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

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About sailorannzalie

Talent Brand Expert, Recruiter, Social Media Expert, Integration Architect, Consultant. I’ve had lots of titles, but the ones that describe me the best are Change Agent. Transformer. Game Changer. Throughout my career I’ve had a number of challenging and rewarding jobs. I’ve had the opportunity to build, develop and lead creative initiatives that transform customer and employee experiences. I’ve consulted with clients across the globe and worked out off offices in Europe, North America and Asia. I am consumer and contributor. I love to learn from others and of course, share my knowledge through my blog https://sailorann.wordpress.com. As an industry thought leader I’ve spoken multiple times at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect, Indeed’s first global conference and the Social Capabilities Network (SCN). I’ve been recognized for my work and most recently was the proud recipient of the 2013 Social Media Recruitment Award. When I’m off the clock I like to broaden my horizons by travelling the world and experiencing new cultures. Want to hear about my travel adventures? Check out my travel blog: www.mytb.org/Sailorann

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