I have been a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) for many years. A fact of which I was reminded earlier this week when I attended the headquarters in Wimbledon for my training as a CIPD Code of Professional Conduct Volunteer. I chanced to remark,

“The last time I was in the headquarters was when it was down on the common.”

The responses I got were along the lines of,

“That was a long time ago,”

“How long ago was that? They’ve been here for years.”

“You’re older than you look.”

But what exactly is a Code of Professional Conduct Volunteer and what exactly was I doing at the headquarters of the worldwide HR organisation, which now has offices in Singapore and Dubai?

Much like other professional bodies, the CIPD has a code of professional conduct to which it expects its members to adhere. The code is divided into four principles, areas, if you like:

• Professional Competence and Behaviour

• Ethical Standards and Integrity

• Representative of the Profession

• Stewardship

The CIPD makes it clear that the code applies to all members, whether they are affiliates or Fellows or anything in between, whether they have been members for a long time or have just joined. When we join or renew our membership annually, we do sign to say that we agree to abide by the code.

There is nothing particularly surprising about the code of conduct, it’s pretty much what you would expect of any professional body. The reason that we volunteers attended for training is that it is considered that peer review is the fairest way to investigate any alleged breaches of the code and the CIPD wanted (and needed) to ensure that the people it selected to do this were absolutely on board with its professional standards.

The selection process was a long one. I applied back in January and had a telephone interview back in March. Quite a long telephone interview if my memory serves me correctly. Then, a full day selection process in April.

Tina, the coordinator, made it clear that we should all congratulate ourselves for having got this far. It means a lot to me to be selected to do this, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I believe passionately that people should be treated fairly. Having been on the receiving end of some workplace complaints in my time, both of which were found to be malicious, I like the idea of being able to help clear someone’s name if they are in a similar position. If they have done something wrong, I want to be able to help them understand that and ensure that they don’t make the same mistake again. (I don’t believe that many people go out of their way to make mistakes and give incorrect information.)

Secondly, I believe in upholding the values of the profession. I am not alone when I say that I have worked hard to ensure that I act with integrity and do my best to ensure that the advice I give is right. If we are to make a difference to people and to workplaces, we must ensure that we continue to do this.

I also believe passionately that we need to treat people properly. Too often managers blame their staff for their own shortcomings making them feel undervalued and undermined. It is up to HR to try to stop this sort of behaviour and bring out the best in people.

So now, I just wait for my first investigation…. Of course, it’s all confidential, but there may be some learning that comes out of it that I can share here.

© Susan Shirley 2016

This post first appeared on SAS HR Ltd June 2016

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