Archives for September 2012

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence

Dr. W. Donald Wood, Director of the Industrial Relations Centre (1960-1985) and first Director of the School of Industrial Relations (1983-1985).
A group photo from the Industrial Relations Conference for Trade Union Staff Personnel, held May 11-12, 1964, at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Far right: Dr. W. Donald Wood, Director of the Industrial Relations Centre (1960-1985) and first Director of the School of Industrial Relations (1983-1985).

In 1937, Queen’s University formed the Industrial Relations Section. Since then, the Section has evolved to include two academic programs, a Master of Industrial Relations (MIR) and a Professional Master of Industrial Relations (PMIR), and the practitioner-focused Industrial Relations Centre (IRC).

The IRC has become a leading provider of premium professional development programs in labour relations and human resources. IRC programs are designed for practitioners, delivered by subject matter experts, and grounded in adult learning principles. The experiential learning opportunities allow participants to develop high-level skills and acquire knowledge that translates to the workplace.

The quest for excellence has been a driving force for the IRC’s successes over the years. IRC Director, Paul Juniper, joined the Centre in 2006. Under his direction, the IRC continues to raise the bar on program service delivery. In addition to increasing the number of programs offered, the IRC now holds its programs across Canada as well as in Kingston.

This October, IRC staff will be reflecting on the Centre’s history and celebrating this diamond milestone. We invite you to join us on October 12 at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Advancing the IRC Experience

Paul Juniper, Director, Queen's IRCI often think of September as a transitional month, full of promise and new beginnings. Not only does it mark a seasonal change, as summer turns to fall; it is also the time when students across the country head back to school. The Queen’s campus is once again bustling with activity, with the start of the new academic year. Likewise, the pace in the IRC office is gaining momentum, as we prepare for one of the most exciting program seasons to date. I am pleased to announce that this fall, the IRC is introducing several structural changes to our programming, in an effort to better meet the learning needs of human resources, labour relations, and organizational development professionals. In particular, we have redesigned the programming options available in our certificate series and are launching a new Advanced Human Resources Certificate. On behalf of the IRC, I hope that the changes described below lead to many new learning opportunities for our client community. For a full description of our programming, please download our new Program Planner.

Restructuring the IRC’s Certificate Series

A fundamental, strategic change to the structure of our programming portfolio is the reorganization of our certificate series. In addition to the new Advanced Human Resources Certificate, we offer certificates in Organization Development Fundamentals, Labour Relations, and Advanced Labour Relations. All program options are now categorized as 400, 300, 200, or 100- level series and are worth two, three, four, or five credits, depending upon the training time that is required. As part of this restructuring, we have sought to increase the programming options available in our certificates.

Please note, however, that the certificate in Developing Organizational Capacity will no longer be offered to new clients. Some of the programs in this series will remain, and are worth credit towards other IRC certificates. We will continue to award our Developing Organizational Capacity Certificates for a period of three years, to those who have already started on this path. Otherwise, these programs will be accredited toward another certificate series.

Four Certificates to Meet Your Learning Needs

NEW Advanced Human Resources Certificate

Queen's IRC Advanced HR CertificateThis certificate can be customized to address individual learning needs. A minimum of 12 credits is required to earn this certificate. Participants must complete our popular Advanced HR (3 credits) program and our soon-to-be launched program, HR Strategy (4 credits). We are also introducing two additional HR programs: Succession Planning and HR Decision Making. The Advanced Human Resources Certificate is an excellent complement to our portfolio and exemplifies our commitment to providing premium professional development.

The IRC’s Advanced Human Resources Certificate is the first of its kind in Canada, and is unique in the field of human resources (HR) education. As the HR function continues to shift from an administrative and/or transactional role, to one that has become an integral part of an organization’s business strategy, the skills and knowledge required by HR professionals to be successful in their roles have also changed. The Advanced HR Certificate will broaden and deepen the knowledge of the HR practitioner. It has been designed for the human resources or labour relations professional who has at least three to five years of experience managing an HR department, a CHRP designation (or equivalent profile), and is currently in a middle-management role.

