Oct 14, 2010

What does Evidence Based HR mean

I came across this interesting blog by Paul Kearns which draws inspiration from Evidence Based Management and says that evidence based HR and practitioners like HR Business Partners who work according to Evidence Based Management principles in HR (see the case for EB-HR here) would impact traditional HR systems and discontinue them.

This is spelt out in the blog post Up a creek without a paddle?
They then inevitably want to question, and eventually dismantle, the crumbling edifice that is the typical HR framework of: -

Job evaluation and grading – plenty of evidence to show it is often a rigid and expensive way of managing rewards that does not produce the highest performance levels possible

Engagement surveys – they realise the theory behind the employee-customer profit chain is suspect and the links between engagement and performance are never as simple as it suggests

Competence frameworks – because, apart from the specious theory that produced this industry – in practice, quite frankly, anyone with any common sense always knew they were going to become a bureaucratic nightmare without any evidence of added value

Performance management – until they are confident that the measures being used actually measure value

Leadership development – however attractive it might sound there is no common definition of what effective leadership means and therefore no evidence can be produced to say that effective ‘leadership’ has ever been achieved

Of course, none of this accords with their non-business-partner, HR Directors’ expectations who, over recent years, blithely followed Ulrich’s lead (correlative, as opposed to evidence-based), which spawned a commonly-held view that there had to be a shift in focus from HR transactions to strategy and that this required steady-state, continuous developments in HR’s role. What they failed to realise was that properly trained, evidence-based, HR BP’s are taught that this shift actually represents a discontinuous, seismic shift in the paradigm on which strategic HR is predicated.

So what do you think? As a HR professional are you ready to embrace evidence based HR? If you do, how will that impact your career? Will your boss glare at your suggestion that you should discontinue Leadership Development?

Leave your comments below - or links if you want to blog about it.