The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), on Thursday 7 December 2023, held its 52nd induction ceremony where over 400 new members were inducted into the institute in Lagos. Themed, HR Challenge: Bridging the gap between employee and organisation, with Evi Rachel Ifekwe, executive director, People & Country Services, TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, as the guest speaker. The Institute also presented awards to five outstanding graduating students, where Mobolaji Funmilola Kpedetin emerged as the overall best graduating student. Olusegun Mojeed, president and chairman of the governing council, spoke with Seyi John Salau, on the 2024 outlook for HR practice. Excerpts:
The institute just inducted about 414 members into HR practice; what is the relevance of this action to human resource management in Nigeria?
If you are practicing Human Resources in this country and you are not CIPM certified you’re a quack in this space called Nigeria , that’s why our name is called charted institute of personnel management of Nigeria personnel management is human resource management personnel management is human capital management personnel management is people management and we are the only organization licensed for people management for human resource management in this country so what you’re seeing today is over 400 people being inducted today is that they took it serious that they must be professional in the way they manage people you see even if you don’t wanna get certified as Long as you manage people you need to be talking to us so that we can guide you accordingly no matter what field you’re we have bouquet of development programs for you to become a professional manager we can see how beautiful the event was for us that’s our own gift to humanity that’s our own gift to national development to get people properly tested and properly accessed and then properly qualified to be HR practitioners or HR professionals we have a lot of them out there thinking that they are doing HR is a shame they are not certified by CIPM they are bloody quacks.
Earlier in your speech, you spoke about advanced employment relation…
Advanced employment relation is a subject; don’t let us be too theoretical. What do they teach in that subject? Is how to manage relationships at work; gone are the days when you’re employing people you think you’re doing them a favor. You’ve got to create employment experience for the staff from the gate, let him be proud that he’s coming to work for you and except you’re a professional HR practitioner you may not know how to handle that.
The term getting HR to table is fast becoming a cliché; how do we HR practitioners to the table in changing that trend?
You use the right word cliché. It is to begin to build tables i am no longer satisfied with being called business partners we are the business people are the business so to come use your palace getting to the table it’s about adding value to the processes either the people processes manufacturing processes whatever processes is in place we add value let’s add value to the life as Human Resources professionals that’s being at the table don’t just come to the table some people come to the table to sleep off no we want to add value we want to start building tables we are the business
You’re likely to have another induction before the end of the year which may likely be your last induction; so, what Institution are you leaving behind as you move on?
We are having a special one. This one is the last general induction where you have a student that will be coming into the CIPM. The one we are having now is a special one for our colleagues in Alausa. One beautiful place where HR is being practiced is Alausa, where we have the seat of the Lagos state government. So for me, the legacy I’m leaving behind as HR is no longer what anybody can practice. HR is a professional body of knowledge; the people that must do it must be well approved, well certified and that’s what Alausa will be doing on December 21. I’ll be glad to be there and that’s the legacy I’m leaving behind. Whoever wants to practice HR must be certified. We have a law and our enabling law says we must enforce; it gives us the power to enforce. However, over the years we have not been enforcing; we have been doing moral persuasion, we have been appealing to people. The legacy I want to leave behind is that whoever you are out there doing HR without being CIPM certified you’re a quack.
On the back of that legality that just spoke about; as an institution that membership association. What is your view on members dragging the institute to court without exploring internal mechanisms?
I’m not against members going to court. The judiciary actually is the last hope of a common man. However, we have our internal mechanism to resolve issues. I’ve had petitions written against me and those petitions have gone through the proper channels, and they have been dealt with. I am serious and that channel is a committee of council. The council is higher than the president and the AGM is higher than all of us. So, if the committee council looks into the matter, believe me and that committee has lawyers. The committee of council is also a reputable people. I’m the chairman and president of the governing council. The governing council in their power has set up a committee to deal with various issues. The event we just had today is the product of two committees of council – the membership committee and the education committee working with our HQ. So, the committee of council is powerful because they bring their experience and expertise to the council; council is higher than any of us. So, if the president has a good council cooperating then look very well at that council that they are made up of mature people. Look at that president that knows how to manage people.
Finally, what is your outlook for HR in 2024?
I’ll just give you a hint – artificial intelligence is going to play a very key role in whatever we do, even in our payroll. However, my counsel to HR professionals and the people, the workers, the employee is not about fears; do not fear artificial intelligence. One of the books I read used metaphobic about AI; AI is actually a scheme to facilitate the way we do things. AI is coming at a higher grade – for me that will be one outlook. The other outlook I want to tell anybody who cares to listen is that industrial relations is on the ascendancy. So whoever is practicing HR anywhere, industrial relations, employer-employee relations is on the ascendancy and we must pay attention. You cannot outlaw protest, you cannot outlaw lockout; it’s in the law – no work no pay, we should improve on our dialogue by engaging one another in sitting down and talking over our issues because there are no problems without solutions, even death has solutions.