Cubicle workers who’ve been told their medical benefits are being “enhanced” by a hike in co-pays, or that 360 reviews are an improvement on a one-on-one chat with the boss, often greet a new idea from HR with skepticism. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that a proposal by human resources managers to establish a national standard for measuring the value of a company’s workforce is getting a lot of pushback. What’s notable is that the opposition comes from within the ranks of the profession itself.
A group of 600 HR managers, academics, and advisers are drafting guidelines for standardizing measures of workforce diversity, turnover, job training, and the like. They are also drawing up a template for how companies should report such information to shareholders. Those involved in the project argue that companies and investors would benefit if a single set of metrics were used to gauge what they call “human capital.”