Shaping the future

By Peter Cheese, Chief Executive, CIPD 

The provocation that the best way to predict the future is to help to shape it has been attributed to various people including Abraham Lincoln. In these uncertain and fast-changing times, this idea gives a sense of hope and of purpose, individually and collectively. 

The uncertainty and rapid pace of change haven’t made it easy for our profession. There have been many challenges from our central role during the pandemic, then to recruitment and retention, cost of living crises, adapting to new ways of working, as well as supporting people and our organisations through change and caring for wellbeing.  

But as we have stepped up to these challenges, I see a real sense of optimism about the role of our profession for the future. There are many more discussions now about the strategic value of the people profession, having people at the heart of the business agenda, and our profession as enablers of change, including the central role around how we use AI responsibly and its impact on jobs and skills. 

We all have the opportunity to shape the future around the principles we believe in and to make work and working lives better. Principles such as driving for and designing jobs that are good for people, shaping positive cultures and the importance of responsible business and greater transparency, embedding new ways of working and how we use technology ethically and manage a just transition to the future. We should be confident to experiment and to learn, to lean into change, including revisiting our own processes, policies and practices. There is no one-size-fits-all, and although we can and should learn from others, there is no single best practice. That may have been something of a security blanket in the past, but it’s now about best fit, and that should be seen as liberating.  

We all want to work to the future for the profession with a strong sense of identity, capability and pride in what we do. Investing in ourselves, working to professional standards and recognition, and being part of a wider professional community helps give us, and all the colleagues we work with, that confidence.  

Through the CIPD as your professional body we will keep working to give voice and position to the profession, as well as supporting learning and communities building capabilities for the future and supporting career growth. Part of giving voice to the profession is in engaging in and seeking to positively influence public policy and regulation, with insight and understanding of the changing demands of organisations and our workforces. As we approach an election year in the UK, it is an important time to collect our thoughts on what we hope can help better work and working lives, and the sustainability of organisations and the wider economy.

You can read this in our Manifesto for Work which builds on the principles of fair work, skilled work, and healthy work. Something we should all aspire to enable. 

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