My new job – explained

My name is David D'Souza and I've been the CIPD's Membership Director for two weeks now. I wanted to share both why I am excited about the role and some of our plans as an organisation. 

I've been working in HR for over 15 years. I've worked at the CIPD for the last 3 years (supporting our Branches and Council) whilst also getting out and about meeting our members and talking to organisations and people about some of the key themes in HR. The opportunity to influence things positively at the heart of a profession I'm so proud of is one that I could never turn down. The CIPD has over 145,000 members and is an increasingly important and valued voice in the world of work. It's a role that allows me to serve my profession whilst being confident that we are also driving change in work more broadly. It's exciting, it's challenging and I'm firmly up for that challenge. 

I've loved working with Council and the Branches and look forward to continuing that relationship in my new role. Before I talk about the future I want to thank them for the exceptional work they do for the profession. They are an invaluable voice and support for the profession and I think many people would be amazed if they spent time looking more closely at their work. We will get better at involving our members (and I'll talk more about that below), but people often underestimate the influence of Council and our online communities on our decision making and choices. We have a Board comprising of volunteers from across the sector and Council representing the profession in line with our Charter. We remain at our heart a membership body - a successful one that is committed to further improvement and modernisation.

So what does a Membership Director do? I've been asked that by two people ('Congratulations! But what do you do?) so I thought I'd describe the areas I look after, but also what I hope the impact of us continuing to improve will be. My KPI's will be about growing our membership and also improving the experience our members have in terms of their interactions with us. We want to grow membership by providing a superb community for people to join as they start in the profession and then remaining a career partner throughout someone’s time in the profession. My role exists to make sure that we balance our resources effectively and make the choices that we need to in order to improve those two key areas. In terms of structure the Membership directorate will include our Customer Service and Operations area, Membership Development and the team that supports all our volunteering activity. This makes sense in terms of bringing areas that are focused on design and delivery of some of the most important areas impacting members into one place. From customer enquiries to issues raised at Council we will have a view across the piece and a mandate to make improvements. 

Our members give us a voice, direction, support and an opportunity to make a difference in the world. We have a duty to lead and serve them - serving them by giving them the tools they need to do their job excellently - and leading them by helping shape an agenda which shapes their roles and business as the world evolves. We need to deliver now whilst supporting a better future. We need to do the serving part brilliantly to have the permission and credibility to lead. We need to be relevant for our students and for experienced and influential leaders in our industry. 

As with any organisation there are a number of things we can do better and want to do better. We are a relatively complex business and I'm aware of a number of areas (from the website navigation to speed of providing certificates) where there is work underway to improve things. We have choices to make and one of my roles will be to work with the rest of the senior team to make sure that our choices are made in the way we'd like the profession to work (principles based, evidence based and outcomes driven). Two of the areas I really want to focus on initially are painting the full picture of the value people can get from their membership and also further improving our commitment to 'member voice'. The membership value piece is a really interesting one as people often tell me confidently what would give them better value from membership - often the request is for something we already offer. That means we have work to do on communication - as everybody loses in that scenario. You lose because you could have been making better use of our resources - and we lose because you spend every day feeling less positive about the organisation than you should do. And it really does matter to me that people are both happy and proud to be associated with the CIPD. 

The second area on member voice is really important to me and I'll be asking the team to come up with a plan to review how and where we can improve this - and I'll be asking them to use feedback from our forums and members to inform that. The better we consult with our members the better informed we are about the consequences of our choices. We represent a large, growing and diverse group of people and we will never get a balance that is approved of by everyone, but we do owe it to everyone to be able to ensure that we make decisions informed by the thoughts of our members. 

I will try and reply to responses to this post in a reasonable time - I appreciate I've just written about member voice! - but as I said at the start I'm two weeks into a big role and with a long list of things to do that I hope will improve your experience and our profession. If you could be patient with me I can promise you that I'm either supporting a team member or planning a better future. I'm looking forward to serving. 

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