rewarding the most original entries or suggestions that some people make on their log? Perhaps introducing something for the local branches to award and regulate? One would assume that if you are taking part in local branch events you have some interest in your own development as it is so this might be an easy audience to pitch to. It might also be a little easier to implement than the CIPD having to take on at national level. Once the branches have made their choices/nominations there could be a comparison with different regions, a la the Great British Menu. It could end up a modern day HR version of the war of the roses, or Guys Vs Dolls- but with action plans for all parties to take forward afterwards.

Apologies in advance if there is something already in place that I have not mentioned (again, those completing the log step forward or forever be the silent minority!) but if there is it has slipped past myself and those I have spoken to.

An opportunity to share ideas with peers, possibly leading to local and possibly national professional acclaim? Whilst continuing your own journey in professional development? If someone asked in that context was I down with CPD, I would be obliged to say yeah you know me.

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