In 2006, nineteen prominent figures involved in business and HR were brought together by the Brussels Human Governance Commission. Their task was to design a charter based on ‘Human Governance to strengthen Corporate Governance’. The charter was first issued on 15 February 2007 and resulted in the first definition of Human Governance. It also contained nine clear recommendations for company directors and managers related to the introduction of People Governance into their own organisations.
The Board of Directors shall be responsible for initiating People Governance.
The Board of Directors shall provide both the expertise and the means for People Governance to be developed effectively.
Board Members shall be regularly informed about the adoption of the People Governance policy and shall attend appropriate training where necessary.
The Board of Directors shall publish a note containing guidelines related to Human Governance in the company. This note shall form the basis for further implementation.
The Board of Directors shall appoint a representative responsible for the development and effective launch of People Governance within the organisation.
The sixth recommendation relates specifically to the operational aspect of People Governance, including framework objectives, approval by the Board of Directors and a description of the minimum basic elements to be included in the plan.
The creation of a People Governance audit committee, to ensure that the plan, standards and objectives are respected.
The eighth recommendation specifies that People Governance shall not be a project managed by human resources but instead the method adopted by managers in governing the company.
The Board of Directors, together with the managers, will ideally choose to include a report about Human Governance in the company’s annual report (but this is not mandatory)
The Boards of Directors of the Partena Group were among the first to adopt (in 2007) the charter within their own organisation.
The commission’s founders felt the need to raise public awareness of the continuing and frequent misunderstandings among companies, namely how social and managerial practices are so often at odds with the words and intentions of the company’s directors.
The concept effectively triggered an ethical debate among managers and company directors. The three founders of the Human Governance commission subsequently decided to set up a more structured and sustainable initiative, namely a foundation dedicated to the concept.