Meeting the Human Capital Challenge

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The Conference Board is just out with its “CEO Challenge 2014.” The report is based on a survey of over a thousand CEOs, presidents, and chairman from around the world. What’s the top challenge for those folks? It’s “Human Capital — how best to develop, engage, manage, and retain talent.”

Well, of course. If you don’t get the people part right it’s hard to get any of the other parts right. The problem is that after naming “human capital” as their top challenge, most of those executives and their companies won’t do anything very much different.

Oh sure, there’ll be some tinkering around the edges. Maybe the company will introduce a new recognition scheme or gamify (if there is such a word) some aspect of work. But for most people the significant things that make up their work experience won’t change much.

I think that’s because developing, engaging, managing, and retaining talent is both big and non-specific. So I’ve developed some simple questions that may lead to some positive, specific action.

What will you do to make sure that everyone who works at your company has the maximum control possible over their work life?

How will you help the people who work at your company grow and develop? What resources will be available to everyone?

Will you select, train, supervise, and support your managers so they help the people on their teams make a little progress every day?

What will you do to make your company a friendly and human place to work? How will you deal with people who poison the well of civility?

Boss’s Bottom Line

Creating a great place to work is less about sophisticated programs and schemes and more about the little things you do every day to support people and help them succeed.

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