HCM is not a ‘derogatory’ term when properly applied

For two weeks in succession, your ‘Top Job’ contributors have cited the term ‘human capital management’ (HCM) as their most annoying piece of management jargon.

“We deal with people, not human capital,” they exclaim. Well, of course we deal with people, but so does a doctor or a police officer, so we need to be clear about the organisational context.

The term HCM reminds us that people represent a very important form of capital – perhaps the most significant of all. And as an expression, it’s no worse than ‘talent management’, or even ‘human resources’ – although it risks being hijacked by individuals to re-badge the HR or personnel function.

Used properly, the term HCM needn’t de-humanise people at all – in fact, being seen as a creator of value is much more meaningful than simply being labelled a ‘resource’. Let’s call it ‘people capital’ if it helps – but don’t dismiss HCM as a framework for thinking about people management.

Steve Foster, Manager, HR business strategy, Northgate HR

Comments are closed.