- Jo Faragher
According to the National Association of Pension Funds, there is a “workforce size hole in corporate reporting”. This means that companies are simply not coming up with clear data on the people that work for them, and the value they add to the business.
As NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars pointed out, organisations are full of rhetoric around how important an asset their people are, yet fail to measure their value in the same way they would for other assets. They’ll have databases and spreadsheets full of information on financial investments or property, but scant useful data on the people who work for them.
Part of the conundrum here is that there is no obligation to report this sort of data. Efforts have been made (and continue to be) for companies to disclose more about, say gender diversity on boards, or how socially diverse their recruitment pool is, but these are yet to have any real teeth. Investors and shareholders don’t always ask for human capital information as part of their due diligence, or often only because there are cuts to be made and they want to know how this will impact profits or reputation.
Recruitment is one of the best places to start with corporate reporting: from simple metrics such as time to hire and where candidates come from to more complex cross-referencing such as why it takes longer to attract people from a certain demographic, or predictive data on where the workforce will come from in the next five years.
Agencies are well placed to support clients with this because they often have direct access to data, at least around external hires. They can also help to benchmark these figures against other relevant companies in their sector. Investment in HR and recruitment analytics technology can help recruiters provide clients with just the sort of insights NAPF suggests they strive for.
But HR and recruiters won’t be able to achieve this successfully alone. As NAPF points out, collaboration with finance, sales and marketing functions and connecting with their data will make these insights richer. Getting a bigger picture of where the business is going will help to ask the right questions – because after all, data for data’s sake is just that.