HR Standards and Audits strengthen your HR Management System
by Suran Moodley
Due to globalisation and the digital age, the adage that people are a business’s competitive edge has never been more relevant. While much has been written about the value and positive impact of HR Management, and one often hears business leaders state that people are their greatest asset the reality is that entrepreneurs and management don’t always express this sentiment behind closed doors. One often hears statements of “I don’t know what HR does”; “I hate dealing with people issues, HR must just sort it out”; “the labour laws are too strict”; “I don’t need HR, my payroll is outsourced” and so on. This is a manifestation of two major underlying issues:
- The HR Profession is still evolving from an administrative function to a strategic function and is not nearly as mature as other professions that have had a seat at the Boardroom Table a lot longer.
- There is a little uniformity in the education, training and development of HR Practitioners.
As a result most businesses and entrepreneurs face the risk of firstly not knowing what HR practices are required to support their business strategy and secondly what calibre of HR Practitioner is required to get the job done. The consequence is that business either does the bare minimum or nothing at all creating Human Resource Management related risk exposure. The solution lies in building a strong HR system for your organisation.
Human Resources is multidimensional. It involves Strategy, the Law, Finance, Marketing, Psychology, Technology and Customer Service. Expecting junior HR Practitioners or specialists to offer a total solution is often met with disappointment. This reality is often difficult to understand by the rest of the business. HR Practitioners are educated either in Industrial Psychology, Legal or Human Resource Administration. HR Practitioners that are true generalists are rare and the cost of having an individual of this calibre is often out of reach of most entrepreneurs and small businesses. The practical solution is to either over time assemble a team of HR professionals or partner with a company that specialises in Human Resource Management.
Since 2012 the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) has been consulting with business and has launched the National Human Resource Management Standards in 2013. These standards have since been adopted by numerous companies who have undergone certification audits since 2014. The HR standards apply to companies large and small. The benefit to business is that companies now have a framework to build and guide their HR practices. Viewing your HR Management practices as part of a system enables you to improving the quality of HR work. Moreover, now that the world’s first HR Auditing Framework against the standards has been developed, the opportunity has been created to strengthen the HR Management System in pursuit of organisational success. HR functions are now independently audited against the National HR Standards.
Business leaders empowered by an understanding of the National Human Resource Standards and supported by appropriate HR Practitioners are better able to translate their Business Strategy into a Human Resource Management System.
Suran Moodley, a Chartered HR Professional and Certified Lead Auditor is the Strategy Director at Ariston Global (Pty) Ltd. He writes for Entrepreneur Magazine. For daily updates on the National HR Standards follow SABPP on twitter on @SABPP1. The 4th Annual National HR Standards Conference will take place on 27-28 July 2016 at Vodacom World in Midrand. The programme and booking form are available from www.sabpp.co.za