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It is better
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John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


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HC Measurement
(August 28, 2002) - For nearly 40 years, the Pentagon's acquisition process has used life-cycle cost as a central management philosophy. The mindset and techniques spread throughout the automotive and software industries during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The principles are proven and ready for utilization in the Human Capital Arena. Assigning economic values and implications to well understood events in the Employment relationship is more a question of execution than design. 

The Military's system is so accurate that it can predict the implications of using an alternative spare part on areas as diverse as training costs, time between failures, technical documentation, repair costs, or material stocking requirements. The same elegant predictability is possible in the acquisition/deployment of our most important assets. Clearly, the task is simpler when a job can be defined in detail and volumes of new hires are under consideration. 

Instinctively, Recruiters understand the bottom line implication of the approach. The total cost of a badly hired employee can run to four or five times the employee's salary. The total cost of a "right hire" can easily be a fraction of the synergizer's paycheck. One erodes productivity while the other accelerates it. Reactive employee acquisition, the norm in today's market, dramatically increases the likelihood that a bad hire will be the result of the process. 

Only careful screening in advance of the emergence of a personnel requisition can effectively eliminate the possibility of a bad hire. Schedule pressures, driven by the timing of the sourcing process in the current model, simply increase the pressure to 'make do' rather than finding the 'right employee.' In other words, simply moving the sourcing process so that it precedes the creation of actual requisitions will dramatically lower the overall cost of relationships with employees. The savings will be experienced as measurable changes in productivity and quality. 

An investment in sourcing, accompanied by process changes that improve prerequisition screening will produce enormous returns over the life of the workforce. By focusing on the real costs of employment decisions, the organization will be able to begin a serious effort to manage and improve the consequences of its overall investment in Human Capital. As a set of case studies and examples evolve, the overall precision and utility of the underlying mathematics will improve. 

Disciplined management of the investment and returns associated with human capital is an inevitability. Companies should begin the process of building internal models that measure the productivity of investments in the area while laying the foundation for process redefinition.

 -John Sumser


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