HR risks extinction by ignoring the bottom line

For Nicholas Higgins (Letters, Personnel Today, 25 March), self-appointed human capital management school ‘dean’, and self-opinionated consultant Paul Kearns (Letters, Personnel Today, 11 March) to criticise the recent authoritative report People and the Bottom Line for being self-interested and lacking in practical relevance, demonstrates that neither can have properly read nor understood this comprehensive document.

Nearly 3,000 employers took part in the research carried out by these long-standing, respected and independent research organisations, including the Institute for Employment Studies and the Work Foundation. And as Kirsty Yates, head of research at Investors in People points out, the aim was not to seek the simplistic ‘holy grail’ of HR practices driving profits, but to develop and test some practical scorecard measures that could help to show progress in effective HR management, and how it can add value.

Far more organisations should be using these types of measurement if HR is to have a viable future. As the chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Mervyn Davies, a leader in the field of human capital measurement, pointed out last month, HR managers who are not feeding this type of information into their boardrooms risk extinction, for themselves and their organisations.

Duncan Brown, director of HR services, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Nicholas J Higgins responds:

I am somewhat disappointed at Duncan Brown’s response to the critical comments regarding the IES report.

Yes, I have read the report – all 220 pages.

Why is it that when critical evaluation takes place people retort with personal jibes and misrepresentation?

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time.

We are supposed to be a profession, and critical debate should be encouraged. The profession will be the better for it.

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