Human Capital is Top Global Challenge for 2013

The Conference Board CEO Challenge that surveys CEOs, presidents, and chairmen across the globe to identify their most critical challenges, has resulted in Human Capital being the top challenge fort his year. Multiple pieces of the puzzle come in place.

Human Capital tops, second is Operational Excellence and then Innovation. This is interesting as the Human Capital is the most sustainable and unique asset that an organization has. These sort of researches sustain, confirm and re-align focus on the right things.

Human capital is broad, in Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2013 report , the company mentions that leaders are tasked to meet high expectations for performance and talent.

The seven trends according to Deloitte are:

  1. Thinking like an economist
  2. The open talent economy
  3. Innovating the talent brand
  4. Creating an elastic workplace
  5. Finding the silver lining in the talent gap
  6. Debunking the Superman Myth
  7. The performance management puzzle

What I find interesting in the figure is the Importance and Unpreparedness of being able to build a learning organization. This whilst I believe that the learning organization is the ultimate competitive advantage fueled by the human capital.

Jack Welch said “an organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” The learning organization facilitates the abovementioned competitive advantage, it empowers employees, it enriches and enhances the customer experience and collaboration with key business partners and ultimately boosts business performance. Read further what the main characteristics are and how technology amplifies the learning organization.

The reason why the workforce is your only real competitive advantage is because people are unique. People do not experience the same things. Organizations that say that employees are replacable –and act according to it by not giving them the appropriate attention and engagement- are missing the point.

The point is that with a group of engaged people that believe in a shared vision are resilient, are agile and through collaboration are able to adapt accordingly. I’ve seen and been in both positive and toxic work environments and there’s a big competitive opportunity.

Shared vision, team learning extends to the outside world as well, think of key business partners. We believe that professionals, teams and organizations can improve their commercial results in a significant and sustainable way through a deeper engagement with their colleagues, customers and key stakeholders.

Performance output

Leaderships skills are important, a research by Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network shows a high correlation between leaders with strong emotional intelligence capabilities and high performance.

Some key findings from the research:

  • For individual managers, the study showed that emotional intelligence scores accounted for nearly half (47 percent) of the variation in managers’ performance scores.
  • Emotional intelligence predicts 76 percent of the variation in organizational engagement.
  • The plants studied that had higher organizational engagement achieved higher bottom-line results and a significant drop in employee turnover rate of 63 percent.

Massimiliano Ghini, a professor of management at Alma Graduate School in Italy, said the study is important because it links three critical variables:

This is one of the first studies showing the link between the individual leader’s emotional intelligence, the impact on organizational climate and how that drives performance.

I think there is accumulating data, evidence and focus on the human capital, and the professional and teams are being put where it needs to be, at the center of the organization.

Image credit: The Conference Board