The Evolution of Human Capital Metrics

Last week I was privileged enough to moderate a roundtable of HR professionals at the first Indeed.com international conference. Our topic of conversation centered on big data, HR Metrics and ROI. The participants represented a variety of industries including insurance, banking, retail, IT and professional services.

indeed full logoThe group talked about how talent strategy and recruitment has been shifting over the last couple of years due to technology innovation, mobile, social media and Millenials entering the workforce. With so much activity happening electronically the amount of data available to be captured, deciphered and analyzed can be astounding, not to mention overwhelming. Some of the participants said they had a hard time figuring out where to start. As the roundtable continued we also talked about the shift from relying on RMS data to using data warehouses and/or HRMS’ which integrate data from a variety of different sources. The focus on using big data to help articulate ROI in the form of human capital metrics was still an area all our companies continue to work through. As I reflect on our conversations I realized that human capital metrics also needs to evolve to include new skills such as engagement and collaboration to reflect the modern workforce.

Let’s start with collaboration. Not a new skill, but usually used to assess project management and ITbanner-about related roles. Newer generations such as Millennials rely on collaboration and crowd sourcing techniques to complete work and build relationships. As reliance on virtual interaction and engagement play a greater role in attraction and retention, collaboration is fast becoming an essential skill for all jobs across organizations, especially leadership and management roles. Let’s look at two human capital metrics that can evolve to give credit to this skill.

  • Quality of hire– measures the calibre of external new talent determined by early performance indicators with the organization.  Collaboration is gaining more industry acceptance as criteria for performance. In a recent blog post the CEB updated their definition of quality of hire to incorporate collaboration. The new definition now reads; a new hire’s current and likely future effectiveness at completing his or her individual tasks, and contributing to others’ performance and using others’ contributions to improve his or her own performance[1]. The updated definition pays homage to collaboration as an important contributor to both measuring-employee-performaindividual and organizational performance.
  • Ready Now Candidates– Measures the number of potential successors that can be developed for managerial and leadership positions[2].  With an almost even distribution of Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials in the workforce, engagement and collaboration are two important skills that people managers need to bring to the table in the modern workplace. Organizations should build in measures to gage how effective Managers are at collaborating below, across and above their positions. This can be done as part of an employee, manager and peer review. Managers with higher rating on collaboration can not only manoeuver within the organization, but may have a higher effectiveness in leading and managing teams.

 Engagement is a current measure in the human capital vernacular. Most organizations typically send out their engagement survey once a year to gauge how connected employees are. The outcome should be to develop an action plan to address areas where engagement is low. Through blogs, social networking channels and crowd sourcing websites (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn groups, Glassdoor, etc.) digital dialogue, or what I call engagement; is also becoming a more relevant indicator of employee retention, performance and the employee value proposition.  

 Consider that from a talent sourcing perspective, more candidates want to have a relationship with a potential employer before they make a decision on whether that employer is a good fit for them. I equate it to dating; you have to go on a few dates before you know if you’re ready to make a commitment. Let’s take a look at how two human capital metrics can evolve to include social engagement.

  • Employee Engagement Index– Measures employees’ engagement in their work. Turnover may occur if employees feel disconnected between the organization’s employment offer and their own needs. Employees on-going interactions and communications will continue to shape their opinion of the organization influencing retention and commitment[3].  Organizations are challenged to find new and different ways to continuously engage with their employees to learn about, assess and identify areas for improvement. Social platform and collaboration tools for feedback and ideas with interaction can have a positive influence on the employee’s perception of the organization, impacting both commitment and retention. Organizations that only rely on annual surveys and/or do not engage in dialogue with employees risk employees, engagement_surveyusing other public avenues to share information and voice opinions about the company.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score– Measures the difference between the number of employees who are “promoters” (recommend organization as an employer) and number of employees who are “detractors” (would not recommend the organization as an employer)[4].   Through crowdsourcing and social networking there is a broader forum for both detractors and promoters to make their opinions viral. Through outlets like Glassdoor and ratemyemployer.com, anonymous reviews can provide rich insight into an organizations work culture to potential job seekers. Organizations should be using technology to regularly engage employees earlier in the employee life cycle to pulse check their perceptions.

Talent sourcing has typically been the topic of attention on how social media and technology are workforce planninginfluencing recruitment approaches. It has higher visibility because it’s a front line operational function that can measure results. Talent management also needs to embrace changes and recognize that newer generations bring different skills to the table. Using static measures that don’t incorporate or recognize these new skills can impact performance management, succession planning and retention. Employees will continue to assess their employment offer promise and evaluate how closely it aligns with reality.

By taking collaboration and engagement into consideration, how would it impact the way you view your talent pools?

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] CEB Corporate Leadership Council, “The Metrics Standard” (2013):

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] ibid

Are You Really A Collaborative Team Player?

collaboration_learningSocial Media has played a signficant role in facilitating collaboration through interaction, sharing information and soliciting feedback through public forums. Younger generations growing up with social media and the internet have become accustomed to collaborating through groups to accomplish tasks. This behaviour has now become a norm which has carried over to the workplace.

As organizations expand into global markets and new generations enter the workforce (think of Millennials) working virtually, in a collaborative way, is now a requirement to stay competitive.

Many organizations have adopted collaboration tools, to provide the technology for active participation. The shift to virtual working through collaboration is not without its own challenges.virtual_team Think about cultural differences, time differences, languages, geographies; and how to bring all of those together in a productive way. At the heart of collaboration lies relationship building and trust. Both of which are not easily accomplished without putting some effort into it. Even through technology may be used to virtually interact, the communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate collaboration may still need to be cultivated. Take the time to invest in building your skills to get the most out of your virtual work experience.

Here are a few things to consider when collaborating virtually:

  • Be open-minded: Working in groups can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Listening to and/or reading various perspectives, approaches and ideas can increase your knowledge and expand your own thinking. Group experiences are most gratifying if you keep an open mind to other people’s contribution and ideas. The goal is to work together to achieve a common objective. The more people feel “safe” to share their ideas and perspectives, the more interesting and genuine the contributions will be. It creates a positive, innovative environment where people can appreciate other viewpoints.
  • browser-hangoutShare Information: Have you read an article that you think may be beneficial to someone else? Are you working on a project where you could use someone else’s expertise? Share information with those who may benefit from it. Once you share, you will notice that your colleagues will in turn start to share with you. You may also start getting invited to other meetings where you can share your expertise and perspectives.
  • Participate in the conversation: What makes group projects so successful are the ideas and perspectives that each person brings to the table. When you’re at the table participate in sharepoint the conversation. If you’re using a technology platform provide updates and suggestions to contributions that will enhance the virtual conversation. This allows you to showcase your skills and knowledge and learn from others at the same time.
  • Be Respectful: When participating virtually be respectful of other people’s ideas and suggestions. Even if you don’t agree with something avoid writing comments such as “that won’t work” or “that doesn’t make sense”. Dismissive comments may curb collaboration rather than encourage it. Instead help direct the conversation to address your concern. As an alternative try, “What might be some of the risks or constraints we may need to consider”?

These are just a few suggestions to consider when working collaboratively. Are there some recommendations you want to share?

 By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy