‘I want to be an evidence-based practitioner but I don’t know where to start’ is a comment I’ve heard a few times. So here are three occasions when you can introduce evidence-based management principles into your practice.
1. When HR Project Planning
When mapping out a HR project, build in time for accurately defining the issue that you believe you need to solve, and factor in sufficient time for research. This will allow you to work towards achieving step 1 and 2 of the 6 steps outlined by CEBMa as part of applying evidence-based practice to your work. Please ensure you factor in sufficient time, and don’t pay lip-service; this step completed correctly is like setting an anchor which will keep your project focus firmly in the right place.
By accurately defining the issue you have a greater chance of researching, identifying and evaluating your solution. By building in research time it will encourage you to meaningfully seek out evidence to help you address the issue that you will have by now, more accurately defined.
2. When Procuring HR Technology
The magpies amongst our community whom love to pounce on shiny things can be bowled over by the functionality of new technology, but is the technology exactly what’s needed and is there any demonstrable evidence in existence of where that particular technology has addressed the issues that the consumer is facing? A snappy presentation and stand at a HR tech conference does not mean that what they are selling, is what you need to buy.
All businesses are different, and so the context of our issues are often different. Like for like solutions are unlikely to exist and off-the-peg software that worked for one business, may not work for yours. Show discernment and look for the evidence. Question the suppliers, ask for a list of some of their other customers that might be comparable customers, and seek out customers independently.
3. When Working To Establish People Development Solutions
In HR we tend to support line managers with identifying learning and development solutions for individuals within their teams where a requirement is believed to exist. This is a great opportunity to use evidence-based practice.
Again, you can spend time accurately defining the need or issue that is believed to require support, and use a range of different sources to obtain possible learning solutions. From that, you can also use scientific evidence to identify whether any meta-analysis has been conducted to assess the suitability of the learning solutions that you’ve identified.
Lots of great evidence already exists that critically assesses learning solutions and determines what parameters made those solutions successful and unsuccessful. But as always, don’t just take the evidence at face value. Step 3 of the 6 steps is about appraising the evidence that you’ve obtained, and that applies to all evidence. Scientific or academic research requires just as much scrutiny as any of the other evidence obtained. Science For Work do great stuff in this field.
I hope this is helpful to you. Let me know how you get on.