Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does it really matter what we call what we do?


So I have caught my share of people who were unhappy with me using the term "human capital." My general perspective has been to "virtually" shrug my shoulders and think to myself...Who cares what it is called? If it is us...then get over it. Our bosses don't care...they just care about results.

We expend so much energy on debating what we should call what we do...that we forget what the real goal is...getting quality people to come and stay in our organizations and fuel the organization's success.

At the end of the day we can call it any of the following things...

Human Resources
Talent Management
Social Capital
Human Capital
Coherent Human Infrastructure

It really doesn't matter...all that matters is our cumulative efforts enabling the business or mission success of our organizations.

So a little less bickering about the name for what we do and a little more focus on what is important...the people and the results they bring to the organization.

Nuff Said!



  1. Hi Keith
    How are you? Saw this yesterday, but had to skip. I've seen a lot of this anti 'human capital' tag of late. Soon to be tumbleweed humanities students hate it: http://www.dailytitan.com/2010/12/06/human-capital-talk/ as well as many (I have them if you like) others. My counter is sure, I hate the word capital too. Dehumanising, sure. But the irony is that under this banner we're trying to do precisely the opposite of reducing people to zeros and ones, as they currently are. Yep, we might need - and I hope we will get a new language better suited to our task - http://www.hpa-group.com/blog/item/118-boldly-go-where-no-hr-has-gone-before but until we can talk the new talk, at least we're moving.

  2. Hi Stuart...First...Thanks for engaging on this topic...

    My concern with our profession, is the work is more important than what we call it...We should focus time and energy there first.


  3. it does matter. language is everything. The language we use evokes frames of meaning within people's brain. What matters is that we evoke the desired frames. See: http://www.minessence.net/eZine/view.aspx?issue=46