Sunday, May 17, 2015

Human Capital Management

I hate the term "Human Capital Management" (HCM).  This term is used within the industry to sum up the various processes needed to pay people, evaluate performance, promote, retain, etc., all good things. But how could a term consisting of three words be so far off base from its actual mission? More than off base, it's totally demeaning. Let me explain why each word is wrong and when slid together what message it's relaying to me.


Well, at least this is technically accurate. I am human. One particular human. A unique person. I have a name, a birthday, parents, children, hopes and dreams. How often do we greet each other, even someone we don't know, and say "Hi human!"? Like never. No, we say "Hi, my name is ...", a personal invitation to begin engaging in getting to know you. I find the term human offensive except in describing our species.


This one is the worst. It says, from a business view, that I am a purchased asset, in the same classification as a piece of machinery. They own me. Humans that are owned are called slaves. In reality, I am an expense. I cost the company money every month and we have a joint responsibility to create more value with my contributions than I cost.


You don't manage people, you manage business processes, assets and projects. You change those at your desire. You lead people. You establish purpose, clarity and help them change. Leaders tell an exciting, compelling story that people want to be a part of. Leaders know the company needs your ideas and efforts to succeed. They ask for your best, not demand it. Save that management stuff for things.  

Added together "Human Capital Management" tells me "I own you, you faceless biological machine, and you will do as I tell you to do". Lovely, isn't it?  

What’s a better alternative?

Google ditched their “Human Resources” name and changed it to “People Operations”. They call the system their “People Operations Processing System”, or POPS for short. I like the personal touch of “People” that speaks to our uniqueness and individuality, and “Operations”, which talks to the all the processes necessary to process paychecks, attract, retain and promote the best people, and deliver all the compliance and regulatory reporting that’s required. Beats that other name hands down.

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