As you’re probably aware, CIPD recently rolled out their new campaign designed to entice fresh graduate talent into HR. The campaign slogan is, bewilderingly: “Think HR. Think again!” Now, I’m going to go right ahead and assume that the team that gave shape to this fiasco are no spring chickens, but surely someone that they ran this past might have clocked the fact that, to a young audience, it comes off sounding rather dismissive of the industry. I’m a recent graduate and my first impression was that they were trying to dissuade me from entering the industry at all costs.

In fact, I have a number of problems with this bungled attempt at appealing to a young audience. Firstly – and I’ve mentioned this before – appealing to young people in this way is condescending. Making HR seem ‘wacky’ isn’t going to attract a young audience. Most graduates grew out of ‘wacky’ when they grew out of watching Fun House. The only way this campaign could be have been further from the mark would be if CIPD had dressed a group of HR officials in baggy jeans and hoodies, called them the ‘Human Assetz Krew” and had them dance around happy slapping each other and rapping about the industry.

Even the picture on the front page is a disaster. As soon as I looked at this I couldn’t help but consider a day in the life of this individual:

Yeah, well, most mornings I get into the office around half eight. I’ve got a set routine I like to follow. First I say hi to everyone, then I hang my coat up, whack the kettle on, and then just wonder around for a couple of hours laughing like a nutter and juggling volleyballs…”

Response in the industry has been pretty unanimous. To give you an idea of the veiled cynicism that the campaign has been met with, here is one unnamed HR official’s response:

The fact that it actually made it past brief and into the public domain is enough to make me want to take a machete to every advertising executive this side of Watford.”

Say what you want about HR, you can always count on us to be diplomatic.

CIPD has come out defending the campaign, saying that it’s “always possible to pick on an element of a campaign like this”. That would be fair enough, were it not for the fact that a team of people were probably paid a great deal of money to ensure that these key ‘elements’ weren’t likely to be ‘picked on’ or misconstrued.

Still, all silliness aside, this really does highlight quite a serious issue. If the industry as a whole has largely come out in opposition of the CIPD’s campaign, then how in touch are they with the industry?

Since the inception of the internet, organisational models have moved further away from centralised systems to less structured ones. Now that the traditional channels, through which communication and organisation in an industry used to be conducted, have been undermined by the prolificacy of online media, it seems inevitable that the CIPD’s finger will be slipping from the pulse. Any organisation that cannot keep up with the pace of the digital age and change accordingly is going to suffer. Indeed, a business that cannot do so will become redundant, nonexistent.

Official bodies like the CIPD are important: they inform the industry with research and they offer qualifications that can attest to and guarantee the quality of its professionals. But, just as it is our responsibility to keep up to date with our CIPD membership payments, it is their responsibility to keep up to date with the industry and its requirements, and to do what they can to ensure that these requirements are well met.

“Think HR. Think again!” is about the future of a profession – it’s the next generation of recruits. In fact, that next generation is so important to CIPD that they’ve just launched a research programme called just that. This research is about getting the more hard-nosed elements of business – finance and operations, for example – to take HR seriously. CIPD’s research may hold HR accountable for this – though how to do so is still unclear – but as far as we’re aware juggling and stripey jumpers never factored high in our estimations. And if a 21 year old looking for a career won’t buy it, then why would a CEO?

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl