The Human Capital Manifesto

The Human Capital Manifesto

Intellectual Capitalm ModelOrganisations often say that ‘people are their most important asset’ but most don’t behave as if this really is the case. This manifesto explores why human capital really needs to be taken more seriously. It’s meant as a focus for discussion and debate – please comment, share and adapt as appropriate.

We believe that employees should no longer be considered as resources but as value contributor’s in their own right. Human Resources (HR) should accordingly be re-named Human Capital (HC) and like other forms of capital should be monitored and valued as part of the organisation’s total value.

“Human capital is the stock of competencies, knowledge, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labour so as to produce economic value.” Wikipedia


We believe HC should sit at the board table and help set strategy. HC believe that people are the key drivers of value in any organisation. Developing people and developing the organisation go hand in hand. You can’t do one without the other.


We believe HC have to be commercial. This means understanding how the organisation makes money and spends its money. It means understanding the key metrics that the organisation uses to measure financial success. And it means being able to recognise how HC strategies and tactics impact on those financial metrics. HC is a key element of an organisation’s intangible assets and is therefore a key determinant of an organisation’s market value.


All organisations must ultimately be accountable to their customers. We believe that HC should understand the nature of the customer experience and work to improve it through the organisation’s people whether they work in a direct customer facing role or in a back office function. Customer experience is about customer centricity and this is key to every service or product that we deliver to our customers.

Systems Thinking

HC must be connected, joined up and integrated. It must work across silos and see the organisation as a living interconnected system. Working with other functions (e.g. operations, marketing etc.) to improve the overall system is the ultimate goal of HC.

“Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization “healthy” or “unhealthy”.” Wikipedia


The modern workplace has flatter structures resulting in more autonomous workers and these smart workers need smarter support from HC. People now want to take control of their own development. HC must switch from organising and delivering training courses to scaffolding a broad range of learning interventions that are open and accessible in the workflow. HC need to move from directing to orchestrating.


HC believe that the time has finally come for the learning organisation. We believe that learning in all its myriad forms (formal, informal and social) should be in the DNA of our organisations. Only by being a true learning organisation can we succeed in today’s global knowledge economy.

“Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to learn.” Peter Senge


We believe social media is a catalyst for change, changes to the ways we work and the ways we engage with our colleagues and customers. We believe that our organisations must have social in their DNA.


We believe that we should be true to our values and adopt an open and transparent approach to our interactions with colleagues, partners and customers.


We believe that HC must look for creative and innovative solutions to business performance problems. HC must inspire and innovate and lead by example.


HC need to embrace technology and use it appropriately. We must be comfortable and adept at procuring and using technology to aid human performance improvements. We believe HC will have increasing ownership of technology and not defer all technology decisions to IT.


We believe that evaluation and analytics are the best way to guide our development efforts. If it makes a difference we can measure it, evaluate it and review future strategy and tactics based on our measurements. What gets measured gets done.

FLAT: to be on a level surface, not in a hierarchy ARMY: a large group of people who share similar aims or beliefs FLAT ARMY: an unobstructed flow of corporate commonality.

Dan Pontefract’s Flat Army

Download a PDF version of The Human Capital Manifesto

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