first_img Comments are closed. Newsof wholesale or high-profile cutbacks in the HR function of major corporations,from Marks & Spencer to the BBC, seem to appear in the press with alarmingregularity. And, more worryingly, there are only a few instances where suchcutbacks seem to be viewed as having a negative impact.Thisis hardly surprising when fewer than 20 per cent of HR functions undertake anyconsistent or substantial measurement of the effectiveness or even the outcomesof their activities. Why,then, do senior HR staff avoid facing facts? Is it fear of the unknown, or isit an ostrich syndrome? It is usually easy to highlight faults, and whilecriticism flows readily, praise is generally noticeable by its absence. Thishas the undesired effect of keeping HR on the defensive, and breeds a negativeattitude.  Ourresearch indicates that of the 18 per cent of functions that voluntarilymeasure and benchmark their activities, most could be classified as aboveaverage or effective. Aconclusion to be drawn is that only those with confidence and a desire forcontinuous improvement are prepared to enter the benchmarking arena. Perhapshaving attained a positive response to the direction that they are driving HR,these organisations have the maturity and vision to take a broader view towardstheir contribution, development and improvement. Thosethat fall into the introspective and defensive trap never have time to measurebecause they are too busy firefighting to give a better value contribution.Measurement against “norms” is essential. Basic activity andbenchmarking studies are neither time-consuming nor costly, yet their impactcan extend from immediate savings to medium- and long-term improvement.  Fundamentalrequirements are to know how many staff are involved in HR delivery, what theydo, and how much time is spent on each activity.Thefirst point may seem flippant but we recently visited a company which haddifficulty establishing to within five people (out of an HR function of about30) who was, and was not, directly involved in HR. Thisemphasises the need for basic measurement and understanding, even beforebenchmarking takes place. Improvements in effectiveness and value can only beachieved if we know the base from which we start.ByDerek Burn Partner, MCG Consulting Group [email protected] Previous Article Next Article Time to face facts and start measuringOn 22 May 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img