You must practice what you preach

We could all learn a thing or two from the life of the late pope, including his very practical work ethic, as outlined in Stephen Overell’s excellent Off Message.

John Paul II was ever true to his word. Having said that gainful employment made a person “more of a human being”, he set out to become one of the hardest working, and certainly the most widely travelled, of modern pontiffs.

His death gives us an opportunity to reflect on our own attitudes to work and management. Are we expecting those within our circle of influence to “do as we say” rather than “do as we do”?

This is certainly an issue for some members of the Accounting for People taskforce to consider. Appointed in January 2003 to look at ways in which organisations can measure the quality and effectiveness of their human capital management, it concluded: “All stand to benefit from making more transparent the ways in which organisations create value through the way in which they manage people.” It also recommended that this information be included in a company’s Operating and Financial Review, which is “best located with the annual report”.

But an investigation by Personnel Today has found that some of the companies that participated in Accounting for People have fallen some way short of the report’s proposals.

Legally they have done nothing wrong, after the government missed the opportunity to require companies to include meaningful people information in their annual reports (Personnel Today, 5 April). And in all cases their efforts are better than most companies can muster.

But anyone who is prepared to publicly advise other business leaders on how to report on people issues had better make sure that they are at least practising what they preach.

Go to for more on the DTI’s response to our campaign on including meaningful HR data in company reports

By Rob Willock, group editor

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