The Society for Human Resource Management says it may publish a final HR
standard on performance management as early as this month, just weeks after it
withdrew its proposed wide-ranging “Human Resource Indices for Investors”
standard under heavy pressure from business groups.
The new standard could come out in the fourth quarter of 2012 or first
quarter of 2013, SHRM spokesperson Jennifer Hughes said in an email to BNA Dec.
10. According to SHRM's website, the standard is “a proposed set of minimum
elements of a performance management system in three areas--goal setting,
performance review, and performance improvement plans.”
This is only one of a number of areas where SHRM is developing metrics, using
its accreditation as the HR standards bearer awarded by the American National
Standards Institute (30 HRR 529, 5/14/12). SHRM says it is awaiting the
institute's approval for the performance management standard.
SHRM announced Nov. 29 that in response to opposition in the business
community, it had withdrawn the proposed Human Resource Indices for Investors
standard (30 HRR 1322, 12/10/12). The standard was intended to help investors
evaluate the worth of a company's human capital. Some HR professionals
contended, however, that it would be burdensome to companies and irrelevant to
investors (30 HRR 621, 6/11/12).
Another HR standard that appears to be at an advanced stage, according to
SHRM's website, is titled “Workforce Planning--Basic Elements,” and is “designed
as a proposed minimum set of data analyses required to project future hiring
needs.” SHRM has made this draft standard available for a second round of public
Several other HR standards are listed as under development:
Description: The standard includes “common elements of every job such as
roles, responsibilities, supervision and authority as well as underlying
knowledge, skills, and experiences required.”
Resources Metrics Panel (Dashboard): A collection of widely used, basic
HR/labor metrics and measures.
Metrics Definition: “Minimum effective aspects of the definition of
SHRM also is working on diversity standards for ANSI. SHRM's planned
diversity standards are divided into three sub-topics: qualifications of the
lead diversity/inclusion professional, a collection of diversity metrics and
measures, and organizational diversity and inclusion metrics. In October, a
co-chair of SHRM's diversity task force said one of these three standards would
be released at the end of this year and the other two would be released early in
2013 (30 HRR 1174, 10/29/12).
But Hughes said that “the diversity-related standards still have to go
through at least one 45-day public comment period or, most likely, two 45-day
public comment reviews before public suggestions are incorporated and the
standards are submitted to ANSI for consideration.”
However, the same issues that created vehement opposition to the Human
Resource Indices from the business community, leading to its cancellation, are
still in play for all the other HR standards SHRM has in the works, if the
viewpoint of the HR Policy Association is anything to go by.
“We are very supportive of the use of HR metrics internally to support the HR
function, and many of our members develop metrics internally to develop the HR
function and advance the purposes of the company,” Tim Bartl, vice president of
the HR Policy Association, told BNA Dec. 10. “But these standards went far
beyond what we could support.”
There were three major grounds for concern with the Human Resource Indices,
Bartl said--their “one-size-fits-all” approach, which failed to take into
account the many differences between industries and individual companies; the
steep cost to companies of assembling the information that would have been
requested; and the prospective public disclosure of confidential internal
company HR information.
The latter aspect, unacceptable to the business community, was the Human
Resource Indices' entire raison d'etre, Bartl added. “The purpose was to
get this out in the public domain so investors could assess it. But we have not
heard from any of our members that investors are even looking for this
information. It's too detailed and not material to them.”
As for the standards still in the pipeline, Bartl said, “it would depend on
what exactly is proposed, but I think our members would be extremely wary about
disclosing this information. If it were guidelines for internal development [of
HR metrics], it would be a different matter altogether.”
He cautioned as well that much of HR is subjective, making the development of
purely objective metrics very difficult.