Re-Imaging the notion of Human Capital

Published: 03 November 2021

There’s been a material shift in how organisations view their people over the past two difficult years.  A much greater focus is applied to humanistic holistic wellbeing and life is now perceived as one single compartment.


The gap between personal and work life became blurred and has subsequently merged.  Time management has shifted from 08:00 to 17:00 to always on or whatever, whenever works.  These monumental shifts have caused a shift in how organisations manage change and performance, people have high levels of ‘warning’ resistance, they never have reacted well to warnings and their resistance has become a form of rebellion post the pandemic.  There are also high levels of ‘transition flux’ and ‘languishing’, both emotions most of us have never encountered and never had to overcome.  The question must be how does one go about obtaining behaviour change that will realise organisational change?

Research shows that, as humans, we’re drawn to and absorb positive information with ease, not so with negative information.  This simple notion is somehow lost on organisations when they’re motivating for change, the fall-back position is often in the shape of a warning or veiled threat.

Warnings have little influence on behaviour change.  We change our beliefs and behaviours based on desirable positions.  Bottom line - Fear induces inaction, the thrill of a gain promotes action.  Consider your own actions – look at mail messages for instance, if you know that a message may be negative you either move it to another folder or leave it till last.  If you have a suspicion that the message may contain positive information you read it first. 

Use these principles to promote change in behaviour that will affect the desired state –

  • Provide social incentives – what are our peers doing and how do we measure up to them
  • Offer Immediate rewards – everyone wants recognition for their efforts
  • Monitor and share progress – focus on the progress not the decline, by providing this we also feel we have control

Leaders in business need to re-think and re-image their approach to Human Capital.  A transformative approach, moving from mechanistic practices, needs to shift to Humanistic practices to ensure enhanced performance and retention of talent.  A different set of skills is required to understand human behaviours, AQ (Adaptability Quotient) and motivation methodologies, does your HC team have them?  

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