Standards are accepted as a defining characteristic of a profession. The path to standardization is long, winding and ambiguous. Finding consensus about the nature of HRM/D remains a challenge. In 2011 an ISO committee to work towards an international standard for HRM was established. However, to date no International standards for HR have been developed and agreed. In 2013 A BSI ‘mirror committee’ to work towards a British standard for HRM was formed and which, if successful, may pave the way for an international standard to come into being. Represented on the Committee are both the CIPD and the UFHRD. A draft British Standard BS7600 has now been released for public consultation. Its title is “A Management System for Valuing People in Organizations”. Its draft scope is outlined below.
This British Standard specifies high-level, strategic requirements for a management system for valuing people within an organization to enable an organization to manage and develop its people, manage related risks, and improve its people strategy and performance. NOTE This standard does not require the creation of an entirely new management system for valuing people within an organization. Its requirements are applicable to elements of other strategies, processes and systems relating to the governance, deployment and development of people.
This British Standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to:
a) establish a strategic management system to plan, improve and realize the intrinsic value of people under its control; and
b) implement, maintain, review and continually improve a strategic management system that addresses the value of people.
The requirements of this standard are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations (or parts thereof), regardless of type, size, nature and complexity of business, and whether in the public, private or voluntary sectors. The extent of the application of these requirements depends on such factors as the organization’s strategic policies addressing the value of people, the nature of its activities and the risks and complexity of its operations. This standard does not specify performance criteria or prescribe operational processes or procedures, such as employee recruitment, performance management or sickness absence.
The establishment of a standard for HR has the potential to affect all professions whose role involves the management and development of people. For organizations there may be implications for HR policies, practices and procedures. Within the HRD profession there are implications for what gets taught on professional courses as well as for what constitutes ‘ethical practice’ and professional conduct. The potential impact upon on the CIPD’s professional HR curriculum is significant.
Rick Holden (IFTDO)
Valerie Anderson (UFHRD)