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Measuring HR effectiveness

It’s always been tough to measure HR’s contribution to business results.  One real challenge is that we’re not in total control of whether our efforts succeed or fail.  In everything we do, we are partners with leaders and line managers.  While HR activities can affect every single employee, they do not report to us from day to day.  There are some accepted people measures, such as engagement and retention, and there’s no doubt that HR are a driving force in these areas.  However, it’s readily recognised that the responsibility for actually improving these numbers is shared.

ROI on HR activities

 There are two dilemmas, when we want to work out the Return on Investment on the HR budget.

  • First, that the effectiveness and performance of employees is difficult to measure anyway because many of the measures are ‘soft’. For example, the level of trust they feel they have with their manager, or how much recognition they receive, are subjective yet are accepted as key enablers of engagement.
  • Second, it’s extremely difficult to distinguish the contribution made by HR to that. We design and offer best practice routines and standards, and develop managers’ skills to use them, but we all know that there’s still a lot that can go wrong.

HR Analytics are only part of the picture

 This is why getting meaningful HR data is so difficult, as acknowledged by the CIPD in their 2018 Factsheet; ‘the profession should view data and analytics as an emergent HR capability, and one that requires further investment, in terms of both capability and research.’

Measuring HR’s relationship with the business

What if we were to look at it another way?  Any financial investment will reap greater rewards when it responds to the actual needs of the business, in the most appropriate way possible.  So – why not measure the quality of the interaction between HR and the business?  Everyone agrees that’s a key driver.  That’s what we do at enable-hr – develop the alignment of HR to the business.

How do HR identify where to focus, and how to make investments pay?

In our analysis of many research papers, and from working with HR practitioners, we’ve seen some themes repeated time and again.  We have distilled these into 7 Enablers – they’re the activities and behaviours that CEO’s and HR influencers are looking for.  These are quantifiable – either you do them, or you don’t.  Arguably even more important is whether you are seen to be doing them.

An opportunity for a review of your HR activities, in collaboration with your stakeholders

Our framework helps you to structure your thinking, and then your planning, about how to deliver what the business needs.  For example, working from the strategic to the personal, it can help you to:

  • have the conversation with your senior leaders about what they want from you
  • learn how to get plugged into key decision-making cycles and meetings
  • explore with line and functional managers how to partner effectively with them
  • raise your game as an HR team and get more deeply aligned
  • put together your own Personal Development Plan as an HR professional.

For more information, please explore our website at www.enable-hr.com, or call me, Deborah Wilkes, on 07766 564537.  We’re passionate about improving HR, both for the business and for hardworking HR people.  We offer HR workshops, and expert HR coaching.  We like to start with a free consultation, so that we can begin to understand what you’d like to achieve.

Ever wondered what people really mean by HR Transformation?  Look out for our next blog.


Upcoming workshops & webinars

HR business partnering for a new era

Date: 20th June 2023

Strategic influencing skills for HR leaders

Date: Wednesday 28th June 2023

How to build a business-led HR strategy

Date: 6th July 2023
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