Although investors search for useful human capital metrics, few companies provide them. In their place companies offer platitudes such as “people are our most important asset.” Fortunately, there are exceptions, and they may be harbingers of a new era of human capital reporting. National City Corporation is one of them. National City is among the largest banks in the United States, with assets in excess of $100 billion. Its chairman and CEO, David Daberko, went far beyond platitudes in his letter to
As part of our R&D effort, Douglas D. Dwyer
This relationship between plant productivity and market value holds even after one accounts for other known drivers of a firm’s market value, such as its physical and financial assets and its investments in R&D and advertising. This indicates that there are other reasons for differences in plant productivity, one of them being human capital management. That is, systematic differences between plants in their human capital and the way they manage it contribute to productivity and shareholder value. 
Another highly regarded bank, First Tennessee National Corporation, briefs financial analysts about human capital issues. Believing that its people practices are a source of competitive advantage, First Tennessee shares detailed human capital data with analysts, including the linkage between the retention of
Third-party information vendors have begun to supplement the trickle of human capital data released by corporations. That information is narrowly focused, however, on corporate governance and the management of high-level employees. Interest in that information has risen dramatically in the wake of the heavily publicized scandals at Enron and WorldCom. These
Although substantive reporting of human capital practices remains more the exception than the rule in U.S. companies, in Europe the reporting of human capital indicators is becoming required, often as part of a broader obligation to report social, ethical, and environmental indicators. France currently requires such reporting, Denmark will implement similar requirements in 2005, and the United Kingdom has the matter under consideration.
Although no similar legislation is on the horizon for U.S. companies, it is worth noting that some U.S. regulatory and
 Human Capital Management: The CFO’s Perspective. Boston: CFO Publishing Corp., 2003, 13.
 Douglas, Dwyer, “Plant-level Productivity and the Market Value of a Firm,” Discussion Paper, CES 01-3, Center for Economic Studies, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, June, 2001.