Category Archives: Human Capital ROI

HR Challenges vs. Organizational People Priorities

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At Data Point Tuesday we love great graphics. Great graphics can really make a point. They can help people digest complex data points and make sense out of the numbers. Quantum Workplace’s new report, the State of Employee Feedback, does all of these things.

The things I found most interesting about the data, however, were not about the state of employee feedback, but rather about HR’s priorities and their view of organizational people challenges. This report isn’t really about those things, but they’re pretty interesting. Quantum Workplace polled HR professionals in nearly 300 organizations that cover the size spectrum. (No information on industry sectors or geographic location, sadly, but maybe those are being saved for another report.)

The high level, easily consumed findings (and terrific graphics) focus on 5 areas:

  • What are HR teams’ biggest challenges?
  • What will be prioritized in the coming year?
  • What employee feedback strategies and tools have become more or less important?
  • What tactics and strategies are organizations using to measure and improve their employees’ experience?
  • What are the most engaged organizations doing differently?

As a vendor white paper, the report is most focused on discussing findings on issues 3 – 5. While they are all interesting and probably useful as a backdrop, the first two were most interesting to me. They show in great specificity the challenge that is being an HR professional today. This survey’s respondents listed these as their top organizational HR challenges:

Quantum Workplace 1

Interesting that proving the ROI of HR initiatives is in the #3 spot, not the #1 spot. As HR becomes more and more a strategic business function, and less and less an administrative “overhead” function, I would assume that proving the ROI of everything HR does would move to the top of the priority list. That’s how business functions operate

But wait. There’s more. I’m comparing and contrasting that list – of HR challenges – with HR’s self-report of top organizational people strategies:

Quantum Workplace 2

This is as good a list of or organizational people strategies as I’ve seen. No one is probably surprised that Attracting Top Talent is the first organizational priority. And even though there is no common definition of Employee Engagement, no common way to measure it, and no indication that it’s improving anywhere in the world, it’s not surprising that HR folks would put this category in second place for its organization. Talent acquisition and employee engagement are the tip of the spear in all popular business and HR content outlets.

What I’d like to see are the same questions posed to CEOs and CFOs in those same organizations. I’d love to see if those other senior leaders identify the same HR challenges and people priorities in the same order. Call me crazy, but I’ll bet there would be significant differences in both categories and rank order. And that’s my point today. HR talking to itself about HR and people processes is not bad. Better, though, would be HR talking to other business leaders about HR and people processes. I hear anecdotally that this is starting to happen. But the simple fact that Finding an Executive Sponsor is on the list of HR’s top challenges for 2016 tells me it isn’t happening enough.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, HR Data, Human Capital ROI, Human Resources, Quantum Workplace, Uncategorized

Streaming Live: 2014 Great Place to Work Conference®!

Data Point Tuesday

I’m going to deviate from my normal Data Point Tuesday this week to offer you an invitation to attend the streaming keynote sessions from our 2014 conference. The 2014 Great Place to Work® Annual Conference kicks off this Thursday in New Orleans, and we’re very excited to share some of the great learning opportunities of the conference virtually! This year’s conference has sold out with 1,150 registered attendees from more than 400 companies. 39 out of our 45 keynote speakers and concurrent session leaders are business leaders (20) and senior HR practitioners (19). This is the only national event that teaches, inspires and connects professionals across industries and functions to strengthen workplace culture through building trust.

We’re thrilled to bring a packed agenda with a wealth of engaging speakers to those attending in New Orleans this year. If you’re not attending however, don’t worry! We will have free live streaming of our conference keynote sessions here this Thursday and Friday (April 3rd and 4th). Our keynote speakers this year include Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, Terri Kelly, President and CEO at W.L. Gore & Associates, Victoria B. Mars, Member, Board of Directors at Mars, Inc., Blake Nordstrom, President at Nordstrom Inc., and Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. We’re very excited to allow all of you to join us virtually and we hope you’ll take advantage of a great opportunity to take away actionable ideas and learn about best practices from experts at companies recognized for building trust, pride and camaraderie in the workplace! See you there!

Watch the 2014 Great Place to Work® Conference Keynotes Live Here

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Filed under 100 Best Companies to Work For, China Gorman, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Hiring, HR, HR Conferences, Human Capital ROI, Leadership, Leadership Aspiration, Learning/Development

ROI of People Focused Organizations

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The holy grail in HR is providing hard, compelling data-based evidence for the ROI of investing in people.  With this data, HR is in the strategic driver’s seat of the budgeting process.  Without this data, HR is resigned to the furniture conversation.

