New project draws on wisdom of crowds to develop ways of measuring the contribution people make to business outcomes

CMI and the RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) are calling on managers to contribute their expertise and experience to the development and application of a practical framework that will help businesses of all kinds better understand the value and risk people bring to their organisations.

By taking part in the Valuing Your Talent Challenge, managers can add their views to those of professionals from the finance, risk management and HR professions to help develop and refine a human capital framework. The framework will help employers measure the full extent of the value created and risk generated by the nature and composition of their workforces and organisational structures. Managers will also be asked to help find ways of making the framework easy to apply in practice, so that it can ultimately help businesses improve workforce skills and productivity and, in turn, organisational outcomes and performance.

The Valuing Your Talent (VYT) initiative, first launched in November 2013, is a collaboration between the UKCES, CIPD, CIMA, CMI, RSA and Lancaster University. Since November the project team has been drawing together a wide base of research, knowledge and practical experience in how best to understand and measure human capital. By identifying the organisational enablers and barriers that affect enterprise performance, we have created a common framework for valuing human capital. The Valuing Your Talent Challenge provides the opportunity for a widespread debate and input from everyone with an interest in the measurement and understanding of people and organisational structures – particularly those who will ultimately have responsibility for implementing the framework in their organisations.

The Challenge, facilitated by the RSA as part of its RSA Premiums series, will run on an open and free-to-access social media platform over a period of 3 months, and will begin on 10 March 2014. The first phase, lasting to 31 March, will allow anyone with an interest in this work to sign up and: share their feedback on the framework, their insights into the opportunities and challenges of valuing human capital, and any case studies of how they have successfully reflected the value of their people.

At the end of this phase, the VYT partners will summarise the insights and update the framework accordingly. The Challenge will then move into an Open Innovation phase, from early April until mid May, where participants can suggest innovative and practical ways to apply the framework – for example through new methods, tools, technologies or resources – so that it is useful for businesses and other organisations. There will be a pot of £10,000 in prize money up for grabs for the most innovative ideas.

All the insights and innovations generated by the Challenge will feed directly in to the final framework and research report to be published in the summer. The framework will be free and open to all, designed to encourage shared thinking and the development of more consistent practices across all sectors, for organisations large and small.

Ann Francke, CMI’s chief executive, says:

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Most bosses will tell you that people are the biggest costs in their organisation. The better ones will also tell you that people are their biggest asset too. But too few have the tools to accurately measure just how much that asset is worth and how it can be developed to become even more valuable. That’s one reason why human capital is at the top of CEOs’ priority lists globally in 2014, as our research with The Conference Board has shown.”

Managers stand to benefit hugely from better understanding the value of their workforce because that’s a key way of achieving greater productivity, operational improvements and improved customer satisfaction. “Valuing Your Talent is all about giving employers the tools they need to measure this part of their business but its success depends on input from managers and other professionals to make this a framework that really works for them. I hope managers take this chance to share their insights. With their help we’ll be able to develop a framework which will show the huge difference that good management and leadership makes to business performance.

Julian Thompson, Director of Enterprise at the RSA, said:

The big idea behind this Challenge is that the issue of human capital measurement and management is too important, too complex and too sensitive to local context, for any one group of specialists to develop or determine good approaches. HR practitioners, management consultants, academics, business leaders, accountants and employees obviously all have a key part to play. But arguably previous attempts have failed to catch on because models have been developed in isolation from each other, and/or on a closed, proprietary basis.

This experimental Challenge hopes to be the start of an ongoing open innovation community on the topic of better human capital valuation. Innovation is more likely when this community is diverse. That’s why we also want to invite creative ‘outsiders’ such as designers, developers, innovators and analysts from other disciplines to be part of the process.

But diverse collaboration is only possible when there is a shared foundation. The VYT framework provides a common focus for innovation around human capital value, but one that we expect to be continuously enriched and improved.”

To take part in the challenge, visit

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