small change: you are not a human capital asset


small change 


Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs. You can see the full index HERE.

Blog 17 small change: you are not a human capital asset

small change

Seven principles

Principle 2

Your job is

  • a joint venture
  • for a period,
  • increasingly brief

Blog 17  small change: you are not a human capital asset

you are not a human capital asset

You are not a human capital asset. No one is.

Check your body. Any barcodes?

Check your organisation’s Asset Register. Are you on it, with an annual straight-line depreciation?

Is “Human Capital” on your organisation’s balance sheet?

No, to all of the above. Of course not. If they could, accountants would have found a way by now. But they haven’t because they can’t.

Human capital doesn’t exist. Never has. Never will. No amount of metaphorical mind-bending will change that fact. No organisation “owns” you.

Of course, you are – technically speaking – a human resource to the extent that you are human and you are a resource to your organisation.

But people see themselves as neither human capital assets nor human resources and that’s what counts.

Once, when facilitating a workshop with a group of Human Resources Directors (HRDs) I asked for “hands up if you love being a human resource”.

No hands.

I believe HRDs should change their titles to Chiefs of Staff and support and repatriate responsibility for creating an environment in which people in your organisation thrive to the CEO, where it rightly belongs.

Your small change task, should you wish to accept it:

Don’t use the term human capital, which has no place in an environment, society and governance (ESG) compliant organisation; support your HRDs in becoming Chiefs of Staff and remind your CEO, if required, that he or she is responsible for “human resources”.

You are not a human capital asset nor, in ESG terms, are you a human resource. You are a micro-business wholly owning your own career equity:

  • your curriculum vitae (CV)
  • emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • and reputation (PR).

Your job is a joint venture with the other micro-businesses in your organisation for a term. These terms are becoming increasingly brief. That you can count on.

Your organisation exists only in law. Otherwise, it’s a construct.

Some say: “our people are our greatest asset”. No. They’re not yours. They’re not assets.

If you feel so strongly about them then demonstrate that you value them as people by calling them, er, people.

People. A grand word.

Ciarán Fenton

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