Karen Higgins, The Co-operators Group: Implementing Social and Human Capital Accounting

Karen Higgins, The Co-operators Group: Implementing Social and Human Capital Accounting


We started our mental health initiative
probably about three years ago and it kind of got born out of a need that we
felt existed within our organisation for our own staff. And like any initiative in
our company it requires a business case – those finance people just require these
things – and that’s what started a partnership between the Project Team, Human Resources, and Finance. So when CPA Canada and obviously our own chapter of A4S decided that we would do our first project on Human and Social
Capital it seemed like such a logical fit to take the guide and utilise the
guide and connect the dots with the initiative that we were doing. And it
really was that – it was a real opportunity to, as I say, put our money
where our mouth is because we talked about people being our most important
resource and that’s what we needed to do – we really needed to invest in our
people. We intuitively knew that there would be benefits of doing this work but
then we had to attach numbers to it. So the cost part of the initiative was kind
of easy, we knew the cost it would take to train our leaders in mental health
support for staff. We knew the various costs associated with resources that
would work on the initiative so the cost piece was kind of easy. The benefits were
the really difficult and that’s the value that finance could bring because
we could think about different ways to attach the benefits to, for example,
reducing the number of claims or reducing the duration of a claim and so
that part was pretty OK. We could work closely with our HR partners on that, but
quantifying the value of our leaders knowing how to support staff through
mental health issues was way more challenging and that required a little
bit of finessing, looking more broadly than our own source of the
information, doing some research and that’s really where you can get that effective
partnership between Finance, HR, Project Team, etc.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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