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The winds of change: Making HR measurement happen

This October saw a whirl wind of speaking engagements for me with two different locations each week. In itself this was a significant data point in how much the demand for someone to speak on HR measurement has increased. However more telling were the responses from my audiences over the last 5 weeks. The momentum behind measurement in HR is growing and what I learned from the trip indicates that one of the drivers of change has shifted.

Why are you here? This is a standard warm up question for me as I settle into talking with an audience. For the last 3 years the answers have been in the following vain.

“I am curious about measurement”

“I have heard about HR measurement and want to learn more.”

“I am doing some basic measuring and want to know if I am on the right track.”

Last month the answers changed. The answers above are typical of people who are self-directed towards change and towards trying something different. Of my audience sample in October at least 40 percent were there because their executive had come asking for numbers and were looking for more tangible reporting of HR results. Instead of being self-directed my audiences are now being directed by their leadership to make HR measurement happen. This is a significant change.

My prediction is that the rate of change within the area of HR measurement will increase and that from being a practice that large or early adopting organizations are engaged in, it will become much more of the norm for every HR group.

Alongside the drive from the C-suite several other factors are whipping up this measurement storm. The first is the increased public profile of HR measurement. (Check out this piece from Google). The second is the shift in HR technology – which is starting to deliver fully integrated data capture and reporting. The list of moves and new products in this space is lengthy but includes SAP buying successfactors, Oracle buying Taleo, ADP and Ceridian both launching HRMS systems that integrate with their payroll and more. (Follow Bill Kutik to stay up to date on this stuff). Also of note was that 30 percent of my audiences were in some form of HR system transformation project.

HR measurement has been around for a long time – over 35 years – however what starts with the large enterprise, with large problems and the finances to solve them, does trickle down to become common practice. The winds of change are bringing HR measurement into the mainstream. If you have yet to start measuring your HR results then it really is time to start.

Ian J. Cook, CHRP
HR Metrics Service

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Ian J Cook

Director, Product Management at Visier Analytics
Ian J. Cook MA, MBA, CHRP, continues to pursue a fascination for people and business. His quest to understand what it takes for organizations, and the people in them, to thrive has led to many fantastic career stages. Ian has been an entrepreneur, an operational manager and spent 10 years, consulting to some of the World’s leading companies. Read more
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