Human Capital Development

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It can be argued that in organizations real change comes in two forms: development or deterioration. From this perspective, when things change, they either improve or worsen. If they do neither, the question then becomes what kind of change is it that neither makes things better or worse-after all "change for the better" and "change for the worse" are more familiar experiences and concepts than "change that makes no difference" (which nonetheless, in some sense and situations, seems possible, like a change of tie). But, if a chosen personal or organizational change changes nothing, why bother?

Hence, in the management of human capital (or of employees considered as human resources), it is of paramount importance to make sure that:

* Human capital changes to keep abreast of other changes, e.g., technological.

* Human capital changes in accordance with principles and trajectories of talent evolution.

* Static careers designed to be such, e.g., repetitive, routine work, benefit from whatever developmental gains can be afforded them-for example, employee health gains and lifestyle improvements.

* Careers that are static should be reviewed to determine whether they should remain so.

* That changes in human capital are in fact developmental and not cosmetic "change for change's sake".

Challenged to imagine any kind of employment that does not have some dimension or aspect susceptible to development, we are likely to fail to produce even one example. Comparably challenged to imagine jobs that do, we find them to be countless arenas for human capital development.

Human capital development is the process of improving an organization's employee performance, capabilities and resources. If a manager or human resources department were to ask, "What can be done to make employees more productive?" the answer would be considered to fall within the scope of development. Being diverse and comprehensive, human capital development can range from on-the-job training to tuition assistance to team-building activities-not only along any given spectrum (in terms of quantitative and qualitative commitments), but also along multiple spectrums, such as skill development, project management and morale building.

Managers should see that the human resources department is devoting adequate attention to the development of employees. They should also be sure that employees are aware of the development opportunities that are available and are utilizing them. Human resources departments should constantly be create opportunities for staff to grow in their career paths and increase organizational productivity.

Human capital development is vital to the growth and productivity of the organization. The people that make an organization run are an asset to be invested in. If they can become more productive on an individual level through development, the organization in turn will begin seeing productivity gains. In addition, it is sometimes much more cost-effective to develop the people already employed by the organization than it is to recruit and train new people. Further, employees feel more empowered when their organization invests in them, and they feel better about staying with an organization that shows a promising career path and concern for maximizing employee potential and satisfaction.

Development can take many forms. It can be done through coaching, continuing education, job training, leadership training, mentoring, personality assessments, psychometric training, workshops and other means.

In an economy in which technology plays a leading and dominant role, the rapid evolution and deployment of innovative technologies means that to keep up, employees are going to co-evolve, i.e., develop the skills, values and perspectives mastery of these technologies requires. In an age of increasing automation of less skilled jobs and increasing dependency of high-skill careers on rapidly changing technology, workplace niches for static, non-developing employees are all but certain to shrink.
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