Evidence based management in HR



Read time
3 mins


Management and HR decisions should be based on a combination of critical thinking and the best available evidence. In today’s content-rich world where we ‘Google’ everything it’s easy to find several ‘best practices’ for achieving the same goal.

Although there may be merit in a number of possible solutions to a problem, evidence-based practice dictates that fads, trends and our own cognitive biases be put aside in favour of evidence from robust research and verified data along with our own individual expertise when making HR decisions.

Evidence-based practice traditionally consists of three basic principles:

  • The best available research evidence
  • Expertise
  • Preferences and values

Using hard facts, statistics and internal business information to make better-informed decisions seems common sense to most, however, it’s imperative to have accurate data in the first place, which is something that is often assumed but may not be the case.
Decisions that can affect your business and its employees should not be based on guesswork or less than accurate data. It’s more important than ever to ensure that your HR software is provided by experienced HR professionals who can advise on best practices where your people data is concerned.

Where to start

Recruitment is typically a great place to start using evidence-based management. This area is always included in research and there’s a large amount of data available to work with.

Results can be seen quickly enabling HR to learn and adjust their processes accordingly.

Other areas in which HR can utilise EBM (evidence based management) include absence management, employee wellness initiatives, engagement or advocacy strategies.

The main benefits of evidence-based human resource practice are:

  • More informed and effective decision making
  • An enhanced ability to align human resource practice with the strategic goals of the organisation
  • HR policy and practice can be based upon what works, rather than what is thought to work
  • Improved credibility for the discipline of human resource practice and for practitioners
  • A more analytical approach based on existing information, data, analytics and statistics already likely to be held within the organisation or sector
  • More consistent decision-making and interventions
  • Effective management of risk

Source: HRBod

“_ defined as management approach that entails those organisational practices and managerial decisions that are practiced based on scientific evidences. Leaders of the organisation take initiatives to build evidences in order to employ culture of systematic accumulation, data gathering and functioning for effective problem-solving”

Source: (McGoldrick, Stewart and Watson, 2004)

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