Certificate in Organization Development Fundamentals

To earn this certificate, a minimum of 12 credits is required. The 200 Series OD Foundations program is a requirement (4 credits), and the eight remaining credits may be obtained by taking any combination of the 400 or 300 Series Advanced Human Resources programs, or the 200 Series Human Resources/Organizational Development programs.

Certificate in Labour Relations

This certificate is earned by completing the IRC’s 200 Series Labour Relations Foundations program (5 credits) combined with any of the 300, 200, or 100 Series Advanced Labour Relations or Labour Relations programs.

Certificate in Advanced Labour Relations

After successful completion of the Certificate in Labour Relations, learners may work towards earning the Certificate in Advanced Labour Relations. As such, 12 new credits are required. These credits must include eight credits from two Advanced Labour Relations programs in the 300 Series. A further four credits may be earned by completing any of the 300, 200, or 100 Series Advanced Labour Relations or Labour Relations programs.

A Tradition of Excellence

As the IRC celebrates 75 years of industrial relations at Queen’s University, we are proud of the structural changes that are being introduced to our programming. Our learning strategies remain focused on the needs of practitioners. Through a variety of instructional methods, participants will build their competencies in learning environments that promote dialogue and the exchange of ideas and best practices.

The IRC offers an unparalleled learning experience. Through in-depth, practitioner-oriented research, focus groups, and case studies, we will continue to develop and deliver programs to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We look forward to working with you in the future! Please do not hesitate to contact the IRC with any questions regarding our programming or the ways in which we can meet your custom learning needs (; 1-888-858-7838).

Beyond the CHRP – Raising the Bar on HR: Insights and Reflections

Paul Juniper, Director, Queen's IRCThroughout my career, which spans over thirty years as an HR professional, I have been a keen observer of our profession. I now find myself in a position where a large volume of information about the development and changing nature of HR crosses my desk, and I have the luxury and time to consider, reflect on, and speak about my experiences and insights on the future of the HR profession. My perspectives are shaped by the various roles that I have held. I’ve been manager, director, and VP of HR for a number of companies, run my own HR related business for ten years, and for the last six years, been Director of the Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) at Queen’s University. In this article I argue that the CHRP designation is not sufficient for HR professionals, and point to some of the work being conducted internationally, to illustrate the kinds of training, learning, and professional development opportunities Canadian organizations should be considering for their HR professionals. Enhancing learning beyond the CHRP will, in my view, facilitate raising the bar on HR in Canada.

I always enjoy meeting with and talking to active HR practitioners. I especially like to learn about the problems and opportunities that my professional colleagues face every day. These conversations are a rewarding component of my role with the IRC, and, in part, help to shape the focus of my own HR research. As IRC Director, I am uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the practitioner and academic communities – two communities that, historically, have had difficulty communicating with each other. In 2007, for example, the Academy of Management Journal addressed the issue of “rigour versus relevance” in a series of articles (see, for example, Volume 50, Issues 4-6). In the IRC’s own practitioner-focused research, Alison Hill and I have sought to discover those things that keep you awake at night and disseminate relevant and up-to-date information and insights to facilitate HR professionals’ success in their multifaceted roles.

Perhaps like me, in your career you have worked with a number of MBAs who know a lot about academic theory, but perhaps not so much about how to work with people and apply their knowledge. I tend to agree with Henry Mintzberg, from McGill. In his book, Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development (2004), Mintzberg argues that the MBA curriculum teaches the wrong people, the wrong content at the wrong time. Undoubtedly, the HR profession has made great strides forward in the past twenty years, advancing the skills, knowledge, and credentials required by practitioners, increasingly enabling our field to be perceived as a true profession within organizations and amongst the general public. As HR professionals, we now have an opportunity to explore, reflect on, and shape the future of our profession.

The CHRP is firmly established in Canada as the entry-level designation to the HR profession. It is a sought-after credential that promises a certain level of recognized knowledge and ability. HR professionals require skills and knowledge that go beyond those offered in the CHRP. In its current form, I don’t think that the CHRP is sufficient; it does not, and can not, solely provide professionals with the level of competencies required in the field. Accordingly, I firmly believe that the HR profession needs to re-examine what qualifications HR professionals need to succeed and the ways in which they can achieve success. I am increasingly concerned that organizations spend a great deal of time and effort developing and promoting Mission, Vision, and Values, but stall when it comes time to articulate the Behaviours that are needed to support them. Time after time, in the IRC’s HR programs, we hear that Mission and Vision are well-documented and supported, but Values and articulated behaviours fall short, or may even be non-existent. This is a serious problem, the consequences of which we deal with on a daily basis in HR.

