Continuing professional development in a financial services organisation: CPD AS A STRATEGIC APPROACH

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Continuing professional development in a financial services organisation: CPD AS A STRATEGIC APPROACH

Hendry and Pettigrew list the main features of strategic human resource management (HRM), which may be applied to strategic CPD:

— Use of planning: CPD activities must be systematic and planned, designed to meet defined needs so they are relevant
— An ad hoc CPD scheme will lack a coherent approach to design and management of personnel systems
— Processes need to fit together strategically.

HRM activities should be matched to an explicit business strategy: CPD should be related to strategic business objectives, and should, therefore, be an integral part of the human resource management process.

CPD processes should be supported by other organisational policies and should demonstrate a belief and commitment in the investment in people. Reward strategy is not simply reliant on financial incentive; increased recognition or clearer career development paths may be more important for some individuals to consider. The ability to recruit more able applicants will be enhanced if an integrated scheme is in place because it makes the organisation a more attractive career prospect. Of equal importance, the ability to retain more able employees would also be enhanced. For the organisation a strategically oriented integrated CPD policy offers considerable business benefits.

Beer et al. argues that the strategic outcomes of HR policies should result in commitment, competence, cost effectiveness and congruence. Beer is clear that in the long term, developing policies that address the ‘four Cs’ results in favourable outcomes for the organisation. These include both individual well-being and organisational effectiveness, which can make a significant contribution to improving the capacity of the organisation to be responsive and adaptive to change. This goes some way towards achieving all- round improvements in business performance.

How CPD fits in with other policies

A CPD policy will be affected by its ‘fit’ with other policies. Included in this will be the ability of the current appraisal process to identify areas for development and thereby inform effective planning of CPD programmes. Identification of development needs must be systematic, planned and evaluated. In parallel with this the recognition, reward and encouragement of employees undertaking CPD require consideration. This in turn raises questions about recruitment and selection processes and how new and existing employees can be enabled to fit into a continuous learning environment.

Wick and Leon, in a study carried out a JP Morgan, reported that employee development is integrated into a number of human resource strategies. The reward strategy requires managers to move valued employees through departments for development purposes, even when it means losing a talented member of staff. The recruitment policy is aggressive and reflects the culture of the company. The development policy allows for an induction programme, which lasts for three months and incorporates ‘learning about the whole organisation and networking with different departments, so providing a base to develop from as careers and work change direction’. The matter of integration requires careful consideration, however, as the operational implications for other areas can be significant and what may be suitable for one organisation may not be suitable for another; culture and context are important factors to consider.

Representative APR 391%

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