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Feature Article of Friday, 20 April 2012

Columnist: Senya, Kwasi Agyeman Manu

RE: VEEP Calls for Law to Regulate HR Profession

Delivering the keynote address on “Achieving Excellence in the HR Practice”, the Vice President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, minced no words in linking the numerous strike actions in the country to the lack of legislation guiding the practice/conduct of Human Resource Management Practitioners/Professionals in Ghana.

The Vice President launched his call on the premise that there are quite a lot of inefficient or obsolete approach to Human Resource issues in Ghana which could largely be laid at the doorstep of many institutions/organizations who engage people with little or no knowledge in Human Resource Management for reasons that are largely unfathomable.

Though the Vice President had a very good premise, his proposal was to a large extent misplaced or unnecessary considering the fact that the Labour Act sets the parameters within which an organization/employer or better still for the purpose of this argument the HR Professional ought to operate within. Also, Professional bodies such as the Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners (IHRMP) ought to have a Code of Practice/Ethics that will guide all its members. This will mean that the conduct of all professionals ought to be investigated over time to ascertain whether or not they are abiding by them. Professionals whose’ conduct goes contrary with the laid down code of practice will have their names struck out.

While this is being done, the Institute ought to embark on a sensitization campaign as well as a membership drive to ensure they get more Professionals/Practitioners registered under their umbrella. At the moment, most Professionals are members of either the US - based Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or the UK – based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Very few of the practitioners are members of both the foreign bodies and the IHRMP or just the IHRMP.

It is worth noting that both the US-based SHRM and UK – based CIPD are very proactive in terms of research and the changing face of HR Practice. Whiles they research and respond to the ever changing environment, a bulk of the practitioners in Ghana, as the Veep rightly acknowledged, do not have what it takes to manage HR let alone provide sound advice that would avert or reduce industrial actions to the barest minimum.

Finally, the management of people cannot be compared to the keeping or management of livestock. People are variable and difficult to predict. However, since the environment largely influences most of the conducts of people, a well-guided-proactive practitioner can engage and negotiate accordingly, to help avert the unprecedented number of industrial actions. Practitioners of the noble HR Profession ought to appreciate today’s sophisticatedly changing environment and respond to it accordingly. It should be noted that after coming at par with the trend, practitioners ought to continually develop themselves to make the delivery of HR in Ghana more proactive than it is now.

On the wings of industrial action upon which His Excellency, the Veep expressed his worry, it will be very important if the daily cost of industrial action in Ghana is made public. Nevertheless, the Vice President has triggered a call that needs a critical review and assessment. This paper has consequently identified the strengthening of the Professional body (IHRMP) through a proactive membership drive as well as the institution of an annually reviewable code of conduct/practice or ethics that will largely help weed out petty HR practitioners.

Source: Kwasi Agyeman Manu Senya Assoc CIPD

Email: kwasisenya@gmail.com Tel: 0204-624519

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