Scott Flander's article, Measuring Up, where he identified that "few HR leaders seem to have the ability to identify and analyze the human capital metrics that would make the most impact on their organization, according to a recent study" is timely.
Many other areas of work already have lots of data collected to facilitate better decision-making. For example, quality control in manufacturing would be difficult without the collection of data. In this age of low cost and powerful computing, there is no good reason why data relating to other areas of work should not be subject to better decision-making.
Indeed it should be argued in light of the forecast workforce shortages due to the ageing of our population (Australia -- and this is the case in most developed countries), there is every reason to get better data around the significant contributing factor to output (whatever the industry) of workforce.
Indeed, we concur with Flander's view that "most believe the need for metrics will only grow more important". The article highlighted the lack of development around tools that can contribute to the measurement of workforce issues.
We can advise that we have developed a work analysis process that captures much of the data required for decision-making, particularly in relation to get a better understanding of what workers do, the potential for role redesign and the evaluation of change. The process was developed for use in the Australian acute care hospital sector, but from discussions with others from other industry sectors, it would seem with little modification, it can be easily applied in other industries.
We are in the process of preparing a number of academic papers that will describe the methodology so that there is wide dissemination of the work.
However, in the interim we would be happy to talk with others about the methodology and provide examples of how such work can provide better data so that better decisions about work and workers can be made in the 21st century.
Dr. Mark Mackay and Ms. Pam Castle
Department of Health