As a human resources professional with a financial/analytical background I admit to having a perpetual feeling of frustration for most of my career in the human capital analytics space. For many years even the most basic information was hard to come by - and somewhat suspicious in its accuracy and reliability when it was available. I remember one assignment I had while working for a large snack food company that attempted to quantify the total rewards cost versus revenue trend. In order to obtain the information required I had to play detective; there was no easy source for the information needed. And this company was sophisticated in its basic operations reporting! The results of this first-of-its-kind study were hard to believe. Not long after, the company went through a significant reduction in force in order to achieve a more sustainable relationship between these make-or-break metrics.
Over the past several years more and more attention has focused on human capital investments. And with good reason, as our economy has shifted towards services and technology sectors in which a significant portion of the asset base walks out the door each day. Yet, until very recently, companies large and small found themselves constructing in-house reporting tools that were frequently one-off in design, cumbersome to generate and maintain, and difficult to interpret. Plenty of data were available, but benchmarkable, actionable, easy-to-understand information was still hard to come by.
Until now. In articles published in the last couple of years, the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”) and the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) have both released broad ranges of metrics designed to capture and standardize human capital management information and reporting. Each organization’s metrics are grouped into major categories with 60 to 70 metrics apiece. (Definitions are similar but not identical; companies would be well advised to consider both data sets and select those metrics which provide the most actionable information based on organizational specifics.) Major categories include workforce planning and staffing, talent management, total rewards, employee relations, risk management, diversity and productivity, to name a few.
The next challenge is to efficiently compile and distribute a company’s metrics in a way that enables managers to take timely, decisive actionAt least one HR engagement and business intelligence platform company is producing an intuitive, web-based human capital intelligence dashboard modeled after the most significant metrics recommended by both SHRM and ISO. (No doubt there will be more firms with similar offerings in the future.) These dashboards achieve the objective of quantifying human capital investment impact while highlighting opportunity areas in an easy-to-grasp high level “speedometer“ format - in addition to providing the underlying detail in a hierarchical view of customizable charts, graphs and data tables. Simple, configurable, understandable. A true leap forward in the human capital analytics space. (If only I had had access to such a toolset in my prior life!)
Richard J. (“Rick”) Lueders is Vice President Business Strategy for Bullseye Engagement, a provider of leading-edge, web-based talent development, engagement and business intelligence tools. He is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with 30+ years global experience in all aspects of compensation, benefits, and human resources systems. Rick has worked for and with companies such as PepsiCo, Inc, United Technologies Corporation, DTE Energy Company, Hewitt Associates and The Hershey Company. He is a frequent speaker at national human capital conferences and seminars.