Employees are now being identified as human capital by most employers. According to dictionary.com human capital is the “skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization.” In other words, employees are valuable when they have skills, knowledge, and experience that they can use to benefit their employer. What happens when their personal challenges impede their ability to perform or produce at a level that adds value? More importantly, what happens when personal challenges are such barriers employees are no longer an asset but an expenditure to an employer? These are just some of the questions that are now being discussed in the boardrooms.
Consider this: for decades employees have been educated about the importance of exceptional internal customer service; providing professional, consistent and courteous service to other departments within the company. Well this concept is just elaborating on that rule of thumb that already exist. Employees are the internal customers of their employers and providing personal development for them is the best way to develop a professional.
The reality is less than one fourth of employees ever seek professional counseling to assist with personal needs and development. Even less than that have an adequate self –awareness to report all of their challenges and usually only concern themselves and their therapist with the crisis at hand. This wouldn’t normally be a statistic that an employer would be concerned with except now their business is only operating at half its capacity and generating below expected production. The new bottom line for companies is beginning to look less like their profits after expenses and more like the intervention needed before profits can be made.
Many employees experience professional impairment due to personal challenges. Today’s employees, especially millennials, are more easily overwhelmed, more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and need more coaching/catering in the areas of personal challenges than employees did fifteen years ago. Personal development relates to activities that improve self– awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, and, build human capital and facilitate employability. Therefore, many businesses and corporations will need to consider investing in programs and training that will enhance the personal development of their employees to see a profitable return of their investment and assure company success and growth.
Employers by and large have customarily only presented optional resources that are made available at the request of the employee. There are also times when an employee must engage through a company Employee Assistant Program when their ability to work is severely impaired. However, most companies don’t begin to address a personal employee concern until their work is impaired or as a last resort before having to terminate their employment. There is absolutely a trend that has been created to service the newest pool of employees: the millennials. This trend is one that seeks to provide, training, education, support and resources upon employment, throughout the work week, during off hours and that are mandatory. Yes, everyone must grow and develop. This a just a trend because most very large companies don’t yet feel the crunch or see the need, while smaller companies are unaware of the resources available and believe they can’t afford it. These reasons are in addition to the one that still exists; personal is personal and not professional.
The time has come that every employer, no matter how big or small, should strongly consider seeking services that provide ongoing training, staff support and personal and professional development to all employees. The services should be mandatory, customized, employee centered, engaging, interactive, educational and incorporated into the culture of the company. Long gone are the days that folks are able or willing to leave their personal challenges at home. Even if they wanted to, the challenges that arise in the work place have been found to be directly connected to what happens outside the workplace. Once this realization sets in what is now just a trend will become the norm. Every company will recognize that all human capital have human concerns that can directly impact their ability to grow and succeed and will ultimately affect the company’s bottom line.