2020 report published by Oxford Economics and SAP summarised the ongoing challenge HR functions have in providing clear support for people investment: “It’s always tough to mo- tivate for HR money in any business. Te board will not provide us with funds for something that’s not clear.” So how can we make the case

for investing in people clearer and more compelling? How can we collectively toughen up the definition of ‘soft’ skills to show its worth to the most discerning stakeholder groups? It won’t be solved overnight, but there are areas where HR and L&D leaders can move the needle.

Don’t let ‘data’ be a four-letter word

Jack and Patricia Phillips’ 2016 book, Accountability in Human Resource Management: Connecting HR to Business Results, states that: “Chief financial

officers are now more involved in HR and are now requiring more results from human capital investments.” Because of this, HR functions

have to become comfortable using clear people development metrics to

How can we collectively toughen up the

definition of ‘soft’ skills to show its worth to the most discerning stakeholder groups?

provide crucial quantitative information that validates the importance of investing in people. In a world full of subjectivity and differing points of view, credible data upgrades HR’s

position as a trusted business partner rather than just another shared service in support of the business. At Insights, our data and business

intelligence expert, Renada Beckwith, is working towards helping our clients create robust evaluation and measurement systems that connect people development interventions with real results. Beckwith says, “Te learning

profession should not settle for assumptive reasoning. In the past, we’ve only had to report how many people completed the course and whether it was well-liked. Now leaders have to provide information about the worth or value of every people development intervention. It’s not just about the return on investment, it’s about the return on value, expectations and what people need in order to be successful. Te word 

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