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The thoughts, praises and criticisms continue to come in over the planned HR standards being developed in part by SHRM. Below is a view from outside the USA bubble.

Personnel Today, a human resources media company in Britain, has published their thoughts on the proposed ANSI HR standards — from across the pond.

“Bureaucracy aside, is measurement generally not a good thing in terms of HR showing it can add value? ‘The thing about human capital management is that organisations choose the measures that matter to them,’ says Bird.

Kearns agrees that a simple metric does little to enlighten organisations about their HR practice: ‘Cost-per-hire is just the average cost of recruiting someone. It does not tell you whether that person is of sufficient quality to do their job effectively. Nor does it tell you anything about their subsequent performance.’

The CIPD would be in favour of standards that were more based on principles, says Bird. ‘That way you could pick what was important to your organisation. The CIPD’s profession map encourages people to look at how HR adds value to the organisation, but it’s an aspiration, rather than a straitjacket.’ Of course, all standards are voluntary – organisations can be accredited in them and be registered as meeting them – but the worry is that they could become a requirement or an expectation by stealth.

Evidence shows, however, that adopting and implementing quality standards can have a positive effect on business. A study by the Department of Trade and Industry found that standards as a whole make a value contribution of £2.5 billion to the UK economy, and that the quality management system standard, ISO 9001, has been adopted by more than one million organisations in 178 countries.

‘[Standards] have been shown to benefit businesses in many areas, by helping them embed best-practice frameworks and processes into the way they work, be that reducing risk, behaving more sustainably or performing more efficiently and effectively,’ says Walton.

The ISO’s meeting on the cost-per-hire standard will coincide with the World Federation of People Management Associations’ annual conference in Melbourneat the end of September. In the meantime, HR professionals interested in voicing their opinion on the development of standards should get in touch with either the CIPD or can contact Walton direct. ‘The more the UK can do at this stage to influence the development of these proposed new ISO standards, the better,’ concludes Walton.”

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