Membership - Best route for an HR generalist?

I've been working for the last 8-10 years with the remit of 'Director of Finance and Resources' in small organisations within which about 40-50% of my time is spent on HR issues.  These vary from all operational issues directly (such as recruitment, dealing with performance issues, payroll/pensions etc) to more advisory roles advising other staff on managing HR within their teams, advising and planning our approach on HR issues such as training, appraisals, benefits, staff development/retention etc at SMT level.  We appreciate that as a charity, our staff are our biggest asset and keeping them happy and engaged is key to our success in meeting our charitable objectives.

Currently I only have access to the CIPD site via our organisational 'Affiliate' membership.  This makes accessing any additional resources much more expensive than if I had personal membership.  I did look at the Experience Assessment route a couple of years ago.  I had a phone conversation as the first step and while I was looking to be advised as to what level of membership could be appropriate for me to consider, they took my enquiry as to whether the fact that I did get involved with HR at the most senior level meant that I could look at the higher chartered level as being the level that I wanted to apply for.  I was advised I wasn't qualified at that level but received no further advice on whether any other level was suitable.

I have considered doing a qualification but the general ones all look too basic. I've covered a lot of HR theory in my previous degrees and in my accountancy qualification which had specific HR papers.  I don't want to pay to repeat what I've learned already.  But the more advanced papers seem to specialise more and, while they look interesting, they seem more applicable to larger organisations where you have a more specialised role. My employer wouldn't be able to support me financially so I would need to cover the cost of any qualification myself - so I want to get value out of it.  

Has anyone else been in this situation and found a solution to get their experience recognised / get personal membership?  Were there any CIPD courses that you've found formalised what you had learned in the practical arena and built further on it?

  • Elizabeth

    | 2064 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    25 Nov, 2015 23:31


    You need to get back in touch with the CIPD and ask about exemptions for the qualifications you already hold. As I already had an MBA when I decided to go for membership, I was able to skip a whole chunk of the syllabus. Your accountancy qualification may allow you to do something similar.

    Having said that, are you really sure about this? If your goal is to be able to access additional resources of the CIPD, taking a postgraduate qualification seems a disproportionate amount of effort. Would the equivalent be to become a Chartered Accountant to use the CIMA library?
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Thanks Elizabeth. I presumed that options to recognise my existing qualifications would have been discussed in the previous conversation if relevant but perhaps I need to try having that conversation again.
    I hadn't realised that CIMA holds the same level of HR resources as CIPD. I probably should explore that further for my documentation needs as I'm already CGMA.
    However I do enjoy the HR aspects of my role and it would be nice to have some formal recognition of my abilities in that area, which really do form a large part of my role currently. I guess I just need to persevere trying to have a conversation with CIPD.
  • Elizabeth

    | 2064 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    1 Dec, 2015 12:52

    In reply to Target Ovarian Cancer:

    I think I have misled you. I didn't mean to suggest that CIMA holds the same level of HR resources as the CIPD. What I meant was that to take a post-graduate level qualification to get access to resources seems an awful lot of work. It would be like me becoming a chartered accountant to use the resources of that professional body. I suppose you could find the lowest level exam on offer and just take that (CPP?).

    I would think as you do that investigating what exemptions you can get for your existing qualifications would be the way to go. As well as being able to skip the management module because I had my MBA, I was able to re-work my MBA thesis for the CIPD's management report. At the time when I did this there was a time limit, so you could submit a thesis provided it was less than a certain number of years old. The CIPD chops and changes its rules every few years on membership so this may have changed, but it would still be worth asking.
  • Mark

    | 138 Posts

    Chartered Member

    1 Dec, 2015 12:58

    I agree it would be wise to get back in touch with CIPD and also take a look on the website under 'membership'. I have been through the experience assessment process and found that it recognised what I had done both in and outside of my formal HR qualifications, especially when identifying the underpinning knowledge that they sought.

    I must add, I found this process incredibly beneficial and the level of membership I was granted felt right, and in line with where I was at that time.

    It's also worth adding, the CIPD offer an initial CV screening process where they can give some pointers as to what level of membership you might be appropriate to join.
  • In reply to Mark:

    Thanks Elizabeth for the clarification. Fingers crossed my multiple management / accounting qualifications will be of some use.
    And Mark too for the pointer to the CV screening. The website only refers to this for members upgrading, not for the experience assessment. Hopefully it works for both.
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