Leadership Matters
Pin It

By Karen Stone, CHRE

It may be a safe assumption to say that HR professionals have well-developed people skills. We are in the business of people, and much of our time, thought and strategy centres on talent development and building productive workplace environments where good communication and dialogue occur.

We are pretty proficient at the oft-coveted “soft skills,” and we spend a lot of brain space on how to ensure people are highly engaged and find meaning in the work they do.

Perhaps as a result of that, our full contribution as HR practitioners is sometimes overlooked when companies are measuring HR’s contributions to the bottom line.

Our full contribution as HR practitioners is sometimes overlooked when companies are measuring HR’s contributions to the bottom line.

It is only in the last 10 years or so that that organizations have started tracking the metrics for HR contribution – and many of HR’s most impactful contributions are still being worked on in terms of how to measure effectively and meaningfully. For instance, capturing the impact enhanced employee engagement has on the bottom line continues to be studied and it is still challenging to isolate concretely which engagement strategies implemented were the ones that contributed to enhancing business outcomes.

Measuring HR impacts has historically presented a bit of a challenge because we need to control for subjectivity and the qualitative aspects of our work that are sometimes tough to quantify. But as a discipline, we have come a long way in terms of designing metrics to capture the work that we do – and the business impacts.

Personally, I am always deeply impressed by the talented HR professionals who have made a point of gaining a deeper understanding of those numbers. The increasing proportion of HR leaders who are studying financial operations, mastering balance sheets and learning to speak dollars and cents with our finance colleagues are truly elevating the profession’s profile as a strategic business partner.

It is critically important that we measure HR impacts, because HR is a business discipline. It is not, as some incorrectly assume, a “soft science” or a support role. Solid HR can generate real monetary value and critical competitive advantage for the organization. But if we aren’t measuring that, it can remain challenging to make a business case for the resources that may be necessary – additional talent, training and development, a new HRMS, or a new wellness or engagement program.

What gets measured gets managed, or so the saying goes. And that sentiment has never been more pertinent for HR professionals than it is today.

Karen Stone, CHRE, is chair of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

Pin It