Human Capital Management by means of investments in 23 important practices

A thoughtful article in the Harv. Bus. Rev., Vol. 85, March 2007 at 115, describes a framework of 23 human capital management (HCM) practices. A two-page questionnaire asked individuals to rate their organization on a scale of 1 to 5 for each practice. The authors, Laurie Bassi and Daniel McMurrer, include three case studies to buttress their argument that measurement of these practices and efforts to improve them pay off.

The authors explain five broad categories of HCM drivers. This post covers two of the categories, with some rewording to fit law departments, and a second post will cover the final three categories. Each category has a “Systems” practice but the other 18 practices are different from each other.

Leadership Practices encompass five HCM sub-practices.

1. Communication: “[Attorneys with management responsibilities’ – “managing attorneys”] communication is open and effective.”
2. Inclusiveness: “[Managing attorneys] collaborate with employees and invite input.”
3. Supervisory skills: “[Managing attorneys] eliminate barriers, provide feedback, and inspire confidence.”
4. Executive skills: “[The general counsel and direct reports] eliminate barriers, provide feedback, and inspire confidence.”
5. Systems: “Leadership development and transition systems are effective.”

Employee Engagement has four HCM sub-practices.

1. Job Design: “Work is well organized and taps employees’ skills.”
2. Commitment: “Jobs are secure, employees are recognized, and advancement is possible.”
3. Time: Workload allows employees to do jobs well and enables good work/life balance.”
4. Systems: “Employee engagement is continually evaluated.”

This post would become much too long if I were to comment in detail. Put briefly, this taxonomy would well serve law departments as a checklist of their own effectiveness.

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