Monday, 15 October 2007

Organisational diversity / mystery shopper

Diversity is an absolutely critical part of just about any organisation's strategic capability, and a core accountability for HR.

I've had some of my comments on using mystery shopping techniques to assure diversity in recruitment processes published at the Work Clinic blog. You can review the post and comments here. What do you think? Please comment on that or this blog.


  1. Hi Jon,

    Fantastic blog!

    My comment is in response to a number of posts around the recent focus on HR/HCM measurement, with specific reference to "HR - it's the Meaning, not the Numbers" and Scott McArthur's commentary -

    "spending too much time on the numbers distracts HR from their primary role creating “meaning” in the workplace"

    I would agree that creating value through people and capacity (HCM in your value chain), creating meaning in the workplace, and providing employees with exceptional opportunities for growth are all necessary and strategic approaches, - but would argue measurement is just if not more of critical importance in this area as with any HCM/Workforce initiative undertaking. HCM Measurement itself should not drive strategic workforce decision making, but should provide validation, trends, and predictions of these and other programs success and impact on the business. Moreover, to maximize HR's impact on the business as you state is not simply an understanding of the business and HR/Financial metrics acumen, but I would argue needs to be an integral part of any HCM initiative to truly validate to the business, including HR, these strategies and programs are successful, and are providing a positive impact to the workforce and the business.

    Similarily, I also don't buy the argument from Jay Cross -

    "Actually, the old can’t-manage-can’t-measure memo is totally wrong. Executives manage unmeasured things all the time"

    Using his analogies, focusing on intangibles and making judgement calls is absolutely an acceptable form of business and HR strategy (and yes - done all the time across the business including the C-suite and even boards) - whereby I would argue similar in concept to 'creating a meaningful place to work' for our employees.

    The key difference here is that these judgement calls and programs need to be validated thru measurement to determine the impact (hopefully positive) on the business and on shareholder value where applicable.

    As Jay states, "stock market investors value Google at $135 billion. Where does the extra $130 billion come from? Intangibles"

    While true, will this value remain if quarterly numbers (as measured!), do not meet investor expectations on growth and forecast? Absolutely not.

  2. Thanks for your comments and I am really pleased you like the blog.

    I'm not sure we do actually disagree, or at least not that strongly.

    I do see a key role for measurement in HCM. You have obviously read about my value chain, but if you have a look at my book, from where the value chain is drawn, you'll see that it's actually very largely about measurement.

    However, in my view:

    1) Measurement isn't the basis for HCM. As Mike Watts, who was HRD for the Cabinet Office and is now at the CIPD commented for my book, 'The pig doesn't get any fatter just be measuring it'.

    A lot of commentators seem to think that measurement and metrics provides the basis for HR's new strategic future. On their own, I don't think they do.

    2) The value of measurement is largely in monitoring HCM strategy, not informing it. Yes, strategy development should take account of available measures, but as Anne Lise Kjaer (The Future of People at Work, 20 September) says, there are no facts about the future. The main inputs to strategy development are therefore knowledge and judgements.

    3) The more knowledge based, intangible, and important, an HR / HCM output is, often the harder it is to measure.

    Take something like trust. It's very difficult to measure in any objective way. OK, you can put a financial figure on what you hope the impact of trust will be, but this isn't actually measuring the trust itself. So, to at least some extent, you need to be able to develop trust without being able to measure it.

    I think this is what Jay means too.

    I'm not too sure how closely these points agree with your perspectives too, but if I've understood your comments correctly, there's some overlap.

    I hope we get to have a face-to-face conversation about it some day...

    Best regards, Jon.


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