What gets measured gets done – let’s do it

first_imgWhat gets measured gets done – let’s do itOn 18 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Allthe recent noise about workforce productivity has been quite fascinating. Youguys fly in US strategy guru Michael Porter to tell you what your problem is,stirring up the academics, and then Personnel Today calls for action in itsWhite Paper (11 February). Itis, of course, good fun to read the back and forth on why the US is moreproductive than the UK, or which country leads in productivity improvement, butlet me lob in two thoughts from the sidelines. First,on the global side, are we certain that our measurements and definitions of‘productivity’ are not overly Western-centric? Is our definition ofproductivity wholly relevant in the various parts of the planet where we plyour respective trades? Whenwe look at productivity measurements, do we stop and think about ourmeasurements in terms of local cultures? Productivity studies no doubt amazeand amuse workers in countries where afternoon naps are common; in cultureswhere the lunch hour is happily spent head down, asleep at your desk; or inplaces that revel in a 35-hour working week. How then, given these issues, canwe truly measure and compare productivity across borders, and are thecomparisons appropriate, much less accurate?Theadvent of international air travel changed many things – it certainly gave usall the ability to impose our own views and work ethics on far greater swathesof humanity than before. But we have to ask ourselves, is that the right thingto do?Measuringproductivity is important, and striving for continual improvement is crucial, butneither of these can be absent of context.Second,since we are frequently the ones doing the measuring, what are we doing in HRto measure HR’s productivity (the old adage involving stones and glass housesmay well apply)?ForHR to be convincing, we have to get our own house in order first. What have wedone to demonstrate our productivity? The ability to measure HR, and to measurethe impact it has on a business becomes even more important as productivity isexamined across the company – and across the world.Alltoo frequently I still hear HR professionals whining about not being able tomeasure the ‘soft side’ of HR and I still have conversations with people whothink HR can’t be effectively be measured or show the value of it. We’ve got tostop this thinking, and start insisting that HR be accountable for results –just like every other part of the organisation.Financereports numbers; sales and marketing report numbers. Operations can reportnumbers, and certainly legal teams can attach metrics to their activities. Why,then, is it so rare for HR functions to report back out what they achieve?HRprofessionals must be on the front lines of creating and reporting metrics thatdefine and prove the value we bring to our companies.Whatgets measured, gets done. What gets done, gets valued. Whither HR?ByLance Richards, Board director, SHRM Global Forumlast_img read more