We had a client in the high-tech industry
(4,000 employees) where we interviewed all of the top executives and
senior leaders to determine what the most important drivers of value in
the company were. We talked to the CEO, COO, EVP Sales, VP HR, and even
the Chairman of the Board. We expected the consensus would be somewhere
in profitable (sustainable) revenue growth, maximizing operating
margins, or at least customer satisfaction. It turned out that the #1
driver of value was “Employee Skills.” Employees with advanced degrees,
professional certifications, industry experience, etc., were THE key
driver of value in the company: they made customers happy, they
developed superior products, and they captured revenue.
Yet the company did not have one single measure around employee skills. They didn’t capture that information, they didn’t share it, report on it, or even plan for it in the budget.
This gap was enlightening for them. In order for them to put their money where their mouths were (in other words “people are our most important asset -- now lets utilize that asset”), they had to build Employee Skills (and certifications) measures into their models, plans & forecasts, and management reporting and analysis processes and systems.
By the way, this wasn’t HR-centric involvement in the strategic planning process – every function, including Marketing, Sales, Development, and Operations, has a stake in “people as assets,” or at least in measuring and improving employee skills…to drive customer & stakeholder value.
For more on Human Resources Key Performance Indicators, see this blog entry.