Six steps for developing human capital

As human resources professionals, we are champions for success in our organizations through the best deployment of our people.

In this role, one of our greatest desires is to have supervisors and managers think about their staff as valuable, strategic resources.

How can we help our supervisors and managers identify and build the strategic value of their employees? How can we ensure that our supervisors and managers have the human capital they require to achieve great things? Creating and implementing a human capital management review process within your organization is one way to accomplish this task.

A human-capital management review process provides a systematic assessment of an organization's structure and staffing. It is a method for supervisors and managers to evaluate the readiness of their business units to accomplish their objectives. Often this activity is part of the budget process and provides information that can be very useful to forecast resource needs for staffing and development.

The following topics are usually covered during the human-capital management process:Strategic alignment and business goals

This topic provides an opportunity for HR managers to gain a deeper understanding of the business and its challenges. The purpose is to discuss key initiatives and on-going responsibilities that the manager must deliver through the efforts of their staff. Clarifying the work of the unit and required results establishes the foundation for the rest of the assessment. 

Typical questions:What are the strategic objectives and/or measures that this organization is accountable for?What business goals is this organization working towards this year? What results must be achieved?What measures of success are of concern to the managers? What issues must be resolved?Organization structure

The discussion of the organizational structure is useful to clarify reporting relationships and review span of control. It also provides an opportunity for HR managers to put on their "organizational development" hat and educate managers about the elements of leadership and team dynamics that effect productivity, such as: clear roles and responsibilities, adequate delegation; decision-making authority, workflow, etc.

Typical questions:How is the organization currently organized?How effective is this structure to meet the organization's business objectives? What changes are needed or planned? Will these changes require additional staff or new skills for current staff?Resource plan

This discussion is the heart of the process and may require thoughtful preparation to guide managers through the analysis. The challenge is to step back from the day-to-day work of the unit and think about the organization's strategy for success. Strategic impact leads to priorities. What differentiates you from other similar organizations? What approach is your organization taking to be the best? 


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