Does a HR Standard have to be long and complex?

One of the dilemmas when creating HR standards is the battle between simplicity and complexity. The South African National HR Standards are relatively simple, conveying the main messages for each standard on one page. The Cost-per-hire (U.S.) standard runs to 43 pages, the recent Workforce Planning Standard (Australia) for 31 pages.

In addition, 99% of organisations have less than 100 employees – we shouldn’t develop standards just for the 1%. The main problem here is that HR content contributors usually work for larger organisations.

So the challenge is out there: summarise the key information requirements of a HR Activity in an informative, readable way – that also articlulates “what we can expect to see”.


Industrial Relations Standard

Strategic Objectives:

  • To maximise long term organisational, team and individual performance outcomes by creating and maintaining a productive working environment, noting the influence this will have on delivering a superior customer experience.
  • To recognise and minimise the negative impacts of direct and indirect industrial grievances, complaints and disputation (adapted from Dolenko).
  • To recognise that employees and the employer may have both complementary and sometimes competing interests (Dolenko) [a pluralist perspective].
  • To successfully negotiate workplace terms and conditions in an environment free from: the abuse of power, discrimination, bullying and harassment.
  • To consistently resolve workplace disputes in a timely manner at the lowest possible level, through appropriately staged interventions.
  • To recognise the role, influence and effect of third parties in the employment context.

Operational Objectives:

  • To provide a (robust) framework for conflict resolution (SABPP)
  • To recognise and accommodate the operational role of staff representatives in industrial matters.
  • To promote the effective communication and exchange of information on workplace issues through appropriate communication and consultation, undertaken at the right level and at the right time (adapted from Dolenko).

Compliance Objectives:

  • To meet the mandatory compliance requirements found in employment law, wage and salary regulations, and other relevant sources.



1. Can we simplify this further?
2. What have we missed?
3. What outcome-based measures and metrics follow from each statement?


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