New HR Title: HR Capologist

Kris Dunn Compensation/Cash Money, HR, HR & Sports, Kris Dunn

It’s almost July, and for those of you in really big companies, that means one thing—you’re almost ready to start thinking about budget season for 2014.  Yes, that soul-sucking process where your operators try to hide FTE sand and your Finance department slowly cuts them down to size.  Because lets face it, the operators you support are addicted to not filling open headcount as a means to make budget.

You’ve seen this movie before.  But the sequels seem to feature a much meaner Finance department, which means your operators have no hope of keeping the FTE sand in their budget.

Meaning you have a golden opportunity to emerge with a new title: HR Capologist.

What the #$## is that? Let me explain.

Professional sports are filled with quants who are replacing old school scouts as the pivotal talent manager in any sports franchise—and the new wave of number-driven talent evaluators are called Capologists.  Most professional sport leagues have salary caps, and the goal of the Capologist is to ensure that the franchise is making smart decisions about whom they bring aboard and what they pay them.

Brad Pitt movies have been made about this – see Moneyball.  The stats in baseball and basketball that help identify hidden value are called things like Wins Against Replacement (WAR), and they matter—a lot.

Hate sports? Stay with me for a second because it has more to do with you than you think.

What goes on with Salary Caps in sports is important to the HR/Talent leader for the following reasons:

  1. Your salary cap is your salary budget after Finance whacks it down to size.  You’ve got a cap people—time to start embracing your inner geek.
  2. The pressure is on to do more with less. It’s been that way for a while, right?  Maybe you ought to start helping your operators due something other than complain about it. You talk about OD stuff; this is your chance to do real OD.
  3. Your big measurement/lever against your company’s “salary cap” is revenue per employee.  If you get more revenue per employee, your company wins.  As I’ve pitched before, the great thing about RPE is that whatever you think you excel in as a HR/Talent leader (hiring, training, performance management, etc.), you can use your specialty to get more revenue out of the same total spend on people.
  4. In sports, more wins for the same or less money is the result of good capology. In corporate American, production as measured by more revenue per employee is the equivalent of wins.

The HR Capologist does one of two things:

  1. They do more with the same or less while hiring like they always have – this is what I outline above.  Use what you are good at in HR to get more revenue per employee—it’s real world OD.
  2. They start looking for cheaper talent that can do a lot (proportionally) to what traditional talent can do. Can you find talent that can do 85% of what the incumbent can do for 65% of the cost?  If so, then you’re a natural HR Capologist.

Want to start looking into being an HR Capologist in your current role?  Start publishing Revenue Per Employee numbers and then start having lots of conversations with your operators about how to improve that metric to get more out of the salary cap you’ve been given.

Time to geek it up and let the conversations drive where you go next.