As with most entrepreneurs, trying to launch a successful business is a challenge. There are more questions than answers, and one setback after another to knock you off course. However, if you, as an entrepreneur, can get one thing right, you will thrive. That one thing is your people. Your “human capital.” That’s your guiding light, your “North Star” that will keep moving you forward.
First, an effective human capital strategy begins with establishing the right kind of culture. Whether your corporate culture is created by design or evolves organically, it’s the foundation for everything else. Articulate what kind of workplace you’d like to create. What is it like for employees to work there? How do they feel when they walk through the door in the morning and when they leave at the end of the day? Your answers to these questions will shape your mission and values statement, which is the founding document of your culture. It’s a statement of the principles that will underpin your business as it expands and evolves.
These culture statements aren’t just empty verbiage. They provide a way for you to check yourself if you think your organization is drifting off track. Ask, “Are we living out our values every day? In how we engage with the public and with each other? And at every level of the company, from the CEO to the college intern?”
Naturally, a good human capital strategy also depends on hiring and retaining the best people. “Best” means not just who is most qualified, but also who makes a good fit—people who meld with your culture and who will lift up, motivate, and bring out the best in those around them.
At the same time, your people will choose your company because of your human capital management approach. People want to work where they are appreciated, respected, and given a chance to excel. They want to be part of something great. The best companies are those that have developed a reputation for good human capital management; it becomes part of their identity. Prospective employees respond strongly to that. This is especially advantageous when you are trying to attract talented people whom you otherwise couldn’t afford. Employees will sometimes forego a higher salary if it means they can work for an organization where human capital is front and center.
Combining your business strategy with a purposeful human capital strategy as your North Star is a force multiplier for business success. For more human capital management strategies, check out my book, Take Care of Your People: The Enlightened CEO’s Guide to Business Success