HR Standards, HR Performance Auditing and Evidence-Based HR

HR Standards typically address these related issues:
  • A HR Framework that holds each element of the whole together.
  • HR Standards, based on ‘what we expect to see.
  • Standards written with an outcome focus, to enable performance evaluation.
  • Standards developed with a particular level in mind (national, industry, organisational, operational).
  • An expectation that [repeated] evaluation will occur in relation to the HR standards.
  • The design of HR Standards should be consistent between individual, organisational, professional association criteria, and educational curriculum. This synergy can be seen in the direct links between SABPP competency models, HR Standards addressing activities, evaluation by HR auditors, and content from teaching & research universities.

HR Standards and Performance Evaluation

An independent evaluation model has been demonstrated in case studies to improve both the performance of HR and the recognition of the contribution of HR professionals (see for example, the SABPP Case Studies on HR Auditing). Evaluation can be conducted in different ways: internal management assurance, external management assurance, internal audit assurance, external audit assurance etc.
For a performance evaluation undertaken by a HR Auditor there is the inevitable question: when do I have enough evidence to support my findings? And: do I have enough evidence to dismiss the alternative or competing explanations?  Audit professionals are trained in evaluation techniques and in how to decide when enough evidence is collected. Evidence based practice could assist this process.

Evidence Based HR

Evidenced based HR is a decision making process combining critical thinking with use of the best available scientific evidence and business information (Rousseau & Barends 2011). The links between HR Standards, HR Performance Auditing and Evidence based HR are less than clear but some obvious connections can be found:

  • In establishing the HR framework we can draw on literature reviews, research papers, practitioner knowledge, systemic reviews, current technical practise, journal articles, surveys, polling, and a host of other sources of evidence.  These will need to be critically appraised to help us to determine the final design of the framework.  So evidenced based practice has a role to play here.
  • For each HR activity or connection in the framework – ‘what we expect to see’ can be informed by evidenced based HR practitioners.
  • Evidence relevant to each level of Standards (national, industry etc) can be informed by evidenced based practice.
  • Evaluation:  the choice of methodology and the elements of each methodology can be informed by evidence based practise.

Despite the potential, evidence-based HR is currently (late 2015) only a moderate priority for HR practitioners: https://home.kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2015/06/evidence-based-hr-highstakes-moderate-priority.html

How else might evidence-based HR contribute to the development of HR Standards?

Email your thoughts to: candrews@staff.bond.edu.au