HRINZ calls in lawyers over new HR entity

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The creation of the Chartered Human Resources Institute (CHRI) in New Zealand has led the Human Resources Institute (HRINZ) to enlist legal help to stop the new identity from using words that HRINZ CEO Chris Till says creates “market and brand confusion”.
“When we heard the recent public announcement of a new HR institute called the 'Chartered Human Resources Institute' we were concerned about the implications this name may have for HRINZ," Till says. "With the words 'human resources institute' as a key part of both names, confusion would inevitably be created and it would become difficult to differentiate between the two organisations, particularly in the wider business and public arena. Additionally, as you will be aware, HRINZ is often referred to by many simply as the 'Human Resources Institute'.”
HRINZ – which has been operating for more than 40 years – has written to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies, the Charities Commission and the Companies Office, objecting the use of the name ‘Human Resources Institute’ on the grounds of its similarity to the name of HRINZ. Additionally, the institution, through its barrister, has also sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to CHRI, requiring them to discontinue their use of the name within 14 days.
“We hope this solves the problem,” Till says. “I would emphasise that we do not wish to be heavy-handed and we don’t want to frustrate competition. It’s a free country so of course they can do it. The core issue is with the use of the word chartered, which has a particular requirement, and then the other three words because that is how people refer to us. It creates market confusion and brand confusion.”
“If someone set up a new rugby team and they called themselves the Professional All Blacks, what would you expect the All Blacks to do?”
Till also wonders whether a country of 4 million people with eight to 10,000 HR professionals needs two separate institutes. “We’d be better together. That route is still open, we wish to be a broad church,” Till adds.

The Chartered Human Resources Institute was not available for comment.
  • Amanda Sterling on 16/09/2014 9:49:55 a.m.

    If there was no intention to be heavy handed then why not pick up the phone / email and have a chat about the potential confusion? It might also be of interest to readers to participate in the discussion abut the CHRI name here – I don’t even think the name is appropriate

    And, can I just add, that we do have a community of HR practitioners in NZ that is separate from HRINZ – it’s called NZLEAD. We have about 3,000 people involved globally. I have tried working with HRINZ to complement what we were both doing but continually came up against hierarchical and old-fashioned ways of working. To work together does not mean that you suck us up into the megalith, it means treating groups of people as equal and, sometimes, separate entities.

    Perhaps it’s time for HRINZ to downsize, focus on policy and procedural HR and support the forward thinking of an organistion like CHRI (or whatever it ends up being called). That would be true open mindedness.

  • Steve Punter on 15/09/2014 8:28:37 p.m.

    I'm concerned that the formation of a new body will simply cannibalise the existing one and create 2 weaker bodies from the existing strong one. I've been a member since the days when it was IPM and served on Branch Committees and National Council (now called the Board) for the maximum allowable terms too. Professional membership was created during that time and IMHO has done a good job.
    My suggestion is that instead of competing for the finite existing membership pool, interested parties should join HRINZ, earn their 'stripes' through involvement and contribution, and agitate for change by selling their ideas inside the democratic process. If those ideas have worth and merit in the eyes of the majority, they will get the change they desire, and the organisation will be stronger for it.

    I don't think NZ is big enough for 2 HR institutes and I think all that will be achieved is damage to one and a 'fizzer' for the other.

    We have a new Exec Director in Chris Till and I think people should wait and see what that new combination of Board/Chris will do.



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