Human capital is a concept of the area of the economy that tries to analyze and define one of the factors of production, which does not depend exclusively on quantity, but will also depend on its quality. Therefore, when we refer to the concept of human capital, we are referring to something more than the group of people that makes up the organization.

It is the people who, with their training level, competences and abilities to develop those functions that are proper to a job, will be able to vary the efficiency and the results that the company is going to achieve. In this sense we can consider essential factors of the productive process to:

– Human capital.

– The capacity to develop the functions of a company.

– The technology used.

– Economic capital available to the organization

– System of organization and style of direction that is used.

Davenport would establish a series of factors to refer to the human capital of the organization:

– Competencies. Those characteristics that the individual possesses and that allow him to confront with guarantees of success the task to undertake.

– Behavior. The individual’s way of acting when executing the activities of the position he occupies.

– Effort. The way in which the person consciously applies his physical, mental and intellectual resources. In this section can also be valued aspects such as ethics and values used by the person in the execution of the functions of their job.

On the other hand, we must observe the way in which Linda Gratton referred to human capital. Gratton stated that three spheres should be considered when referring to the human capital of organizations:

Intellectual capital. It is the key factor for a company. The way in which a company is able to harness and use the intellectual capital of its people will determine the results it achieves, both in economic terms and in terms of the satisfaction of the users to whom the activity is directed.

Emotional capital. It is the one that arises from the emotional intelligence of the people who make up the organization. Thus, aspects such as motivation, effort, the establishment of networks between the different social groups of the company, perseverance and the working climate, among others, will depend on emotional intelligence.

Social capital. It is the set of internal and external relations that are produced as a consequence of the interaction of people. The proper orientation of social capital will be key to the orientation to innovation.

There are two activities that are traditionally considered to generate human capital: health and training.

When an individual invests in education and/or health, he does so in the hope of developing and increasing his human capital. The investment in education or even in health, an organization can never consider it as a private good of the person, since all this investment ends up reverting in what the person does in the company in which he works. 

If an individual invests in university education, it is expected that his or her performance level will improve and therefore, it is also expected that personal and social incomes will improve.

It is easy to understand that those organizations that bet on the development of people, that is, on the development of their human capital are called to be not only successful organizations, but also sustainable organizations.

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