I invite you to participate in what I hope will be an ongoing series of lively conversations about mangaging talent and investing in human capital. There are a myriad of topics related to all of the aspects of acquiring, developing, and retaining the talent your business needs now and in the future, and we would like to address them all as our thinking and your thinking evolves through dialogue, research, and experimentation. So, where to begin?
The bottom line is a good place to start. At the KnowledgeAdvisors’ 6th Annual Analytics Symposium early in March, I particularly enjoyed being exposed to the work of two organizations doing great work in this area. The first was McBassi & Company. Laurie Bassi and Daniel McMurrer http://www.mcbassi.com/ have developed methods for measuring human capital capabilities and then connecting them to a company’s bottom line outcomes - see “Maximizing Your Return on People” (by Bassi and McMurrer) in the March 2007 Harvard Business Review. The second is the Institute for Intellectual Capital Research and its Director, Dr. Nick Bontis http://www.nickbontis.com/main.swf who has developed methods to causally connect human capital investments to specific financial outcomes. You can see his papers and books at http://www.nickbontis.com/Research.htm.
So, the challenge to business leaders is to be more transformational than transactional. That means recognizing that the overarching and constantly repeated question for HR has to be how to make human capital more productive. The place to start always has to be with the human capital performance the business needs today and in the future to execute on its strategy, run its operations, and achieve specific measures of success. The art and science of human capital management is then to work backwards to identify the leverage points that will produce the performance needed. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts and examples!