The human resource management field is well known for its sudden uptake of interest in sometimes very narrow areas of practice. Unfortunately these spurts of interest feel more like fads than genuine advances in HR thinking. The term ‘human capital’ has recently been given some (possibly fleeting) celebrity status.
For us though, it does not represent a fad. This is well evidenced by the fact that ‘human capital’ has been in our company name for over 20 years—even before the recent widespread adoption of the term. That is why we include ‘human capital’ in our mission statement:
“To create strong working relations with organisations in order to assist them to reach their desired business goals by more effectively managing their human capital.”
The term ‘human capital’ has two different levels of meaning. The following 2001 OECD definition best embodies the meaning of this term at an INDIVIDUAL level:
“The knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being.”
It specifically refers to individual possession of human capital and the development of ‘whole individuals’.
At another POPULATION level, ‘human capital’ is the collection of the skills and knowledge (and attitudes) of all [individual] workers in an organisation or all the people of a nation. Indeed, human capital in this latter sense is increasingly seen as an engine of national economic and social growth and development.
HCA offers services that act in accord with both the individual worker and the total workforce perspectives of human capital. HCA essentially works with an organisation to reduce or eliminate a common cause of any organisation’s under-achievement – an inconsistency between business direction and human capital in workforce numbers and skills mix, individual and collective competence, deployment, mobilisation and motivation (productivity).
We believe building an organisation’s ‘human capital’ consistent with its goal has to be precise in order to reap the desired outcomes. This means getting the link right between the work that has to be done (in order to achieve current and future desired goals) and the specific human capital required.