The review of the HRM Standards thus far: PF Summit engagement

Earlier this year we formally began the journey to review the HR Management Standards. This followed the many deliberations on our approach to, and the process of, the review. We were attentive to how the COVID pandemic accelerated future trends we had on our watch lists. And we tracked how our South African and global contexts were evolving. We reflected on these in our various Fact Sheets and therein we also explored how we as a community of practice and profession were evolving.

The HRM Standards were developed to serve as the codified body of knowledge of good people practices for the HR profession and help define the professional identity and practice of HR practitioners. An important differentiation is made between good and best practices. The HRM Standards, and the System Model these Standards are encapsulated within, provide a framework as well as standard definitions and objectives for good people practices. It does not stipulate specific methods or particular set of industry best practices.

“The guidance in [the HRM System Model and standards are] intended to be flexible. The use of these guidelines can differ according to the size, nature and complexity of the organisation, as well as its objectives and scope in wishing to implement an HRM system” (Meyer and Penny, 2019).

We began the review of the HRM Standards in April of this year with a workshop. The attendees included various stakeholders: people who were originally involved in the formulation of the Standards in 2013, those actively involved with the Standards since their launch, certified Lead HR Auditors and HR Auditors, and other subject matter experts with some knowledge of the Standards. We deliberated on how we understand our evolving context and the place of the HRM Standards therein. We proposed a set of themes as a framework for understanding our evolving context and world of work. We also explored the definitions and objectives of the various Standards.

We consolidated the deliberations from the April workshop and outlined an approach to the review of the Standards. This year we will focus and consult on the strategic alignment Standard Elements and the HR Technology Standard Element given the changes in contexts, the world of work, and in the technology landscape. This will serve as the grounding for the review in 2023 of the Standard Elements of the HR architecture, value chain, and metrics.

At the People Factor Summit, held between 7th and 8th September, we deliberated on the following with the members of the HR community and achieved the below related outcomes:

Deliberations at the Summit Outcomes of the Summit
Review of the important changes in context.   Validation of the framework of themes to understand these changes. These are discussed further in the October 2022 Fact Sheet.
Review of the Strategic HRM (SHRM), Talent Management (TM), HR Risk, and HR Technology Standards. Validation of proposals on the revision of the definition and objectives of the strategic alignment Standard Elements. This included the expansion of the HR Risk Standard as HR Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Standard. Suggestions provided for the framing of the objectives of the HR Technology Standard Element.  
Review the need to be aspirational in terms of people well-being as well as practical in terms of where the organisation actually is right now and what its immediate challenges are   Validation of the proposals on people champion roles per Standard Element.  
Review the need to take into account the maturity of the HR management function in an organisation as well as the size, nature and complexity of the organisation   Validation of the proposed HR maturity model.

The various deliberations at the Summit will be consolidated and thereafter the revised SHRM, TM, GRC, and HR Technology Standards will be submitted for ratification. The revised Standards will be launched in February 2023. Thereafter, the HR architecture, value chain, and metrics Standard Elements will be reviewed. The engagement and consultations with the HR community will continue. This is in keeping with the spirit of the development of the Standards. That is, crowdsourcing will ensure the Standards are robust, relevant, and is owned by the South African HR Community.

We invite you to engage with the October 2022 Fact Sheet wherein we discuss the strategic themes of our evolving context. We invite you to be part of this important journey of reviewing the Standards and help sustain good people practices in the changing world of work. While we review the Standards, the present Standards remain as valid guidelines for the HR practitioner. This includes HR Audits where the SABPP audits organisations against the objectives of the Standards. A critical thread through the many discussions and deliberations as well as proposals is that the objectives of the Standards may not change drastically, but the application thereof will given the changing context and world of work.


Meyer, M., and Abbott, P. (2019). National HRM Standards in South Africa. Houghton: SABPP.