I should say this is the final part of this series, which in one sense it is. Yet those of you who are true business partners now will know only too well that this game called ‘learning’ never ends. So I would ask you to view this as another opportunity for a new beginning. This time though it is a very different game called Human Capital Management (HCM) and you will only be able to understand the rules and take part if you are already a premiership player.
The term ‘human capital’ goes back at least to Gary Becker in the 1960’s but only now is it really igniting significant interest in both the business and governmental communities.
Much of the current interest is in measuring human capital and establishing a means for reporting on it, just as any company currently produces its annual report for shareholders and investment analysts. What has been conspicuous by its absence so far though is any meaningful way of reporting on the value created by training and developing human capital and the wider impact of organisational learning.
Although some observers just see this as HR in different clothing don’t be fooled or slip into complacency for one moment. HCM might take some time to get off the ground but it is here to stay.
Moreover, one significant difference in HCM is that the people asking the tough questions are hard-nosed financial people and government ministers. Happy sheets and employee surveys will not answer their questions. There has to be a clear, causal connection between learning and organisational value. Value has to have £ signs attached and only business partners who have tried out some of the ideas in this series will be in a position to start doing this.
On a more positive note, HCM really does offer the profession a chance to attain a status that it has always sought; on an equal footing with lawyers and accountants. Hopefully, for those who get HCM right, the rewards that go with that status should also be on offer.
No this is not the really the end of the series - just watch this space…