Want some new people investment ROI data from a source that even your CEO would pay attention to?  How about The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)?  They’re a big time global business strategy consulting firm that your CEO respects.

For the third time since 2008, BCG has partnered with the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) to publish its Creating People Advantage report.  The most current, published in October, is Creating People Advantage 2012: Mastering HR Challenges in a Two-Speed World.

The findings are the result of BCG’s analysis of responses to an online survey that polled 4,288 executives from companies throughout  a number of industries, 102 countries, and six major global regions.  Additionally, 63 HR and other executives from high profile companies all around the world were interviewed.  The survey and interviews covered 22 HR topics and the report includes interesting case studies from companies like L’Oreal, Samsung, and Daimler Trucks.

It’s a fascinating – and very readable – report and the findings won’t surprise you.  In fact, the top three critical topics for HR leaders around the world remained the same as in BCG’s 2010 global survey:

  • Managing talent
  • Improving leadership development
  • Strategic workforce planning

The data are compelling and the comparisons between countries and regions of the world really are interesting.

The big bonus, though, is the report that is appended at the conclusion, From Capability to Profitability: Realizing the Value of People Management. It’s loaded with economic data that compares the HR practices of high-performing companies against those of lower-performing ones in critical areas, including talent management, leadership development, and performance management and rewards.

The bottom line is that companies that demonstrated proficiency in the 22 key HR areas experienced revenue growth that was up to 3.5 times higher and profit margins that were 2.1 times higher than those of less capable companies.  And guess what those increases did to their share prices?

BCG 2012 People Companies Outperform the Market Average

Think your CEO and CFO are interested in higher revenue and profit growth rates?  Think the board might be interested in higher share price growth rates?  Think they might be willing to invest in practices that would accomplish those outcomes?  Yep, me too.

The budget season has long passed, and you’re locked in to the 2013 operating plan.  But take a look at the 22 key HR practices in your organization that this report covers and start a file that will hold the data to build the people investment plan for 2014. It takes some time to gather the foundational data to build your investment business cases.

Start now.  Start tracking the data.  Start setting the benchmarks. Start thinking in business cases.

And quit talking about furniture.

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Filed under Boston Consulting Group, Business Case, CEOs, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, HR, HR Data, Human Capital ROI, ROI, WFPMA

Decreasing ROI on Human Capital

PwC Saratoga publishes an executive summary every year that picks out noteworthy new data from its US Human Capital Effectiveness Report.  The report covers more than 200 unique metrics related to the effective management of human capital from more than 300 organizations in 12 industry sectors.  The average organization in this year’s report has yearly revenue of $5.5 billion and 19,500 employees.  While PwC Saratoga gathers information globally, this report covers data from US operations only.

This executive summary is not a difficult read – it includes some case studies – and it contains some pretty sobering statistics.  For example:

The revenue per FTE (full-time equivalent) has been declining steadily since 2008 –  by 18% — and has only marginally improved over 2006 levels. During the same time period, labor cost per FTE has grown nearly 14%:

It doesn’t take an MBA to understand that when costs rise and revenue falls:  you have a big problem.  And when labor costs rise and productivity declines, HR has a big problem.

The continued growth in labor costs per employee could be surprising to some given the relatively flat increases that trended during the recession.  According to this survey data, however, even during the darkest days of the recent recession, compensation costs per FTE (without healthcare or other benefits) increased year over year.  Surprising no one, though, health care costs increased year over year with the exception of 2009-2010.

The bottom line is that while the all-in cost of labor is going up, the revenue produced by that labor is decreasing, thus the diminishing ROI of human capital in the U.S.

While this might look like bad news for HR – do they really understand the dynamics of business? – it actually creates the beginning of the business case for increased investment in workforce planning, productivity and engagement.

Turning these trends around will take clear-eyed assessments of the current state, deep knowledge of solutions and the ability to connect the dots between multiple organization and environmental dynamics, compelling fact-based business cases for new investment and the courage to take bold action.

Want to be a strategic business leader?  This may be your best opportunity yet!

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Filed under Average Wage, Business Case, Business Success, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, FTE, Full Time Equivalent, HR Credibility, Human Capital ROI, PwC Saratoga