IHRM Begins Crackdown On Bogus HR Professionals

    IHRM council chair Elijah Sitimah speaks at the press conference

    Requirement for practising certificates by January 2017 will leave many consultants and HR officers jobless

    Thousands of human resources professionals could find themselves jobless in January as the industry’s regulator moves to enforce a new law that requires them to register and acquire practising certificates.

    The Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) on August 23, 2016 warned that practitioners who do not register with it by end of the year will not be eligible to practise either as consultants or employees. IHRM Council chairman Elijah Sitimah says those who breach the rules – including employers who engage uncertified human resources officers – will be prosecuted.

    IHRM, the industry regulator for human resource professionals in the country, has taken a tough stance after it emerged that only a small fraction of HR practitioners had registered and, indeed, acquired the mandatory licences almost three years since the Human Resource Management Professionals (HRMP) Act 2012 was operationalised.

    Speaking during the launch of the upgraded IHRM website that automates registration and other processes ahead of the January deadline, Mr Sitimah revealed that just over 5,000 professionals had registered out of which only 859 have been issued with practising certificates. “This is a sorry state given that there are about 25,000 human resources professionals practicing in Kenya,” he said. “I see a lot of HR managers falling off their employment.”

    IHRM, he added, is carrying out an audit to identify practitioners and employers who have not complied with the Act for possible prosecution from as earlier as January 2017.  “All those practising as HR professionals should take necessary steps of complying with the Act before the law catches up with them,” he said.

    In what is seen as a tactical move to compel HR professionals to comply, the IHRM has urged Kenyans to deal only IHRM practitioners. This will kill off business for consultants and lock doors for those looking to be employed, while leaving those in employment with no option but to comply or get fired.

    “We advise Kenyans to only engage the services of the slightly over 5,000 professionals listed in the Institute’s website and whoever his/her name does not appear in the website and yet purports to be offering HR services should be reported to the Institute for action,” said Mr Sitimah, who was accompanied by other council members.

    He said the Institute is engaging employers to have them observe provisions of the Human Resource Management Professionals Act by engaging the services of only those in its register or else risk prosecution for conspiring to violate Section 40 and 41 of the Act.

    The Institute has established a compliance office to deal with the HR professionals.  He said the IHRM website offers a platform of weeding out bogus HR practitioners who have flooded the HR sector. “This is the second phase of the wider infrastructural strategy the Institute is putting in place to deal with unqualified HR consultants masquerading as professionals to the detriment of unsuspecting Kenyans,” he said.

    He said the move will affect both public and private sector, noting that there was particularly slow response from the national and county governments. Mr Sitimah, who was elected Council chair last year, talked tough, saying that those who will be found practicing without IHRM certification will face prosecution, which would lead to a fine of Ksh200,000 or a jail term of two years or both as provided for under the Human Resource Management Professionals (HRMP) Act 2012.

    He said the move is geared at streamlining the profession and enforcing the new code of conduct.  He said IHRM certitification will supplement efforts of the Ministry of Labour in dealing with rogue recruitment agencies through the recently published regulations aimed at taming these mischievous agencies.