Booz Allen Hamilton

Capturing the People Advantage

Imagine a massive, long-term partnership with a developing nation that requires turning thousands of poorly educated citizens into a highly skilled workforce. Or a government-controlled monopoly transformed at the stroke of a pen into a public company in one of the world’s most competitive industries. Or a merger so large and so rife with change that, statistically speaking, not one of the combined company’s 200,000 employees has the same job postmerger.

These are the kinds of business challenges that organizations face today—challenges that require human capital solutions that stretch far beyond the traditional transactional and compliance roles of HR. Indeed, these are just a few of the challenges that the companies featured in this strategy+business Reader have faced and mastered with innovative people-related strategies and tactics.

Some of the most pressing global challenges facing business today are directly related to human capital issues, such as:

  • Shifting demographic trends
  • Skills deficits
  • Changing needs and expectations of today’s workforce

The real story in HR is not of a monolithic shift, or even generational shifts, in employee expectations, but of variation in individual expectations.

Capturing the People Advantage: Thought Leaders on Human Capital cover artAs the interviews demonstrate, HR leaders who restructure their function around business results are earning a “seat at the top table,” as full participants in the highest level of executive leadership. But the greatest value of innovative HR is not reflected in the elevation of the leader or function. It is the elevation of an idea: that people are a primary asset and competitive advantage, and that a compelling people strategy is required to realize their value. This strategy will work by habituating high performance in the people who work in every function, region, and business unit of the company.

This is the message that comes through loud and clear in this book. The ideas, insights, and experiences of the thought leaders featured within will challenge, stimulate, and enlighten the human capital efforts in your organization. And you will come away from these pages convinced that, in the end, without a focus on human capital, nothing can change and no strategy can be accomplished. Leaders who understand and embrace this principle of organizational success have already taken the first step toward capturing the people advantage.

Capturing the People Advantage: Thought Leaders on Human Capital features an introduction written by Walter McFarland of Booz Allen Hamilton and Richard Rawlinson and Laird Post of Booz & Company.

book summary posted October 13, 2008