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Investing in Human Capital Six Phases in Developing the Best Employees

Brad Holt

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The organization's employees are its greatest assets.  Making sure they are poised to excel takes some time and planning even before the employee starts.  According to Dr. Harrington's Book Resource Management Excellence, these six phases will help an HR company in designing, training and keeping employees on the right track.  

Phase 1 - Developing the job description. It is important for each job or function in a company to have a proper job description.  A description needs to define activities and responsibilities that will be performed by the employee.  There should be some sort of education or experience section as well.  Having a proper job description in place will help in the hiring process as well.   

Phase 2 - Defining the Performance Standards More times than not, the job description is set, but the performance standards are left to the imagination; meaning everyone assumes they know what the performance standards are.  Write clear standards for what is expected by the employee.  Make sure the standard are complete and will ensure compliance by all company employees.  It is important for the standards to be reviewed yearly, so all employees know what is expected of them.   

Phase 3 - Selecting the Individual The selection process can be a difficult one at best.  Many times a resume is required to pre screen the applicants.  A phone interview followed by a face-to-face interview makes for a good process to make a decision.  Look for the total package, one that will work well with the selected positions team, fit with the company culture, and will be able to do the work required.  The decision for a potential employee is based on salary, opportunities, environment, and security.    

Phase 4 - Training the Individual Every employee needs to be continually trained to keep up with the changing technology and processes that a company will employee to accomplish the goals and objectives.  Employees that have worked in their present jobs for more than a year should get at least 40 hours of training a year.  If an employee is new to the assignment, then they will require more.  Training is the process where an individual acquires knowledge to do something they were unable to do before.  Training can be formal classroom training or informal on-the-job training.  

 Phase 5 - Feedback After an Employee has been working for a while, it is good for them to receive some feedback from the people they are working for.  Feedback should be constructive in nature in order to not put up barriers between stakeholders and the employee.  Always start with something they are doing well.  Offer some suggestions on improvements.  Finish with another thing they are doing well.    For a well rounded employee they should be encouraged to obtain feedback from customers, suppliers, and other associates.    

Phase 6 - Growing the individual To maximize the investment on human capital it is important for all employees to be able to grow within the company.  The investment costs associated with the other five phases of developing employees can be lost if there is no growth plan in place for its employees.  Based on feedback and work performance the growth of an employee should be steady and visible to the employee.  A stagnant employee is generally not a happy employee.    

Investing in Human Capital has a significant cost.  Selecting, training and growing an employee should be a part of any company's strategic objectives.  Work to make sure that each employee that is hired has a place in the company and a career path that will not only challenge them, but be rewarding as well.  

Brad R. Holt is a project Manager with 12 years of project and program management; focusing on Organizational Excellence and Building Businesses. Brad's dedication to process simplification and change management Defines his work style. Contact Brad at


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