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What Human Capital Management is to Me

If you search the internet for the definition of Human Capital/Resources Management, you'll come across a large number of online sources stating more or less the same technical definition.

While all these definitions are right from a technical stand point, they lag behind in terms of defining the soul of the function and its ultimate objective. To me, HCM/HRM has a much deeper meaning, it's the science and art of driving organisational performance and the execution of the business strategy through leveraging the full potential of the organisation's human capital. It's all about the people, meeting their expectations and ensuring they deliver on their commitments to the best of their abilities in order to produce the desired outcome for the organisation and its stakeholders.

The main function of HC is to deal with people and their emotions whilst ensuring focus on the end results, however, dealing with people and their emotions while doing what's best for the business can become very messy! While the complexity of the "messiness" increases when you're in a large organisation with a diverse workforce, it can still be a pain even when working in a small or even homogeneous organisation!

No matter how small or big your role is, when working in HC, you must have good people and customer service skills, simply because your customers are mainly the organisation's human capital whose job in turn is to provide services to the organisation's external customers. Now imagine if those people interact with you and you happen to have no people skills! Things could get indeed very messy! What level or service will they provide? How much attention will they put into their work? What about the quality of work produced? That's exactly why your people skills matter the most!

As an HC professional, you should be able to switch "Hats" as often as required even throughout the same encounter with the same person. Think Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Chirchill, Erik Erikson, Bill Gates, Napoléon Bonaparte, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Che Guevara all at the same time! You got the drift? The reason why is simple, you should be perceived as a credible role model to the whole organisation! This is not an easy task, in fact it's extremely challenging and difficult as it requires a great deal of self-restraint, consciousness, mindfulness, composure as well as the ability to detach yourself emotionally from situations and be agile enough to move from a field mouse to a Rüppell's vulture's perspectives! I'll talk more about this in future posts.

There are different theories or "best practices" about how to successfully structure a human capital function within an organisation. My take on all these different practices is that there is no one best practice as such. Your HC functional structure should be adaptable and flexible in order to adjust to the changing requirements of the business and its people while taking into consideration the capabilities and competencies available in your HC team.

Whether you follow a "Centres of Excellence", a "Generalist" approach or a hybrid of the two, your measures of success are your effectiveness, efficiency, added value and impact on the business in line with its strategy. I have not mentioned the "performance, engagement and satisfaction of your people" on purpose, because when I mention business strategy in the broad line, I assume that you have your people agenda embedded within your HC strategy which in turn is derived from the overall business strategy. If you don't, it means that you have serious work to do in aligning your HC strategy to the business, or if you don't even have a clear HC strategy to begin with (no matter how small your business is) then you're better off starting the work on defining one immediately!

HC for me is an enabler of the business and its people, it's a passion to do your best for the organisation and the team as well as the ability to support the different teams to achieve the vision through living the organisation's values in all duties performed.

I'll be expanding more on some of the ideas here in future posts, for now, I hope the above gave you something different to look into when you think about the HC profession!

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