Three months ago, I began searching for a professional community to join.  After researching the City of London and livery company traditions, I wondered if one represented Human Resource (HR) interests.  I found exactly what I sought in the "Company of HR Professionals".

Chronology of the "Company"

  • 2014, initial approval by the Court of Alderman
  • 2015, formal establishment as the "Guild of HR Professionals" (Step 1)
  • 2022, became the "Company of HR Professionals" (Step 2)
  • 2026/28, aspiration to become a livery company (Step 3)

The critical difference between a livery company and a professional institute (such as the CIPD) is that an institute develops careers, and a livery company is about community.  A livery utilises its members' skills to support broader society through pro bono activities, philanthropy, and events.

Objectives of the "Company"

  • Promote and advocate the HR profession
  • Help people into and through the HR profession
  • Offer personal growth through shared occupational beliefs and community
  • Promote ethical business practices to support the individual, organisations, relevant sectors, and the City of London

As is tradition for livery companies, the "Company of HR Professions" has two levels of membership: a Freeman, those with established influence in the world of HR, and an Apprentice, those still acquiring knowledge.  Membership is considered to be permanent.  On 21st September 2022, I applied to join.  After some correspondence, a phone call, and a meeting of the Court on 28th November 2022, I was formally accepted and invited to become a Member of the "Company of HR Professionals".

Opportunities of Membership

  • Be part of the history and traditions of the City of London
  • Be part of the wider Livery world and enjoy the opportunities of wide and varied groups of organisations focused on giving back
  • Fellowship with senior/experienced HR professionals and those working in the ‘people’ domain
  • A safe space for reflection and ideation with other senior members of and contributors to the HR profession
  • Help foster a sense of community and fellowship with a diverse range of colleagues
  • Provide or receive mentoring/coaching from fellow members
  • Opportunity to participate in pro-bono and charitable activities, including the awarding of HR-related grants
  • Unique social events in some of the City of London’s grandest buildings
  • Ongoing professional development support
  • Share your specific skills and expertise with the broader community

Although I qualified for Apprentice status, places were limited, and I did not have the required experience for Freeman status.  However, my gumption, experience, and passion for the people profession persuaded the Court of Assistants to offer me Member status.  I acknowledge this as a prestigious and unique opportunity.

Expectations of Membership

  • Active attendance at events
  • Support the Charitable Trust
  • Encourage others to join
  • Give back through pro-bono activity, mentoring, and coaching
  • Engage in the Leadership programme to share knowledge/expertise
  • Contribute to the legacy and growth of the Company
  • Keep participation non-commercial

This is a fantastic development and offers the possibility of becoming a Freeman with additional experience.  To be connected with my peers in the people profession and the opportunities this affords is incredible.  The next stage will be to make my declaration in 2023.  I cannot think of a better way to close 2022 and begin the New Year.

Sources:  Company of HR Professionals

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