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The Value of an Independent Labor Assessment

By John Hawkins, MPI Consulting

During my +35-year professional career, I have been a senior executive, senior manager, and international management consultant working with hundreds of organizations and thousands of managers. I’ve had the opportunity to work with and for Fortune 100 companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, Novartis, BP, Unilever, Carters, and countless other small and mid-cap organizations, too many to name.

One of the key tenets I have witnessed which separates those “best in class” organizations from their peers is an insatiable curiosity to learn and grow. This curiosity can be found in every fiber of the organization. These organizations want to understand where they stand with their innovation streams, go to market strategy, internal work processes and productivity measures. Many organizations today invest heavily in capabilities to understand ways to improve their productivity e.g. Robotics, Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), LEAN, Six Sigma and other productivity focused initiatives.

In Healthcare, 3rd party benchmarking is a standard, often done via the Joint Commission as an industry practice designed to ensure healthcare providers are providing the best possible patient care experience.

A key gap I have often seen is the lack of intellectual curiosity with regard to an organization’s overall Human Capital Health. Quite simply asking the question, how are our people doing?

Yes, many organizations will conduct a semiannual or annual employee survey or market-based pay assessment, especially if they are losing talent. However (in my view), internal organizational health assessments often fail to undercover potentially devastating flaws in a business’s Human Capital strategy.

Many internal assessments are effectively “self-assessments” conducted by an HR Generalist and the scores are always outstanding. This is generally what happens with “self-assessments”.

Quite often, survey results are homogenized because the organizations standard bearers do not want to truly understand what employees are experiencing or saying. They are the “gate keepers” who see their roles as protecting senior leaders from “noise” within the organization.

In today’s marketplace where unemployment is low (approx. 4%) and employee expectations are increasing, due to the increased diversity e.g. ethic, gender, capability, geographic etc., the best in class organizations of the future will seek deeper and potentially unfiltered insights which could create competitive advantage as well as provide early insights into areas of risk.

In my opinion, this will mean partnering with experienced 3rd party partners to conduct independent organizational health assessments with a particular focus on an organization’s most important asset, its people.

John Hawkins is the President and CEO of MPI Management Consulting dba MPI Consulting, a Cincinnati, Ohio based strategic consulting company. MPI Consulting (established in 1974) has 42 years of experience helping organizations improve their capability development by providing expertise in Strategic HR Consulting, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Compensation/Total Rewards and Leadership Coaching and Front Line Manager Skills Training.

He is an internationally experienced executive, keynote speaker and corporate trainer. John has worked with hundreds of companies helping them to accelerate their business performance by improving their strategies, developing their people and developing pragmatic implementation solutions.

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