Is Your Organization Ready for the SEC’s Human Capital Reporting Rules?

Guest author John R. Mattox, II, Ph.D., VP of People Analytics, Action Learning Associates, LLC

I doubt that your team is ready for the SEC. Let me explain.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) currently requires publicly traded companies to report ONLY ONE metric about human capital: number of employees.  Human Capital is their biggest expense. For investors, that ONE METRIC does not provide adequate information about an organization’s most profitable intangible resource- human capital. For HR and business leaders, that one metric is NOT SUFFICIENT to monitor and manage the workforce effectively.

Human Capital metrics are essential to 1) manage the workforce and 2) drive business value.

On August 26, 2020 the SEC revised its rule on Human Capital Reporting.  Anything that has a “material influence on the operations and profitability of the organization should be reported.”

Privately-owned businesses WILL follow publicly-traded organizations. They always have.

A wide range of human capital metrics will apply.  Thankfully, there is a well-researched and comprehensive framework for measuring and reporting human capital metrics.  We can help your team immediately.

The International Standards Organization, (ISO) which has improved product quality and consistency around the globe with ISO 9000, has developed a NEW standard for sharing meaningful measures of human capital called ISO 30414. You need to know about it.

The ISO 340414 standard outlines 11 areas that organizational leaders should measure and report on various aspects of your workforce.  The purpose is to give investors insights into the people-side of the business.  Equally as important, ISO 30414 gives the c-suite a standard set of metrics to monitor and manage to improve the organization.

What are the Human Capital Measures?

The ISO standard contains 11 general reporting areas which are listed below:

  • Compliance and ethics
  • Costs
  • Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Organizational culture
  • Organizational health, safety, and well-being
  • Productivity
  • Recruitment, mobility, and turnover
  • Skills and capabilities
  • Succession planning
  • Workforce availability

Along with these reporting areas, the new ISO 30414 standard provides specific metrics and recommended ways to calculate each of these measures. 

You can expect updates to definitions and calculations in the coming years as practitioners adopt and apply these ISO 30414 standards. We can help you.

Back to my question: Is Your Organization Prepared?

The question for you is simple:  Are you ready?  I doubt it.

Is your organization ready to adopt this ISO 30414 framework, measure your workforce, take action to improve your organization, and also report that information internally and externally as needed? I doubt it.

If you have an HR analytics team, there is a good possibility that you can analyze and report some or even all of these metrics.  If you do not have an analytics team, your system administrators might be able to cabal together a representative set of measures. But you will still require our help.

Based on the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends study (2020), 85% of those surveyed think people analytics will be a dominant function in human resources in the coming years.  Yet, 55% of those surveyed say they “still need help putting basic people analytics into practice.”

Nearly half of all organizations are not prepared for ISO 30414 human capital reporting.

Sadly, I doubt that your team or organization is ready for the SEC. We can help you.

Is Human Capital Reporting Required?

This is a simple question that has a complex answer.  The current answer is “no.”  The SEC does not require publicly traded companies to report anything more than the number of employees.  However, other countries like Germany are requiring extensive HC reporting and they are basing their efforts on the ISO 30414 standard. Dave Vance, the Executive Director of the Center for Talent Reporting (, recently published an article in CLO Magazine describing when the SEC will require human capital reporting.  The current answer is that the SEC is likely to require publicly traded companies to report “material information”—meaning anything that an investor would find valuable when considering buying a security.  That is very broad language and will likely encompass all Human Capital measures. 

The ISO 30414 provides a useful framework, valuable metrics, and informative calculations and will likely serve as a guide for future organizations. We recommend that YOU adopt these measures today.


Most organizations are not prepared today to augment current public financial statements about the health of their company with information about human capital.  However, information about “material influencers of the business including human capital” are now required by the SEC for publicly traded companies.   

ALL organizations need to prepare for ISO 30414 compliance.  You will soon be required to leverage internal resources like analytics groups, HR systems, and standard measurement processes. 

Most business leaders will need to hire external consultants like Action Learning Associates, with expertise with HR analytics and the ISO 30414 standard. Not only will you need to be compliant with new SEC rules, you will be able to recommend solutions to your c-suite leadership team. Your biggest expense is Human Capital. Soon you will be required to manage your investments in people and improve all aspects of your Human Capital business. Why wait?

Call us TODAY to get started.

John Mattox, PhD and Doug Gray, PhD can be reached at contact us or 615.236.9845.