HR executives convene to set people standards for organisations

hr future

The quality assurance and HR professional body for South Africa, the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) has launched an initiative to generate people standards for business. But why exactly do organisations need people standards?

Marius Meyer, CEO of the SA Board for People Practices answers: “Other parts of the business like production, accounting and engineering have clear standards, while there is a total absence of HR standards. Although most HR managers are doing their best to ensure an effective HR function, they are doing so in a vacuum, given the lack of a common framework for people practices. For instance, while most organisations do some form of performance management, vastly different approaches and models are used to manage performance. And sadly, performance management is very poorly implemented at most organisations. Other HR functions such as learning, reward and labour relations are not exempt from these inconsistencies and variance in practice.”

To address the above problem, 130 of the top HR Directors will meet on 21 May to embark on a journey towards setting HR standards for South Africa. The standards are grouped into three categories:

  • Strategic HR standards covering a strategic approach to people management, including HR risk management and talent management;
  • Functional HR standards addressing the different HR functions such as recruitment and selection, learning, performance management, reward and employment relations;
  • Result-based HR standards focusing on HR service delivery and the measurement of HR success expressed in clear HR metrics.

HR Future magazine Executive Editor Alan Hosking has given his full support to this historic project: “Clear, formal HR Standards will take the practice of HR to a new level of relevance, excellence and credibility. This is exactly what HR needs in order to play its rightful role. The project will therefore be writing a crucial chapter in the history of HR in South Africa.”

Leon Steyn, HR Director at the TMS Division of the Bidvest Group added: “For too long HR professionals have been plagued by an array of guidelines and standards which were either borrowed out of desperation, imposed or not suitable. This HR standards initiative is an exciting step in the right direction and a breath of fresh air for all HR professionals. I support this idea whole heartedly and it is great to be part of this project.”

SABPP will generate 13 HR functional standards (for example for workforce planning, training, performance management and so forth), tangible HR metrics, as well as standards for integrated reporting. The latter project is an exciting development flowing from the King III Code on Governance for South Africa according to which companies should not only report on their financial bottom-line, but also on their environmental and social performance. SABPP will drive this process and stay in close contact with the HR community in ensuring that they are involved in the generation of the standards, as well as supporting them with the necessary capacity-building when applying these standards in practice.

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Siphiwe Moyo, chairman of SABPP, says: “This project is the most profound national HR project in South Africa ever. Setting proper HR standards for South Africa will not only raise the level of professionalism in HR, but will also improve the quality of people practices in organisations.”

More information about SABPP is available on Follow SABPP on twitter @SABPP1 for regular updates about the HR Standards project. Interested parties can contact SABPP Head of Professional Services, Sithembele Stofile on

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