In the next few years, businesses all over the world will probably see an accelerating need for improved HR management, learning facilitated talent mobility programmes, leadership development and reengagement of their workforces.  Finding the right talent and engaging employees in the right behaviours remain the critical ingredients of how organisations manage the uncertain and volatile economic conditions facing them today.

Talk about the need for change in this globally challenged work place environment, and even more so in a developing and emerging economy such as South Africa.

HR needs to move rapidly towards a business driven profile away from the traditional transactional workplace role of HR, driving the business model through talent management, business agility, globalisation and flatter organisations, and this imperative encourages a rethink of many traditional HR practices.  Moreover, the need for a new focus on HR governance and risk management is key.

Likewise, top management teams should embrace the people side of business.  You can not generate a single dollar or rand of profit without people. Hence, there is a need for a strong work- and people centric approach to doing business today.  However, this new approach requires a rethinking of current philosophy focusing on production and service only. First get the people side of business right and the rest will follow.

Leading practices include: continuous recruiting; continuous learning; continuous engagement; continuous management and feedback; and continuous recognition and rewards. These define a more agile model for HR. However, before we can drive leading practices, we need to get the basics right.

The adoption of professionally accepted HR standards for South Africa can help all South African organisations to move up the change curve more rapidly. Standards establish the good practice pathway for organisations to follow.

The 13 elements of the SABPP HR standard reflect the new direction, driving business objectives through effective and efficient workforce management.


Dr Michael Robbins from IMOR (UK) is the Chief Facilitator of the National HR Management System Standards Initiative driven by SABPP. Dr Robbins has been involved in standard development projects for the British Standards Institute.  He orientated the 13 local HR Standards Facilitators, and facilitated the standards-writing day on 21 May with more than a hundred HR Directors.  He will also be the key note speaker at the launch of the HR Standards on 20 August and will manage the second phase of the HR Standards writing process (i.e. developing the “how to” standards with clear guidelines for application in the workplace).


To view the full programme of South Africa’s HR Standards Roll-out, visit  To book your seat at the SABPP National HR Standards Roll-out Conference in Krugersdorp on 20-21 August, please contact

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