Monday, 6 August 2007

Talking metrics and people evaluations is not enough

This is letter of the month in August's Human Resources, responding to their coverage of Deloitte's survey Aligned at the top which I have already covered in a previous post:

Last month’s magazine rightly drew attention to the huge disconnect between the opportunities inherent in a strategic approach to people management, and the current focus of many HR functions.

Your editorial noted that HR should be working closely with the MD to jointly agree the people management agenda but this clearly is not happening. In fact, the research you referred to indicates that only 19% of executives in Western Europe agree that their HR teams play a crucial role in strategy formulation and operational success.

For me, this is the most important point in the research. If HR is not involved in developing an integrated business / people management strategy, then it is never going to have a strategic role.

However, I don’t agree with what seems to be your conclusion that HR needs to start talking business, demonstrating it contribution to bottom-line value. Well yes, of course HR does need to do this, but it’s not going to be enough. Taking metrics more seriously and conducting people management evaluations is a waste of time unless HR is capable of creating more value as a result.

This is about significantly increasing HR’s contribution, not just demonstrating it. And doing this requires more than just improving skills in developing leaders, talent, motivation and organisational culture. It requires HR to take responsibility for making significant, positive changes to these critical organisational capabilities too.

Jon InghamDirector, Strategic Dynamics Consultancy Services