I am surprised with the number of organizations that continue to pour money into developing competency frameworks, but do not support the continued use and integration of those competencies into their corporate DNA. The result? Wasted effort. Please don’t misunderstand my argument. I am not against competency frameworks. In fact, I am a proponent of this vital tool. I am, however, opposed to the installation of competency frameworks with no plan to keep them current and inadequate resources to support them. Many, many installations fail for this reason.

I am a strong supporter of the work of David Ulrich from the University of Michigan and his work on HR competencies. I think this is solid research, and appreciate Ulrich’s pragmatic approach. Ulrich’s competency framework can be implemented to support HR leaders, in any HR unit, as they endeavour to support the development of their organization. Ulrich’s work is longitudinal, multi-national research that resonates across the HR profession and provides a link to the business side of what we do – a link that CEOs and Chief Executives so often say is missing from their HR staff.

There is some very interesting work being done on HR Governance, both in terms of the design of the HR function itself and the changing role at the most senior levels between the CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer), the CEO, and Board of Directors. The IRC has been working with Deloitte to publicize and promote the intensified exploration of HR Governance. Concerns about global issues influence us as HR professionals, regardless of what kind of organization we work for, as issues such as globalization, global warming, and sustainability move higher on the corporate agenda. In particular, younger employees are asking challenging questions of management, demanding higher expectations of their employers. HR frequently finds itself in a key communications and leadership role.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has been doing some excellent work. Representing approximately 130,000 HR professionals in the United Kingdom and Ireland, CIPD has, in recent years, completely redesigned their “HR Profession Map” (see: It is a fascinating look at another way in which the educational needs of HR professionals can be met. It has the unique advantage of articulating bands, or levels, of competence. Having drawn the conclusion that one size does not fit all, the CIPD has designed a challenging, but flexible, model that gives HR professionals (and specialists within HR) a plethora of opportunity to design their careers.

CIPD continues to conduct research on the impact of HR on organizations. Recently, CIPD published papers on the impact of downsizing on the UK public sector, and on corporate sustainability. It is the CIPD’s contention that HR is uniquely placed within organizations to provide insights that might otherwise be overlooked or forgotten, but are critical to organizational success.

Having been formed by the merger of the national training organization and the national personnel organization (an insight that has not been able to make its way across the Atlantic, except in Saskatchewan, a story that I don’t have time to discuss in detail here, unfortunately) the CIPD offers an extensive syllabus of programs at all levels to its membership. Viewing the additions each year to their catalogue provides a snapshot of hot button issues, as the CIPD moves to meet its members expressed needs.

CIPD has, for several years, been working very hard at the senior level of the UK government to gain support for their strategic initiatives. Recently this bore fruit, as the CIPD now is allowed to issue the designation of “Chartered HR professional.” As you are likely aware, this designation parallels historical developments in the accounting profession.

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) investigated the idea of licensing HR professionals in the 1990s, but abandoned it as simply being too complicated to implement across fifty-plus jurisdictions in the United States. Instead they have chosen to extend their PHR (Professional in HR) designation to an SPHR (Senior Professional in HR) and GPHR (Global Professional in HR). The SPHR includes 25% strategic content. It is not easy to earn a SPHR designation. The year that I wrote the examination, only 51% of those writing passed, and that included those writing for the second and third time. SHRM exemplifies the globalization of our profession, having offices and operations now in China and India (see: Thus, as we can learn about the HR profession in England by seeing the courses CIPD offers to its members, we can see the changes in the US HR landscape by looking at the SHRM website listing for HR disciplines.

As we all know, the pace of change is not slowing and the HR profession is being buffeted by global forces which influence us all no matter what our HR role, size or context of our organizations. Yet, it is a time of opportunity for all of us, and an exciting time. I am proud to be involved in the HR profession and optimistic about its future.

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