The measure of knowledge

As an employer you are committed to your employees. Especially in these difficult times when the distance between the employer and employee is likely to be bigger than ever.
Published: May 20 2020

“Meten is weten” – to measure is to know, and the Dutch know it. They were the first with a corporation, a stock exchange, and a central bank. The measurement of manpower, resources and logistics raised a relatively tiny country to a world leader. There is truth is in those three small words.


Senior executives routinely analyze, measure and make decisions over strategic projects and expensive assets but when it comes to health, the simple wisdom of knowing what you’re doing seems to be overlooked.


For example, when we look at the COVID-19 situation, we see a failure to properly measure and communicate about the COVID-19 cases. The real-world consequence has led to confusion over the spread of the virus and resulting in a world-wide pandemic. What if we had measured at the initial outbreak? What if we had measured the infection rate?


We see the ripple of the consequences continuing – governmental and business leaders guessing about what to do. The lack of clarity, lack of testing and lack of measured results, or simply the lack of knowledge, has caused worldwide panic and lockdowns. And worse, the lack of knowledge fueling the the promotion of unproven, untested and ridiculous cures jeopardizing lives.


Corporate wellness and vitality programs provide health benefits to their employees, but where are the objective measurements of the results? The industry seems to be content with subjective, unvalidated satisfaction or participation surveys, but no effort is made to quantify results in measurable, comparable metrics that match the company’s target goals.


Gym subscriptions are common health benefit in many corporate vitality programs. The idea is that gyms are healthy and training improves fitness, but no effort is made to find out whether employees are even going, or whether there is an objective improvement in fitness across the company.


Thousands are spent monthly with no idea whether the investment yielded any results whatsoever. There likely is no other branch of even the laxest corporation that is run on such principles.


Today’s CHRO role requires an infrastructure providing necessary measurement, a true measurement of assessing vitality initiatives and reporting meaningful results.


Employees are a company’s most valued resource. They deserve the same care and attention given to any other corporate initiative. When we help our employees to be their best, they provide their optimal contribution in job performance.


Every health intervention needs core measurable results, with the reliable mechanisms to measure them. Without that measurement, we will be sailing blind not knowing how to adjust our strategic course.


Going forward, the need to avoid dark situations we can’t control is going to have to be a priority. Before any health initiative is planned or taken, tools to accurately measure its success have to be built right into the infrastructure of the corporation.


A couple of surveys tacked on a workshop are a poor man’s excuse for what the most valuable resource in any company deserves. Without the means to establish your organization’s baseline of human capital performance, there might as well not be an attempt to work on the health of your employees.

The tools are out there, provided by few forward-thinking, tech-savvy organizations. They provide meaningful insights and performance breakdowns, repeatable metrics that can help shape the next steps for ever increasingly meaningful health programs.


Just like the Dutch built an empire by navigating stormy seas with cunning and the stars to guide them, building a powerful health platform for corporate citizens can only be accomplished by navigating reliable data points across a stormy sea of bad investments. To measure is to know.



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