This is the second in a series of three interviews focused on careers, employer brand and social media: Paul (Corporate Eye CEO) interviews Andrew Mayo, Director at Mayo Learning International, and President of the HR Society here in the UK.
Companies often claim that their people are their best assets, but just how do you measure and communicate the importance of people to a company?
Good applicants – like investors and other stakeholders – will review the corporate website and the annual report to find out more about a company. Obviously company culture, talent development and employee engagement all matter to current and future employees, but they can reveal a surprising amount about the company for other stakeholders, potentially supporting the case for investment.
But measuring, and reporting on, human resources isn’t easy, and nor is it easy to compare the results between companies.
Do listen as Andrew gives us some valuable insights into people related measurement and discusses how companies promote employer brand, measurement of – and reporting on – human capital and employee engagement, and the risks that social media can pose for human resources.
I’ve broken the interview down into smaller pieces, so that you can quickly find particular points you’d like to hear about. I’ve also included the whole interview and a transcript.
Part 1: Attracting Talent and Employer Brand: The Balancing Act
- company brand vs employer brand
- attracting vs filtering applications
- appealing to graduates vs experienced candidates
“The first thing that has always mattered most to new graduates is not, as often thought, the salary and benefits particularly. It’s the training they will get… but also ‘What kind of work will you give me?’”
“I’m often amazed how people come to interviews and they’ve done practically no research on the company itself, they’ve just been focused on the job.”
Download: Andrew Mayo interview: part 1
Part 2: Measuring and Communicating Human Capital
- annual reporting on people: ‘our best assets’
- difficulties in measuring human capital
- what the numbers can reveal about the company
“… Vodafone, Shell and Smith & Nephew have done good work in producing numbers and comparing with previous years and even in some cases saying ‘These are our targets’. For me, that tells me a lot about the strength of the workforce and the strength of the company ethos, the strength of engagement of the people and so on.”
“Figures like ‘We only went outside to the market for 20% of the vacancies that arose’ tell me they’ve got a very robust internal development and growth system…statistically, that correlates with sustainable business performance, and so that tells me this is a company worth investing in.”
Download: Andrew Mayo interview: part 2
Part 3: Measuring and Communicating Engagement
- efforts to standardise measures
- the measures that matter:
- labour turnover
- absence rates
- what employees say
“Engagement means we actually care and we’re committed to what we’re trying to achieve here.”
“The problem is that at a corporate level in an annual report you’re going to report an average, and an average is always the enemy of truth.”
“The three measures I think are relevant are labour turnover…absence rates… [and] to ask people carefully thought out questions. Not only about ‘are you engaged?’ but also checking out the factors that you know lead to engagement.”
“Research in engagement says that there are a relatively small number of things that really make a difference to people, and whether they understand company strategy or not is not one of them.”
“Engagement correlates with performance as well. And the more engaged a workforce is, the better an organisation it’s likely to be both for its customers and for investors.”
Download: Andrew Mayo interview: part 3
Part 4: Social Media, Human Resources and Employer Branding
- issues for HR: privacy, currency, cynicism and authenticity
- importance of monitoring social media
- cynicism and the need to provide evidence
“You can’t stop anybody asking the question ‘is there anybody out there that’s worked for X?’ However from a company point of view that’s extremely dangerous. You don’t know whether they had a good experience or a bad experience. They might have worked five years ago and the company’s completely different today. So organisations have really got to take an initiative here.”
“People are cynical, and they’ll be cynical of what any company tells them. So whatever you put on the website, you’ve got to back it up with as many facts as possible”
“It’s a big challenge for HR… it really needs the best image possible to be able to attract people. And yet a lot of the things which cause the image of a company to be a problem are out of their control.”
Download: Andrew Mayo interview: part 4
Here’s the whole interview, in case you’d rather listen to it end-to-end; and the transcript, for those who prefer to read.
Many thanks to Andrew for taking the time to talk to Paul.
Who were we speaking to?
Professor Andrew Mayo has nearly 30 years experience in industry. For the last decade he has been a Fellow and Programme Director at the Centre for Management Development at London Business School, Associate Professor of Human Capital Management at Middlesex University Business School, and Director of the highly regarded consultancy company, Mayo Learning International. He holds degrees in Chemical Engineering, Operations Research and Management, and a Diploma in Finance and Accounting, and is a frequent conference speaker and author. His specialities are in HR Strategy, Workforce Planning and Human Capital Measurement.