Be the change you wish to see

Back in 2014 there was something of a mind shift going on as we started to explore what changing the HR game might look like in New Zealand. And thanks to things like NZLEAD and the HR Game Changer conferences, like-minded people started to find each other and a community started to grow.

When I say “like-minded” I mean people committed to change, wanting to explore new ideas and raise the bar in HR.

Frustrations with the state of the HR profession in New Zealand led to the establishment of the Association of People Professionals, or APP for short.  We took our inspiration from NZLEAD, technology, social networks, collaborative practices, Reinventing Organisations and Simon Sinek. Not from Ulrich, hierarchies and long dead management theorists.

We wanted to be different. That’s why APP is an association rather than an institute. It is a collection of forward thinking people professionals (HR, talent, payroll, learning) who want to make a difference in their professions.

If you’ve been expecting a big hiss and a roar then forget it.  We are all volunteers and so have been working quietly away over the last year or so to put in place what we think we need from an association of this type. We are a collective of people who want to make a difference in our profession and in the organisations we work in.

Our starting point was to have chartered status for HR professionals in New Zealand. Why? Because we badly need to raise the level of performance, thinking and delivery in our profession.

Of course, HRINZ have also recently consulted their members on a chartering proposal but their draft framework doesn’t go far enough in my view and I question whether it is going to raise standards.

At APP we believe that being called a Chartered People Professional has to be earned. It has to come with credibility, excellence and a commitment to put back into the profession and business world.  It has to mean something special which is why our members are determining what the framework will look like and the bar is going to be high. We have to demand more of each other.

I often wonder whether today’s professional industry bodies and associated qualification frameworks are on borrowed time? I think perhaps they are unless they re-think their purpose.  What industry bodies traditionally provide – newsletters, a magazine perhaps, networking events, some professional development opportunities – all of these things are being rapidly superseded by technology and innovation. They need to re-think the services they are providing their members and how they add value to their industry/profession or they will simply die.

That’s why APP has to be different and why it will be. If it is something you think you might be interested in, check us out at It’s not much yet but it’s a start. With your help it could be so much more. And the beauty of it is, it’s a very simple model. It will be run by people professionals for people professionals very collaboratively. There will not be committees, bureaucracy, boards. All those things that represent traditional and outdated work structures.

Over the last few years one phrase comes to my mind time and again – be the change you wish to see.  That’s why I write a blog, mentor young people, run a meet up group, look for new ways of doing things and generally question whether what we do is making enough of a difference.

In my last post I talked about purpose. If you want a sense of purpose, a vision or whatever, that’s it right there – be the change you wish to see. That’s why it is important APP exists and leads by example.

Can we make it work? I really don’t know but we’ll give it a go. And if you are a people professional in New Zealand, be aware you now have a choice.

So talking of purpose, how good was it that NZLEAD won the NZ HR award for innovation last week? A community built from nothing but people’s passion and desire to come together to create change, but which has inspired and connected so many using social media as it’s platform. It just goes to show what a few like-minded people can achieve when they get together and collaborate.

So if you want to be better at what you do and make a difference, it’s time to step up and be that change.

7 thoughts on “Be the change you wish to see

  1. Nicole Williams says:

    Yes! A hundred times yes! I’m seeing the exact same thing happening in the marketing profession. Our industry body is puzzled why Wellington marketers aren’t interested in their expensive paid courses and networking events, the answer is simple, we have people walking the talk and running free learning events, networking groups and mentoring programmes. Industry bodies need to realise they’re about to be disrupted!

  2. hrmannz says:

    Fantastic to hear. I love marketing and would do that if I wasn’t in HR. I have long thought the marketing profession changes even more rapidly than the HR landscape and often wonder how people keep up. I avoided the dreaded D word but that is exactly what needs to happen and is. I got tired of bitching about the need for change. Best thing to do is just get on with it yourself and find others who get it.

  3. amandasterling says:

    I still don’t see the difference.

    How is an advisory board different from a committee?

    How are your volunteers different from HRINZ volunteers?

    Why would I need to pay to be a member of an association to access resources that I can get elsewhere for free?

    Why would I want to be chartered by an NZ association when I could go through CIPD chartering if I wanted? We are operating in a global world.

    How is it collaborative when the only opportunities to collaborate appear to be IRL? And who are we collaborating with? Who are these volunteers? Who, or what, is behind APP?

    Industry bodies traditionally provide newsletters. APP has a newsletter – which I cannot read on my Iphone!!

    Yes, I agree that there needs to be something different. But the APP can be easily replicated. Which is what HRINZ is doing. Have you just given them fuel to up the ante or are you really doing something different?

    Taxi to Uber, or just another taxi company?

    Anyway, that’s my contribution to demanding something better.

    1. hrmannz says:

      Amanda – I love your work you know that. You’ve made the point several times now that you don’t see how APP is different. That’s a shame. Perhaps you just aren’t looking closely enough, or your recent HRINZ award is clouding your vision 🙂 Of course you don’t need to be a member if you don’t see the value and that will make or break APP if we aren’t delivering that.

      Yes, you could get yourself chartered through CIPD but that would be doing it remotely and expensively. And if we are operating in a global world, does that mean we all have to use just one provider? Yes, I would love to see global HR standards but we aren’t anywhere near there yet.

      You know full well who is behind APP and who is involved and to suggest you don’t is somewhat disingenuous. It’s all on the website and they are largely people who have been involved in NZLEAD. Ultimately, I think it will be different. It has to be. Who knows, we may even sort our mobile enabling out in time! If another body end up replicating what we do, then we’ll take that as a compliment I’m sure. HRINZ did say they welcome competition but I think APP will attract different people. The last time I spoke to anyone senior there a couple of years ago chartering wasn’t on the agenda so perhaps we’ve already made an impact?

      You’ve walked away from NZLEAD and that’s fine. I respect that. But my question to you is what are you going to do to be the change now?

      1. amandasterling says:

        What I’m going to do to be the change? Continually ask annoying questions Richard ;-p

        Who is involved is not on the website. It used to be, but I cannot find it. Happy to be corrected on that.

    2. Lisa Hunter says:

      Hi Amanda
      We’re using Agile principles & colloboration to build APP. That means we don’t always get it right – we’re ok with that. The newsletter is available on the website & works just fine on my iphone. We adjusted our delivery after feedback!

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