Your labour costs are your biggest ones. The other side of that coin, however, is the recognition that your people are your most important asset. Both of these apply to really any industry you care to name.
The goal for any business should be to bring high-quality people on board, help them develop their skills, show them that they are appreciated, and make the best use of all that they have to offer. Below are some training programs organizations should keep in mind to help convert their human potential into human capital.
Project Management Training
Every business utilizes and implements techniques and competencies from project management, regardless of whether it is done formally or informally. Project management requires a high degree of analytical ability, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, time management and strategic thinking.
One of the best things an organization can do is to determine who their high performers are and offer them opportunities to study and learn formal project management skills which they can then apply on the job. This can be tied in with talks of career advancement, international placement and a variety of other incentives. Conversely, if you are a prospective employee, consider the variety of ways you might leverage a well-respected project management program.
Operations Management Training
Like project management, operations management involves holistic knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of and familiarity with all business functions. This includes research and development, sales and marketing, HR, legal, accounting and any other industry-specific functions.
There are many operations management training programs out there, and all of them are centred around generating productivity and responding to a constantly changing global business environment. Organizations stand to gain a tremendous amount from accurately identifying high performers and providing them with educational opportunities to improve their ability to lead and grow within the company.
Cross-Cultural Management Training
21st-century business is global, which means both a global workforce and market, both labour and industry. To flourish in this environment, managers need to know how to interact with and make meaningful connections with people from a wide range of different cultural backgrounds. There are nuances to business in different places that are important to know and consider when operating internationally.
These programs can be implemented in anticipation of an international move (such as a merger or acquisition), or an international placement of a key employee. Or, they can be done as industries change to reflect new market dynamics–competition, ownership, supply chains etcetera.
Many large and medium-sized companies spend a lot of time, effort and money developing rotational programs for their star employees. These programs are often internationally focused, and provide candidates with exposure to most, or all facets of the business, priming them for eventual leadership positions which require a holistic knowledge of operations.
Job rotations, when paired with classroom learning, are often shown to be one of the most effective ways for an organization to build future leaders. You want your people to have deep insight into as many facets of your business as possible, and you accomplish this by formal learning and on-the-job exposure.
You want to give your employees, and especially your top talent, the opportunity to work with and be mentored by other top talent–people with experience and seniority who can help them hone their skills and realize their potential.
One of the most meaningful things that can happen in the career of an ambitious, hard-working, talented person is for a similar person with more experience to take an interest in them and their career. Mentorship programs are usually the norm at large, highly-successful organizations but are scalable at any level.
Graduate-Level Education and Certifications
In industries that require specialized educations–STEM, for instance–formal education not only qualifies one for the job, but more education is often directly correlated with an employee’s potential. It is common at organizations that have the budget for such programs to offer to pay for an employee’s graduate degree or advanced studies or certification with the expectation that, once graduated/certified, the employee will bring their expertise back to the company.
Another common program is for talented employees in highly technical fields who show leadership and executive potential to be offered the opportunity to add more holistic business administration skills to their repertoire. This often takes the form of an organization offering to pay for an employee’s MBA, again with the expectation that they will bring their new acumen back to the company following successful completion of the program.
Human capital is not only something you search for externally, but something that is nurtured and developed from within. How a company stewards their most valuable assets–their people–is one of the most predictive measures of future success. Build your human capital from the ground up and provide your people with opportunities to develop professionally and add value.