/ 8 November 2013

A history of people development

IPM Convention 2012 delegates.
IPM Convention 2012 delegates.

The Institute of People Management (IPM) is the first and largest of its kind in Africa, and has a rich and fascinating history.

Dedicated to providing knowledge and tools for strategic development of people and leadership and to contribute to growth, profitability and sustainability, the organisation has evolved into a vital and critical resource for those in the human resources (HR) industry.

“Isobel White would have been long forgotten in South Africa had it not been for her vision of the needs of personnel practitioners.

“Drawing on her understanding of the role of the IPM in Britain, of which she was a member, she set about urging practitioners in the Port Elizabeth area to meet on a regular basis.

“They drafted a constitution modelled on the British IPM and, in August 1945, became the first branch of the IPM in South Africa and an affiliate of the British IPM.” [IPM Archives]

White believed that personnel people needed to meet and share ideas to gain knowledge and to provide one another with mutual support as a means of improving skill and confidence in a new, but growing, field.

Through her tireless efforts the Johannesburg branch of the IPM was established in 1994 with Dr Francis Pinky Hill as the chairman.

Since then the organisation has produced thousands of HR professionals who have very competently managed the evolution of the HR profession in South Africa, and the majority of South African organisations have made the IPM diploma an essential requirement in their recruitment and selection processes.

The IPM has been a professional resource and leader for many HR practitioners from a variety of markets and fields, including people managers at all levels of the hierarchy, for many decades and it is ideally positioned to continue fulfilling this role well into the future.

The South African Board of Personnel Practitioners was established by the IPM to advance their strategic objectives and the organisation also played a significant role in the initial stages of the establishment of the South African Qualifications Authority (Saqa).

In 1999 IPM changed its name from the Institute of Personnel Management to the Institute of People Management because it repositioned itself in the market and focused more precisely on its efforts to provide knowledge, tools and best practice solutions in HR management for strategic people development and leadership.

The organisation’s commitment to human capital development in South Africa is still as steadfast and authoritative today as it was when it was established decades ago.

Today, the IPM is gearing itself up to become the portal to thought leadership in people management and a platform of professional association for all its stakeholders, including being the strategic partner of choice for the delivery of people management solutions both locally and continentally.

Within this context, the IPM has built partnerships with thought leaders in the industry to co-host high-level people management and capacity building programmes. These include:
• HR master class & HR academy
• HR metrics
• Remuneration programmes
• Patterson job evaluation
• Women in leadership conference
• HR directors leadership summit
• Roundtable and midterm human resources conference
• Strategic and tactical HR programmes

The IPM has also established relationships with organisations that are leaders within their fields of expertise so that they can run programmes that position HR practitioners as leaders, not only with regards to people management, but also in the arenas of business sustainability and global competitiveness.

In fact, the theme and sub-themes of the 57th annual IPM conference are tied in to these ideals as well as to the overall strategic objectives of the organisation as a whole.

This overarching organisational focus has resulted in some impressive affiliations.

These include the University of Michigan and the RBL Group, with whom they conducted the Global HR competency study led by Professor Dave Ulrich and his partners.

It was in 2012 that Saqa recognised IPM as a professional body for the purpose of the National Qualifications Framework Act, Act 67 of 2008.

Within the terms of this status the IPM now has to adhere to specific mandates. These are:
• To represent and regulate a recognised community of expert practitioners;
• Promote protection of the public by professional bodies from malpractice related to the fulfilment of the professional duties and responsibilities of professionals registered with the IPM;
• Promote pride in association for all professions;
• Develop professional designations to award to its members and the capacity to monitor and revoke them;
• To develop and implement a code of conduct;
• Demonstrate the capacity to institute a system of reporting and investigating alleged contraventions of its code of conduct;
• Demonstrate that it does not apply unfair exclusionary practices;
• Promote public understanding of, and trust in, the profession;
• Encourage international leading practice and the raising of professional esteem;
• Facilitate access to, and analysis of, data related to professions for the purposes of the NQF Act; and
• To support the development of a national career advice system

The IPM has, in all its efforts and planning, worked hard to participate in activities and programmes that bring thought leadership to the HR and business communities.

Today the IPM stands as a leading light for the industry and continues to strive towards excellence in HR, taking it to the next level and constantly adapting to changing markets and trends.

The annual conference, recently held at Sun City, is a prime example of how the IPM has encouraged the development of best practice, and provided both knowledge and tools for strategic people development and leadership.

It is through events such as these that the IPM maintains its position as a leader in the industry by providing relevance, context, networking, information and insight.

Challenging HR issues are dealt with in a forum that encourages participation, analysis and a passion for this dynamic and thriving industry.

This article forms part of a supplement paid for by the Institute of People Management. Contents and photographs were supplied and signed off by the institute