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Ignoring human capital is beyond foolish

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Human capital is the most expensive asset that any company has. Years ago many considered employees a cost, a burden to the bottom line.

The emphasis was on cost-cutting to acquiring new technology and not on developing the greatest asset for any organization – its people.

Today good help is not only hard to find it is hard to keep. As mentioned in previous columns, according to Manpower, 83 percent of U.S. employees are seeking new jobs in 2014.

What would you do tomorrow morning if you walked in and discovered 16 of your 20 employees left for greener pastures?

Gallup’s survey and research on U.S. workforce engagement continues to show approximately one in four employees is actively engaged -- giving eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. The other three out of four employees are giving you less than eight hours of work for eight hours of pay.

Take a moment to look at your payroll. Right now 75 percent of your employees are not working eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. What is this costing your bottom line?

Ongoing hiring and recruiting research reveals many applicants cannot pass simple drug tests or background checks. The recruiting, hiring and onboarding processes are very expensive.

Then there are my two personal favorites when it comes to human capital and talent management – training and the dollars. Far too many training programs are absolutely, 100 percent useless and counterproductive.

Drinking from the fire hydrant (one to two days of training) without any additional application or reinforcement is just throwing good money after bad. People need time to digest, to make sense of new knowledge and then practice it to ensure it works for them.

Did you learn all of your arithmetic facts in just one or two days?

Let us remember, we train dogs; we develop people. The only exception to this is learning a new software or new procedure. After learning from the training, then more time should be devoted to further knowledge and skill development with regards to the recent training experience.

Also, the initial training and ongoing development must work with strategic initiatives. How many times are employees trained on new computers or software and the software, for example, arrives six months after the training?

As to the dollars required for training and development, I have lost count of how often I have heard “we don’t have the money to train our people.”

Really, you don’t have the money? Yet your small business has the money to buy new cars, new equipment, new furniture and new technology not to mention all those marketing to organizational consultants. When people are thought of as an expense, a cost and not an investment, the “we don’t have money” will always be the first heard and fallback excuse.

If you really want to take your small business, your professional practice to that next level of sustainable business growth, then stop with the historical foolish behavior of ignoring your greatest asset – your people.

P.S. Shout Out: Berman’s Infiniti of Merrillville and Wheels Unlimited in Valparaiso may have just the right vehicle for you.



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