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  • Writer's pictureFahad Khalaf

ISO Standards are not Standards

I and like others think that ISO standards are necessary requirements to achieve certain standards and practices. That is somehow correct, however, not totally accurate, and here is why. During our discussion with Lee Wester (bio mentioned below), he shared his thought about the new rollout of Human Capital Standards (30414). I wanted to understand more about the recent ISO Human Capital Standards as an HR professional and the way to implement them in any organization. One of the main questions is: what are the standards of the HCS and how can it be measured?

Example (1): As all of us know, there are baselines to achieve customer satisfaction which is around 90% in general. For example, for contact centers; they need to answer called within 30 seconds of ringing, and anything beyond that; their SLA will drop which will impact their overall quality rating.

Example (2): For the hospitality industry, they do have international standards on achieving guest satisfaction around xy%. The same is applicable to many industries. What I could not see are the standards and how to measure these standards.

Summarizing his response was: ISO Standards are not KPI’s and they are Guidelines with outlines. ISO creates the minimum baselines of guidance and outlines of certain topics and industries. So, if you are reporting or practicing less and below the minimum outlines, then you need to step-up your reporting, practices, and measures to meet the ISO Human Capital Standards as a minimum. These standards are not only for reporting, but it is also a guide for HR individuals and stakeholders to focus on the mentioned outlines as it has a huge impact towards the growth of the business from financials aspects either directly or indirectly.

The main question is: then where are the KPI’s? The answer is: there is none. The KPI’s must be set by the business/organization based on their current situation and what they are looking to achieve. One of the main key points also was mentioned on the podcast that I feel it is important to keep in mind that these outlines have a direct and indirect impact on the business performance either from saving cost, increase profit, increase employees’ performance, compensations, employee engagement, etc.… Someone from the organization will and have to take the responsibility of reporting, maintaining, and enhance the outcomes of the HR standards and metrics.

By default, it should be HR. However, if HR could not take the necessary steps or responsibility; then other functions such as Finance or HR-Fin will take over this responsibility as the custodian. And that will weaken the HR role in an organization. This why you do not see HR in the board roundtable or board meeting in some organizations. Because they do not feel that HR is adding huge strategic value besides being a service or cost center.

HR needs and has to step-up from its service role into being more strategic. Strategic means to be pro-active instead of re-active.

To listen to the Podcast, click the below link:

Lee Webster Bio:

  • Founder, International Service Standards Solutions – USA

  • Human Capital Expert and Thought-Leader

  • ISO Committee Member

Declaimer: the above is my point of view based on research, analysis, knowledge and not necessarily have to be final.


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