Last day for National HR Standards Inputs

hr future

We have reached the end of a major milestone on the national HR standards journey, and that is the closing date for comments today. After a period of more than two years of engaging with HR professionals in all nine provinces, it is time to close the loop on the consultation process. HR Directors and other senior HR leaders generated the draft standards on 21 May. We consulted with the market for a further two months, and today (10 July) is the deadline for final comments. Today, the SABPP Labour Market Committee reviewed the Employment Relations standard element under the leadership of our Labour Market Committee Chairman, Siphiwe Moyo.

Professional business functions such as production, accounting and engineering have clear standards of practice. There is, however, a total absence of HR standards. Although 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, in some cases this might consist solely of a once a year, one-way discussion between manager and subordinate. As another example, induction for new staff can vary from a cursory introduction to colleagues to a systematic orientation to the organisation and the job. Other HR sub-functions such as reward and employment relations are not exempt from these inconsistencies and variance in practice.

A set of clear, formal standards for HR will set the minimum requirement for what is considered good HR management practice in any organisation.
From there, HR professionals can innovate and build more advanced practices to assist their organisation to achieve its strategic objectives.
These HR standards will take the practice of HR to a new level of relevance, significance, excellence and credibility. This is exactly what HR needs in order to play its rightful role. The project is writing a crucial chapter in the history of HR in South Africa.
We believe there is also a need to formulate some standards for people management, carried out by line management, but that is for the future. Our first responsibility is to set standards for HR.

This is a national initiative driven by the HR quality assurance and professional body, the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) and supported by leading HR journal HR Future.
HR Managers who still need to comment on the standards, can follow these general guidelines in commenting on the standards:

  • The HR Management System Standard (HRMSS) covers an overarching HR standard in terms of “what should be done” in the workplace. On 20 and 21 August the “how to” component in terms of practice guidelines will be developed by HR professionals. Therefore, commentators are requested to refrain from making any suggestions regarding the “how to” at this stage.
  • The HRMSS has been written by HR Directors and senior professionals focusing on the practice of HR in the workplace. Thus, no specific predetermined theories, models, frameworks and methodologies were used to influence the standard-generation process. Commentators are requested to consider the practice of HR in a real-life setting.
  • The HRMSS is a general national standard applicable on all organisations throughout South Africa. Hence the need to refrain from any industry or sector specific realities that are not applicable on all organisations, and the need to apply to all sizes of organisations from very small to very large.
  • The HRMSS must be written in simple and concise language so that all HR professionals, managers and business owners can understand it. Complex technical jargon should he avoided where possible.
  • The HRMSS must be to the point, therefore, each standard element may not exceed two pages.
  • Send your comments to the CEO of SABPP, Marius Meyer on by 10 July 2013.

HR STANDARD ROLL-OUT PROCESS (Click on the images to in-large it) 
The planning and preparation of the project has followed the following phases:



All inputs will be consolidated and the final document printed to be ready for the first National HR Standard Conference in August. The launch, Phase 6, is planned as indicated on the SABPP website (

image 2

All inputs will be consolidated until we are ready to print the final document to be ready for the launch of the conference. Says Marius Meyer, CEO of SABPP: “We already have 150 HR professionals registered for the launch of the HR Standards Roll-out in August. The response from the market has been overwhelming.”

The conference on the 20th and 21st August will, in addition to hearing case study examples from organisations that have good practices in each of the 13 Standard areas, work on implementation guidelines and will also consider how to align the Standards to the needs of different types of organisations such as small business and the public sector. HR leaders from top companies such as Massmart, FNB and Vodacom will present their case studies linked to the SABPP standard elements. Thereafter, the Standards will be worked up to include audit frameworks and checklists, so that organisations can evaluate their practices in relation to the Standards and make improvements where necessary.
Additional practice notes will be made available after this event, as well as tools for implementation. HR professionals will then apply the standard over the next three years, until its first review in 2017.

We will continue to provide you with regular updates about the project on the following communication platforms: Blog (, Twitter (@SABPP1), Linked-in, Facebook and website ( Should you require a personal visit to your office or presentation to your HR team, please contact us on or (011) 482 8595. We want to thank leading organisations that already accepted this offer, such as Netcare, Kumba and the City of Cape Town. Likewise, our HR colleagues in Zimbabwe have invited SABPP CEO, Marius Meyer to brief them about the South African standards.
We thank you for your comments and we look forward to launching and celebrating this historic achievement in August. As a community of HR professionals we are taking full responsibility for the quality of our HR work, and we commit ourselves to set the HR standard for all our colleagues to follow, engage and improve as we continue on the journey towards HR professional excellence.
We thank HR Future, and all participants and other interested parties for joining SABPP on the journey towards HR excellence in South Africa.

Contact details:

  • HR Standards Comments:
  • HR Standards Roll-out on 20-21 August:
  • Exhibiting at HR Standards Roll-out:
  • Social media updates:
  • Professional registrations:
  • Twitter: @sabpp1
  • Website:
  • Blog:

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