Two key messages I took from two different sessions I attended at the Marcus Evans conference on Human Capital Management : Performance, Profiling and Profitability on 23 February 2011.
No low lying fruit. You don’t need to be a hero
Andreas Melcher, Head of Assessment and HC Metrics at Credit Suisse AG in Switzerland presented a keynote on HR’s impact on business performance, linking human capital management with business performance. He stressed two points. Firstly, that there is no low lying fruit when it comes to metrics and that we really must do our homework. In order to measure impact, we need to crunch the numbers. Secondly, human capital metrics can bring a new quality into the dialogue between HR and business and are strong levers in driving business performance. The subject matter may have been a bit dry but with pointed tips, backed by good explanation into how it works at his organisation, Melcher made a compelling argument.
Jenny Ooi, HR Director Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for Agilent Technologies talked about ensuring an aligned training intervention against the company’s “Measure of Success”. Jenny made a couple of interesting points worth repeating here. Firstly, we are used to rolling out programmes that are applicable to all. What we need to do is consider segmentation. Advising new HR executives, Jenny argued that you need to build strategic alliances at every level of the organisation. The point Jenny made repeatedly is that HR need not be the hero. Instead, we should aim to be kingmakers.
I agree – we don’t need to be heroes all the time. There is a time and place for everything, I believe. Ultimately if you believe in what you are championing, being the hero might turn out to be a side effect anyway. However, the point in being kingmakers is that it benefits us in the end. You put the ego aside, work on the sidelines, get the job done. Really, you lose nothing. Everything adds up in the end, even if its not obvious to you at the time.