I read a thoughtful post by Dan Slee last month about why he won’t join a professional body; in his case it was the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. It was quite a telling post as it fell hot on the heels of the CIPD’s HRD 2013 event and I had a few members of my PLN querying if I was at the event. I wasn’t because I gave my CIPD membership up a few years ago. Here’s a few reasons why I’m no longer a member.
I am not as critical of the CIPD as many others have been in the past, but I’m not sure they have a relevance to me in a specialised L&D role. The CIPD sets great store in suggesting that their qualifications are valued by employers. From a L&D perspective I’m not sure that’s quite true. The range of learning accreditation that is now available – NVQs, PTLLS, etc – means that a basic CIPD qualification isn’t a gold standard any longer and the expectation of a CIPD qualification as an essential requirement for many L&D roles is no longer the case. Another lack of relevance is how the CIPD website sells me professional recognition as a key driver for membership. I’ve a much higher professional reputation since I LEFT the CIPD than when I was in it.
What am I going to get for my £200+ that will give me a basic membership? In addition to the professional recognition I’ll receive, I will be getting the opportunity to add some letters after my name. For some people that will be a driver – for me I don’t see the need to carry an ‘Approved by the CIPD’ badge around. To me, £200+ per year for a name badge isn’t value. But, Andrew, there’s more…
Access to information on “…pensions and auto-enrolment guidance, HR and business news, employment law updates, comment and insight, journals, company reports, country profiles, development tools and more.” There doesn’t seem to be a lot there for a L&D professional. If I was a generalist (or indeed other specialist) HR then I can see value in that information. However, for a L&D professional? Part of the subscription would go towards a copy of People Management magazine – a printed version of a website which has published 3 stories about L&D to date in May. Surprisingly, I’d read about the John Lewis story 2 days before the CIPD published anything on their website by having RSS feeds to national newspapers.
The CIPD tells me that I can save £499 on a range of L&D support if I am a member. The site doesn’t mention that an outlay of over £5k would be required to achieve these savings. I work in local government which is facing some of the toughest budget pressures of any industry. Do I really want to lay out £5k for L&D activity that I can get, in many cases, for less than the discounted price? The change from knowledge workers to skill workers and approach to learning in the workplace doesn’t seem to have filtered into the L&D offer from the CIPD yet. There’s some fabulous looking courses, classes and programmes on their website at prices that make my toes curl.
Being a member of the CIPD gives me networking opportunities through local branches. Not being a member of the CIPD I can still use LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, Bebo, Ning, Google+… I know the CIPD run a range of events where members can meet – HRD 2013 being one. The feedback I’ve read and heard from people who went was, the most part, underwhelming. That may be confirmation bias on my part – more likely the people who got the most from the event aren’t in my circles of contact.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the CIPD is the happening place to be now. The Chief Exec Peter Cheese said in January that he had new strategic imperatives. I assume they’ll take time to work their way through.
What do you think? Is the CIPD good value? Am I wrong to dismiss membership as a L&D specialist? Comments, as always, very welcome.