Home' HR Monthly : August 2018 Contents 6
t’s an honour and a privilege to have been president of the World
Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) for the past
two years, as well as serving for a term of 12 years on the board of this
What a special honour also to finish my service to the WFPMA board
at a time of the record-breaking 2018 World HR Congress in Chicago.
As the content of the 2018 congress itself has amply demonstrated,
we live in a world of workplace disruption, new worker attitudes and
expectations, artificial intelligence, robotics and global integration.
These forces have broken open the foundations and traditional
boundaries of how we manage work, and also engage with our co-
workers every day.
On the other hand, we have populist politicians and myopic thinking
around us that are driving governments to increase workplace regulations
to a choking and ultimately unproductive level.
We need here to remember a quotation from that most famous of US
presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who once said, “The more you regulate
something, the more likely it is to disappear.”
I do fear a world of work where heavy-handed regulation and short-
sighted populist controls seem destined to become ends in themselves.
As HR practitioners, we can’t allow these changes and pressures to
freeze us on the spot. We need to confront them and avoid excuses for
not doing that by waiting for someone else to act first. We must hold
on to our own convictions of fairness and the pursuit of productive
achievements on all fronts in our workplaces.
Yesterday the new CEO of the Society of HR Management, Johnny C.
Taylor, committed his organisation to adoption of the principle now well
accepted in best practice organisations; that is, to be audacious.
As the opening keynote at the World Congress, Governor Jeb Bush
added substance to that principle in the fields of education and politics,
which he is passionate about. As Governor Bush demonstrated from his
own words and experience, we must not only aspire to be audacious; we
must deliver that with material effort, agility and passion in both what we
do and how we go about it.
Following that lead, what has been the scorecard of the WFPMA in the
two years of my term as its president?
First, we have set some new and stronger foundations for research
that will help the busy but time-poor HR professional. In the last two
months, seven abstracts or research summaries have been published on
the WFPMA website that will give our members key insights from some
leading articles and books in HR. Three more will be added soon.
Second, and following an ex tensive and exhaustive two -year process,
we are close to selecting a new and renowned world class research partner
to undertake a major study of relevance to this new dynamic world of our
HR profession. More details will be announced soon.
Third, we have set tighter standards and a more modern and
professional contract and relationship between the WFPMA and the host
city for the conduct of the current and future World HR Congresses.
This followed the impact of terrorism and the then increasing reach of
ISIS in the Middle East during 2015 and 2016.
At that time, the absence of new and rapidly evolving standards to
manage geopolitical risk for associations like us undoubtedly impacted
the unrealised objectives from the last World HR Congress held in
Istanbul, Turkey in 2016.
Fourth, we have intervened successfully to end the flawed approach a
major working group of the International Standards Organisation was
undertaking on HR competencies.
That work would have taken compliance for H R practice in a very
unproductive direction and added many unnecessary headaches to being
an HR professional in the future.
The astute work and cooperation of senior professionals Rita D’A rcy
from Australia, Wilson Wong from the UK and Alex Alonso from
the USA, with WFPMA support and sponsorship, warrant particular
mention for the very sensible outcome achieved with the ISO in this field.
And finally, we have upgraded our own governance arrangements to
ensure all members pull their weight and observe common standards,
and not allow ourselves to be drawn into inequitable lowest common
denominator outcomes across the five continents in which we operate.
The organisation that passes to my successor, Leyla Nascimento,
from Brazil, is in very sound shape, but faces some new
challenges ahead, as all global organisations do today.
In my experience at WFPMA, you need to oblige
the KISS principle: keep it simple stupid. Make
material progress on a few high-priority fronts.
Don’t try to be all things to all people. It’s simply
I wish Leyla and her colleagues all the best in
addressing these challenges and also in achieving
fair and effective outcomes for all countries and
members that support this peak world HR
association, the WFPMA.
After all, that’s what they expect.
This is an edited version of the
farewell speech Peter Wilson gave
at the 2018 World HR Congress
in Chicago. •••
Man of the hour
Revisiting Peter Wilson’s farewell address to the World Federation
of People Management Associations.
BY PETER WILSON AM FCPHR AHRI CHAIRMAN
To read past Perspective columns by Peter
Wilson, visit hrmonline.com.au
Heads up, an application
may be coming your way.
19/7/18 2:15 pm
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