Many business leaders often grapple with the challenges of human capital or people management. While it is tempting to hire someone to solve the problem, the success of any HR-related interventions is largely hinged on having the right conditions. Much like the analogy of a plant that can only grow well with the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients, people-related challenges can only be solved when the underlying conditions are set right.

What are these conditions?

1. Leader views people as assets, not costs.

By asset, it means that there is a need for investment for anyone to reap the returns over a longer time horizon. Leaders that view human capital as a cost would display behaviours that run against the very essence of employee engagement, e.g. leaders who hire and fire based on cyclical needs generally result in an employer-employee relationship that is transactional.

2. Leader genuinely wants to improve the lives of his workers.

Leaders who truly care would be able to touch their people, sometimes in a miraculous way. Over time, people would no longer remember what you say or do, but they will remember the experience of how you made them feel.

3. The organisation wants to grow.

Collectively, the organisation must be constantly charting pathways to grow to the next level. People want to work in a company that grows, so they can enjoy higher rewards and professionally develop further. The intent of wanting to grow is often more important than the actual result of growth.

4. The organisation belongs to everyone.

Business leaders must act in a way to ensure the organisation has a life of its own, and that people indeed feel belonged to the organisation. When everyone in the team takes ownership, there is no reason why the organisation cannot outperform its competitors.


The above excerpt is our weekly compilation of ideas for business leaders in the areas of people management, leadership, and workplace happiness. 

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