BY OLUFEMI ADEDAMOLA OYEDELE
Human resource is the most important asset of any corporate organisation. Human resource is the set of people who make up the workforce of an organisation, business sector, industry, nation or economy. Human capital is a concept used by economists and social scientists to designate personal attributes considered useful in the production process. It encompasses employee knowledge, skills, know-how, good health, and education, to name a few. Human capital directly correlates with the performance of organisations. Majority of successful business organisations invest substantially in research and development, employees’ training and skill acquisition, employees’ health and safety and organisations’ environment to inspire workers to contribute their best.
Putting people first through investing in human capital – their knowledge, skills, and health and providing tools and equipment that people need to achieve their sets of objectives and reach their potential – is critical for sustainable development, organisational growth and profit elongation. Businesses are investment hubs for profit-making. Business owners sacrifice their funds for profits as a cost of risk. They cannot stand and watch their investments go down the drains due to unmotivated, unskilled or unhealthy workers. Human capital allows a corporation to grow. When human capital increases in areas such as skill acquisition, training, education, and occupational health, it leads to increases in employees’ performance, social well-being, equality, increased productivity, improved rates of citizens’ participation, all of which contribute to corporate performance improvement.
Business organisations now see investment in human capital as a duty and not as a burden! Publications Office of the European Union, 2020, stated that “There are many reasons for a construction company to invest in occupational safety and health (OSH) measures. For one, there are societal reasons and the ambition to make our societies more liveable by providing healthy workplaces and by not burdening society with more sick and injured people. There are social aspects and the aim to have a workplace, where workers like to work and where there is a good and collegial work atmosphere. Of course, one should not forget legal reasons; many rules and requirements have been established for good reasons across the European Union to ensure a safe and healthy workspace. Besides the above mentioned reasons, there is, however, also an economic reason.” OSH helps improve turnover and profit.
As part of an investigation into costs and benefits of OSH measures, many benefits were identified that demonstrate why companies should invest in improving OSH on their construction sites even beyond what is legally required. The economic benefits often outlast the initial investment and provide a good return of investment for companies. The period of sick leave is considerably reduced and workers can contribute their best to the organisations that have invested in their well-being. In the area of technology skill acquisition, according to International Labour Organisation’s report titled, “Shaping skills and lifelong learning for the future of work”, “Technological change and globalisation, along with demographic and climate change, are transforming the world of work and opening new opportunities – but they also pose challenges for people in obtaining access to decent work and challenges for enterprises in adapting sustainably.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the beginning of 2020 has caused the most serious disruption to the world of work in modern times, accelerating the structural transformations that have evolved over years and aggravating existing inequalities among the human race. A “new-normal” has evolved as a result of COVID-19. A lot of workers are now working at home while meetings and training are now held virtually. The consequences of COVID-19 pandemic threaten to leave generations behind and exacerbate inequalities. Health impacts, setbacks to nutrition, the early years and learning, job losses and widening gender gaps must be addressed by governments and corporate organisations with urgency to curb future effects. Corporate has a crucial role to play in all these. Corporate organisations must identify the areas where they fall short of supply and look for ways of ameliorating the malady. Organisations should directly be involved in the provision of the human resource they need!
This development also directly affects countries as the overall beneficiaries of corporate positive contributions to the economy. Countries (mostly advanced) have stepped up in innovative ways to put people first through building, protecting, and utilising human capital – with support from the World Bank and partners. However, ambition, innovation, and sustained support are needed to recover human capital losses and needs’ gap and strengthen recovery. Investing in people consistently and providing opportunities for all to achieve their potential can yield economic dividends – and help bring greater stability in a challenging global context. What corporate organisations require most at this time, is precision mapping of their human capital needs. These needs include welfare of workers, including their food provision, housing, transport, health, job security, technology skill and technical skill.
The great Classical Rome Poet, Virgil’s (Publius Vergilius Maro) stated that, “The Greatest Wealth is Health.” A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. All industries require a healthy and strong workforce for their production. A healthy working environment may improve employees’ productivity in two ways. Firstly, healthy employees are going to feel better; they have more energy plus endurance, and they are more able to work hard at their tasks. Secondly, a healthy working environment may significantly contribute to employee happiness. Ensuring a company invests in the wellbeing of its people is one of the primary purposes of human resource management (HRM). Making sure the employees are productive is the sole responsibility of the HR department.
As an employee advocate, the HR manager should focus on keeping workers motivated, contributing to the organisation’s growth, and happy. The key to achieving this is prioritising employee health in HRM. Human resources health initiatives should proactively improve employees’ wellbeing. One of the most common ways to do this is to provide employees with access to medical care through insurance, provision of first aid boxes, office pop-up clinics, weekly office-organised exercises, access to organisation’s hospitals/clinics, health and healthy life training and more. Annual skill acquisition and training are also important because the world is ever changing and the most dynamic environment in the world is the business environment. Things are changing everyday in the corporate world, from the way goods are produced to the way they are packaged and distributed, and to management requirements.
Technology is an essential requirement of changing businesses. Technology is the reason why businesses are growing. Examples are financial technology (fintech), property technology (proptech) and medical technology (MedTech). Corporate organisations must be willing to invest in technology to be able to compete with other competitors. In construction, we have 3D house “moulding” and “printing” technology. Technology can be acquired from a number of different kinds of sources, including private companies, universities and government agencies. Skill acquisition and healthy workforce are coherent to successful businesses in a dynamic world. Organisations that really want to grow must focus on its human capital continuous development.
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