I've been working with a great organisation here in Melbourne over the last few weeks and ran a 2-day Strategic Workforce Planning workshop with them recently. One of the questions that kept coming up was how to engage the executive in Strategic Workforce Planning to ensure that the program is successful. In my experience, as well as aligning the workforce strategy to the business strategy, Strategic Workforce Planning is an effective way way of providing evidence that each initiative is providing a Return on Investment - or showing where they are not, and how to improve. It's not easy, at times, to quantify the costs of HR programs in in an organisation - but there are ways of doing it. Turnover and Absenteeism are relatively straight-forward, but how do you put a price on innovation? productivity? creativity? Even more challenging is predicting the extent to which a particular program will increase or decrease these factors.
Wayne Cascio, who I was fortunate enough to meet last year, has some great resources - including the book "Costing Human Resources" - with some techniques for costing some of these aspects. For factors such as innovation and productivity, case studies can be instructive - but as each organisation is different, a well-crafted analytics strategy is the only way to really prove the "return" on your people investments in your organisation.
Business talks the language of numbers - and though it can be challenging, justifying proposed HR programs, and uncovering the value of existing ones, is one way of elevating Human Resources to become a strategic partner to the business.