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Health and Well-being's blog

Human Capital - MI reporting


David Prosser, Strategic Development Manager, AXA PPP healthcare

It's an old adage that you 'can't manage what you don't measure' and that 'our people are our greatest asset'. Put the two together and you would seem to have the perfect rationale for organisations to report on how human capital performance is managed and nurtured. 

Then add to this basic premise the fact that increasingly institutional investors are taking a close interest in how companies are managing their human resources when making investment decisions. And good corporate governance - doing the right thing when no-one is looking - includes how the health of the workforce is looked after. Lots of evidence links workforce health to productivity and performance levels and even shareholder return.

So why the apparent reluctance for much of UK PLC to produce and publish meaningful  human capital metrics to demonstrate good corporate responsibility? You could be excused for thinking that it's a no-brainer. Business in the Community (BITC) certainly thinks so in campaigning for the FTSE 100 to report publicly on employee health and it will be revealing to see next year how many respond to BITC's call. Further afield, how many other organisations in the wider private and public sector will start to post their human capital metrics - especially beyond narrow sickness absence rates.

But, in the meantime, what does good management information (MI) look like? In the past it could have been reams of formulaic and transactional data, which counts the movement of widgets from A to B. Now, we need to raise the bar and ensure that our MI provides actionable insights that show what is really going on and avoids that 'so what' factor.

For health and wellbeing 'intelligence' to be meaningful and useful, it needs to start to help organisations to answer the following questions:

  • What are the health risks across the business?
  • What are the emerging trends in mental and physical health?
  • Where are the hotspots and where should the current focus on employee health be?
  • What impact are existing health programmes having in mitigating risks?
  • What is the potential return on investing in employee health?
  • How does the MI inform the development of health strategy?
  • What's the accompanying narrative?

Arguably, this depth of health data goes beyond the reporting capability of even our largest organisations.  And, of course, FTSE 100 companies may well be reluctant to disclose information that exposes people management issues and/or poor management practices. Who can blame them?

However, it is my hope that, whatever they care to publish, at least internally they are starting to look at this kind of granular MI and taking appropriate action.

Your comments



Sally Bundock
29 January 2013 at 11:49

Recognition of the importance of and resource allocation to employee health and well being are paramount for the optimal performance of any organisation. A professional approach either within HR or separately as OH or welfare will pay dividends. It is a dividend though that is not always easy to quantify in monetary terms. Common sense and good management of the resource can, however, facilitate understanding of the benefits to all. Even an organisation's most talented employees can experience debt problems and mental health issues. It pays to offer confidential support and guidance. HR practitioners can enhance their skills by engaging with welfare - so why not join us at the House of Commons on 21st February for CPD/networking on welfare reform and how carers cope in the workplace. Sally Bundock, Chair,

Institute of Welfare

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