Standards for people management

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Standards build upon the philosophy that valuing people is the cornerstone of organisational performance

In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment people remain the most potent force in ensuring that their organisations not just survive but also thrive. Therefore how organisations nurture and cultivate the best from the people who work for and with them is imperative. A growing body of evidence suggests that when organisations demonstrate that they value their people, people in turn will prove their worth. The BS76000 Valuing People Management System epitomises this important idea.

Why do we need standards for people management?

The need for people management standards reflects a number of complementary and disruptive developments. Firstly, effective people management practices are widely recognised as the basis of organisational success. This is complemented, secondly, by the growth of people management principles, models and frameworks that provide guidance in how to manage and develop a workforce. However, thirdly, this is in contrast to the developments of globalisation, the rise of non-Western countries as economic powerhouses, growing cross-cultural exchanges, Brexit, and the growing influence of the gig/ sharing economy that continues to disrupt organisations prompting reflection and resulting in a rethink of the way they manage their people.

People management standards reflect these varying trajectories; they build upon the philosophy that valuing people is the cornerstone of organisational performance, they contain established useful and effective practices, and they provide a platform for organisations to further innovate and develop tailored practices to suit their own contexts. The standards draw upon the expertise of a broad group of panel members from private, public and voluntary sectors, and from consulting with interested stakeholders across the UK. These standards identify threshold people management principles for businesses to put into practice.

How does this standard affect the industry?

While the differences in people management practices across different sectors and industries are necessary, standards help to identify and promote core practices that are useful and effective. A national standard in people management supports organisations from diverse industries in developing a shared vernacular, which could assist in future initiatives such as benchmarking. A common understanding through the standards may also accelerate innovations in people management, and even business models, because the standards enable more efficient cross-fertilisation of ideas and practices. These standards help organisations in their progression and maturity in people management practices. Finally, these standards provide line managers and early career human resource management professionals a practical guide in valuing people specifically through diversity and inclusion, and learning and development.

Diversity and inclusion

The BS 76005 code of practice provides a holistic framework for organisations to maximise value from diversity and inclusion. This standard offers an end-to-end guide from the point of job advertisement all the way to retirement and succession planning, from top management to external stakeholders. This standard goes beyond the Equalities Act’s protected characteristics and is aimed at organisations that aspire to have diversity and inclusion as part of their strategic journey.

Learning and development

The PD 76006: A Guide to Learning and Development is for organisations of any size from any sector. The guide is written for managers and is designed to stretch businesses in developing and optimising their learning and development environments. Specifically the guide is a ‘roadmap’ that helps organisations to prioritise learning and development initiatives, identity innovation enablers for learning and development, and evaluate learning practices.

The UK: Leading through our expertise

BSI’s drive in developing people management standards is aligned with ISO’s work in this field through its Technical Committee (TC) 260 on human resource management. Five standards have been published under this committee with 12 other standards under development. The UK will continue to play a pivotal role in providing expertise in all specialisms across the people management field.

Mark Loon is chair of the UK/ BSI Mirror Committee

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