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Jul 23, 2012

Real life measurement strategy

A workable standard for comparing HR results between organizations is being developed – watch this video for details

By Dave Crisp

Since I’ve been rattling on about measurement and analytics applied to HR, it’s important to mention another significant push from an international team to develop some consistent standards against which organizations can measure progress with human capital.

The international project extends Laurie Bassi’s work that she began some years ago and led to her forming her own company to promote the value of measuring HR stats in assessing the worth of companies.

My friend, writer and researcher David Creelman, has been working with the sponsoring organization, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in the United States, on developing a standardized measurement program that would assess whether a company is applying human resources principles that should ensure effective management, leadership and people practices. The aim is for SHRM to build the standard for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with the eventual aim of turning it into a global ISO standard.

Creelman and another committee member recently got to present it at a meeting at the World Bank offices in Paris, and a video of that presentation has been posted on Vimeo. (Scroll down to view the video, titled "Will there be ISO standards for HR?")

Creelman and his co-presenter do an excellent job of outlining what the program is, why they believe it will come to have impact and how HR will benefit. Rather than trying to summarize, I will simply say the video is self-explanatory and worth the 20 minutes to find out how it would work and how it’s expected to develop.

Any standard is just a base for in-house embellishments that are unique to individual organization cultures, but ideally will provide a way to assess whether there are any objectives of the right sort in place and functioning in useful areas or not. I think that’s the point — not whether the standard is completely comprehensive, which it could never be. Clearly, as the presenters note in the video, the exact measures in the standard are still at a formative stage and will evolve with use. But it looks like a good basic start.

Dave Crisp is a Toronto-based writer and thought leader for Strategic Capability Network with a wealth of experience, including 14 years leading HR at Hudson Bay Co. where he took the 70,000-employee retailer to “best company to work for” status. For more information, visit

David Creelman - Will there be ISO standards for HR? from Kiyali Ouattara on Vimeo.

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