Keeping accountants on side is essential

Have you detected a change in the mood of your finance director? If so, he
or she could be suffering from an increasingly common complaint – frustration
with HR.

New figures from research company Webster Buchanan (see right) show that our
finance colleagues are concerned at the pace of change and amount of effort
going into measuring the business impact of HR metrics. Their view is that HR
is struggling to provide the hard evidence employers need to make key workforce
decisions.

While the majority of HR teams are now reporting basic people data, very few
are actually linking it effectively to broader performance issues. It is this
challenge that still seems to be eluding the profession, and some of the
responsibility must lie with the Government’s Accounting for People Taskforce.

Its recommendations in 2003 were deliberately non-prescriptive – recognising
that all organisations are different. However, there was widespread agreement
at the time that a non-mandatory, less uniform approach would provide the
flexibility to motivate employers towards an human capital management (HCM)
revolution. But there has been insufficient practical help to support employers
since then, and few could deny that progress has been slow in linking HCM to
the bottom line.

Making the connections between employee data and the repercussions on the
business has to become a collective duty. HR should take the lead, but it needs
to work closely with the finance department and the board to ensure its treated
with the same rigour as any other asset.

Personnel Today will be conducting its own research into HCM progress
shortly. So watch this space. In the meantime, let us know about your
information needs on HCM and we will try to deliver.

By Jane King, editor

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