Most leaders have an understanding that their business will only go as far as their people can take them. Yet, how many have human capital strategies in place that help them realize the full potential of their company and people? In this post, I’d like to share 10 human capital strategies that we use at Insperity to empower our people and maintain the health of the company well into the future.
Strategy #1: Develop a strong culture.
A company’s culture is the foundation of its human capital strategy. It sets the tone of the organization, influences how employees engage with each other and with clients, and it helps define the company’s brand. Create a strong culture that reflects the values (integrity, respect, innovation, etc.) that are important to you, and then find actionable ways to live it and show it so it’s a functional part of the organization and not merely an idea.
Strategy #2: Finding, hiring, and keeping the best.
If people are the company’s greatest asset, then cultivating that asset requires a shrewd recruitment and retention strategy. It’s not just about salary. You can attract—and keep—top talent by touting a strong benefits package as well as “intangibles” like a healthy, positive workplace environment and opportunities for professional growth.
Strategy #3: Attaining executive alignment.
Alignment means everyone is moving in sync—with each other, and with the organization as a whole. At the executive level, find people you work well with, but don’t just hire people who think like you. Surround yourself with leaders who complement your own strengths and weaknesses.
Strategy #4: Playing defense.
Legal compliance and employer liability is a minefield for companies of any size, and violating regulations (intentionally or otherwise) can be devastating to a business’s finances and morale. The best strategy here is to enlist the help of a specialist, someone who can expertly navigate the ever-shifting regulatory tides to protect you from problems before they arise.
Strategy #5: Training—tap into homegrown resources.
Training need not rely on outside resources such as paid seminars. Draw on the strengths of your own workforce; allow your own people to lift each other up. On-the-job training, supervisory instruction and mentoring, and in-house lectures given by experts on your staff are effective and often less costly than conventional professional development programs.
Strategy #6: Enterprise-wide technology that provides a comprehensive solution.
There are two basic approaches to HR technology: “a la carte” point solutions, or all-in-one enterprise-wide human capital management (HCM) platforms. An enterprise-wide approach might seem expensive, but it often ends up saving money (and time and labor costs) because it’s scaled throughout the whole organization. A hodgepodge of point technologies can be more trouble than they’re worth.
Strategy #7: For owners and investors, do your HR due diligence.
When you’re investing in a SMB, or selling a stake in your own company, human capital concerns are almost always overlooked when appraising the organization’s health. But human capital should be evaluated on equal footing with financial metrics and growth outlook.
Strategy #8: Practice servant leadership.
There are many styles of leadership a CEO can practice, but servant leadership’s bottom-up orientation (whereby the people on top work for the benefit of everyone else) is ideal for inspiring (and not merely motivating) people. Rather than relying on coercive methods, servant leadership is cooperative in nature and grants people the freedom to take risks, innovate, and learn from mistakes, thus eliciting above-and-beyond discretionary effort from employees.
Strategy #9: Keep the door open.
Good communication is the “pressure valve” that eases conflict before it explodes. Communicate candidly and regularly with employees, and provide them an outlet to communicate with the executives too. An open door policy (supplemented with a formal grievance procedure) is strategically wise.
Strategy #10: The power of conviction.
“Conviction” can be a nebulous concept, but its impact on the organization is very real. Leaders who cultivate and demonstrate conviction—having faith in themselves and an unswerving belief in the mission—possess an infectious power that inspires others to believe too.
For deeper detail on the 10 human capital strategies that can take your business to the next level, read my book, Take Care of Your People: The Enlightened CEO’s Guide to Business Success.