Last year, Human Capital Media published a report on metrics and measurement, which featured talent development reporting principles, or TDRp. The report included comments from some early adopters as well as from a number who were not convinced that TDRp or standards were necessary. In the last blog, I shared the basics of TDRp for those who were not familiar with it. In this blog, I want to address some of the objections and questions. Let’s see what you think.
Objection 1: Senior leaders don’t need to see hundreds of measures — I absolutely agree. TDRp recommends focusing on the vital few which will of course be different for each organization. Department heads might focus on just 10 to 15 key measures, and you might share just five to 10 key measures with senior leaders like the CEO, chief financial officer and a governing body. In each case, the senior leaders and department head would agree on the list of select measures.
Objection 2: All organizations are different, so standard measures won’t work. Because all organizations are different, they will use different sets of measures. But wouldn’t it be nice if we had a common language for those measures, common reports to put them in and, someday, standard names and definitions? The analogy with accounting is instructive here. Every organization has some version of an income statement and balance sheet, but the financial measures will not be the same for every organization. However, the names and definitions will be.
Objection 3: You don’t need to worry about alignment or outcome measures, so that part of TDRp is not relevant. If all of your programs are to convey the skills needed by employees to achieve a minimum level of competence or meet compliance objectives, then just concentrate on meeting these objectives as efficiently and effectively as possible. On the other hand, if you are also charged with helping the organization accomplish its goals (like increase sales or improve quality or reduce costs), then you need to align your initiatives to these goals, agree on outcome measures with the owner of the goal, and agree on roles and responsibilities for each of you to deliver the agreed-upon outcome.
Objection 4: You don’t need TDRp guidance or reports to help manage. There are many outstanding learning and development leaders who have developed excellent processes and reports for managing their key initiatives and their department. For these, TDRp may not offer any improvement. But we believe the majority of L&D leaders could use some guidance. For example, we know that most are not having rich, proactive discussions with the owners of company goals to identify outcome measures. Most are not distinguishing between the few measures to actively manage, and many they may just wish to monitor. Very few are setting a plan or target for the key measures and actively managing them on a monthly basis. So, unfortunately, most would benefit from some guidance.
Objection 5: You don’t need to prove value. It is true that TDRp processes and reports will help establish you as a valued, strategic business partner and will help convey your alignment to important company goals and your impact on those goals. If you are already there, you should be proud of what you have accomplished. TDRp, though, might still provide valuable guidance on selecting measures, setting plans, and managing throughout the year. At Caterpillar, I was never asked to demonstrate our alignment or prove our value, but our CEO and senior leaders always appreciated seeing how we were aligned to their goals and what type of contribution we could make.
Bottom line: Most practitioners could benefit significantly from TDRp. And if you have some better ways to measure, report, or manage human capital, please share. Your ideas are always welcome.