Investing in human capital to co-create business success

Investing in human capital to co-create business success

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Roslyn Ten, general manager, Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), calls out the need to see your employees as capital rather than resources that can be replaced.

In recent years, we have witnessed the confluence of rapid technological disruptions, globalisation, and demographic changes. These changes have led our government to prioritise skills development to give our workers a leg up to adapt to an economy which is increasingly going digital.

Employers are not spared in this digital age as well. Many face a multitude of challenges including the continual impact of disruptive innovation on industries and jobs, as well as the growing diversity and needs of the workforce. Joanna Barclay, CEO, Culture Leadership Group, and author of Conscious Culture echoed the same thoughts. According to her, organisations today are dealing with complex, unprecedented change that is stretching systems and people beyond anything experienced in the past¹.

As an employer, how can you address these multiple issues? The key to this is to see your employees as a capital rather than a resource that can be replaced. By rethinking your organisation's approach to human resources and developing your employees' capabilities, employers can gain a competitive edge and be at the forefront of today's innovation-driven and knowledge-based economy.

To help employers realise the importance of developing human capital, TAFEP is organising the Conference for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices on 27 April 2018 where our distinguished speakers, including Ms Barclay, will present interesting findings to support the need to "Invest in Our Human Capital to Co-create Business Success".

People are at the heart of any business, and employers must realise this, and adopt a people-centric approach. Gone are the days where employees are driven only by a desire for financial independence and the pursuit of success. More today are seeking better work-life integration and fulfilling careers that can help them to grow in both their professional and their personal life.

While bringing in the best people is an important first step in talent management strategy, bringing out the best in them is just as important.

Employers must therefore re-think about the way they work, their human resource practices, and how to invest in their people, to allow for a more flexible, forward-looking, and mobile workforce that will contribute to their business success.

How do we succeed by investing in our employees?

One way is to look into your organisation’s overall human capital development, identify skills gaps, and strengthen the transfer of expertise. While bringing in the best people is an important first step in talent management strategy, bringing out the best in them is just as important.

To do this, firms can provide new hires and other employees opportunities to learn and grow by including overseas postings and rotations across different corporate functions. These rotations will equip them with the skills to do their current job competently and at the same time, prepare them for leadership roles later in their careers.

Apart from investing time in building up employees' values and skills to future-proof your workforce for the changing business landscape, progressive companies often look ahead at anticipated changes to the economy and their industries. This includes facilitating work-life needs which has become more pressing given the complexity of life demands on individuals.

In addition, they take time to reflect on leading business trends to incorporate them into their strategic considerations. Our study of 26 pro-work-life companies also revealed that companies with work-life programmes tend to have strong leadership support for work-life, enabling HR policies, as well as a workplace culture based on trust and performance-orientation. All of these have enabled employees to manage their work responsibilities alongside their personal goals more effectively.

The best companies to work for are those that implement high-tech, high-touch, personalised career development strategies.

As pointed out in our study, the importance of implementing an inclusive workplace culture is anaspect that organisations need to look at to succeed in this digital age. This requires commitment from the highest level— corporate leaders. These people are pivotal in driving the vision and strategic direction to creating a sustainable inclusive environment. This is critical for building a culture of trust and collaboration. The leaders’ convictions and behaviours will instil a sense of pride within employees to work alongside with the company to drive business success.

Beyond that, they place emphasis on building good relations with their employees using a mix of channels e.g. townhall and chat-with-CEO sessions to reach out to employees in a targeted manner, allowing for sharing in either an open or confidential setting. Indeed, the best companies to work for are those that implement high-tech, high-touch, personalised career development strategies, according to our conference speaker, Mara Swan, executive vice president, global strategy and talent, ManpowerGroup².

Great workplaces do not happen overnight. They are built through the day-to-day relationships that employees experience and organisations that do so will reap business benefits associated with high employee engagement— higher productivity, lower turnover, and increased innovation.

While it's clear that more are recognising the need to adopt fair and progressive practices, much work remains to be done for employers to understand how valuable people are to one's organisation's continued success. Organisations that see their people as an "asset" instead of a "resource" will reap the most benefits than those who don't.

Photo / StockUnlimited

[1] Case Study: Departmental Cultural Transformation, Conscious Culture, Joanna Barclay, 2015 [2] Right Person, Wrong Role, ManpowerGroup, October 2017

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