National project launched to create HR standards and metrics

The HR quality assurance and professional body for South Africa, the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), together with its strategic partner HR Future magazine, launched a project to generate human resource (HR) standards and metrics for South Africa. SABPP accredits HR learning providers and universities, and they register HR professionals in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework Act.

A group of 100 HR Directors recently met in Sunninghill, Johannesburg to steer this project in the right direction. The purpose of the project is to lead and assist HR Managers in generating standards and metrics for the HR function aligned to business strategy. HR standards are needed to set a standard and consistent way of managing HR functions and people in organisations. HR metrics refer to tangible measures that show the impact of HR on the bottom-line of the business. Standards are critical to drive professionalism and to achieve impact at the strategic level in an organisation. We have learned some hard lessons at Marikana, Medupi and other workplaces. It is now time to set the standard for sound people management in the workplace.

SABPP Chairman, Siphiwe Moyo says: “It is time for HR to rise to the level of other professions as far as standards are concerned. There are clear standards for accounting, engineering and other professions, but the same can not be said of HR. Accountants present their companies and clients with a consistent approach to the financial aspects of a company. For example, balance sheets and income statements are done in the same way, no matter the type of company or industry, and this consistent approach is prevalent throughout South Africa.”

HR Future Executive Editor Alan Hosking said, “There are many inconsistencies in the standard of HR work within organisations, between organisations, within and across sectors and nationally. These inconsistencies are based on a variance in standards at best, and the absence of standards at worst. This results in poor people management practices at most organisations costing them dearly, despite some pockets of excellence at leading companies.”

SABPP and HR Future will drive this process and stay in close contact with the HR community to ensure 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.

The SABPP HR Standards and Metrics project will focus on the following five phases:

  1. Creation of a Management System Standard to ensure that a sound framework is put in place to govern and manage the HR standards generation project;
  2. Generation of HR functional standards covering all HR functions (from recruitment to training to employment relations), including practice guidelines;
  3. Development of HR metrics to measure key performance areas of HR affecting the achievement of business goals;
  4. Infusion of HR in integrated reporting frameworks to ensure that HR is sufficiently covered in integrated reporting standards; and
  5. Design of a new CPD system and support system in building the capacity of HR professionals to apply HR standards and metrics based on a national HR competency model;

Moyo adds: “The successful completion of the first five phases as key building blocks for HR excellence will put us in a good position of ensuring that HR is positioned as a key strategic driver of business performance and sustainability. Already there is sufficient evidence that people practices and sound human capital management drives business performance and good governance. Moreover, at most companies labour cost is the biggest cost in business, and it therefore makes business sense to optimise people performance in order to achieve a return on the people investment and achieve business sustainability.”

Dr Michael Robbins from the UK, an international expert on standard-setting and risk management agreed to the lead facilitator of this project. Michael, who was also involved in the Investors in People Standard in the UK, shared his excitement about this project: “I am honoured to be part of this process and I want to congratulate SABPP for driving this project. If SABPP is successful with this project, they will be one of the top professional HR standards generating pioneers world-wide.”

SABPP CEO Marius Meyer said, “I want to thank all the HR executives who are already committed to this project as well as the 13 Standards Facilitators and eight professional bodies supporting the initiative. In particular, I must acknowledge the new SABPP Board for their enthusiastic support during the conceptualisation phase of this project.”

For more information about the HR Standards Initiative, contact the SABPP office on (011) 482 8595 or on email information about SABPP is available on

People who are interested to join SABPP for the National HR Standards Roll-out Conference on 20-21 August 2013 are welcome to contact SABPP on 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s