Human Capital: Our Most Important Asset

I have recently been reading about a selection of topics surrounding employees, skills and how we hire, onboard and engage with our staff. This has brought me on to the concept of ‘human capital’ which is:

Human capital is a measure of the “knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being”
(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

In my role as a Managing Consultant, I’m often involved in the hiring process, from writing job specifications to technical screenings, and over the last year, one of two final interviewers for almost all our Security Engineering hires. When driving this process to find and hire great people, I sometimes find it hard to articulate the non-technical knowledge, skills and competencies I’m looking for in a candidate. That is where I think human capital can help in the definition of, key indicators and metrics for candidates and already existing employees.

Quoting the CIPD: “business has yet to come to an agreed way of valuing and reporting on the value of a workforce’s knowledge.” Searching for a simple (yet well thought out) collection of metrics to search for and define, this paper (PDF) introduced me to KSAOs (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics). In the following weeks I hope to do some further research and trial integrating this into the job specifications and interviewing guidelines I have written.

I thought I would add this interesting checklist from SF Magazine which aims to get you up and running with human capital strategy ASAP:

Further Reading

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Is the Future of the Internet Solid?

I was first told about the emerging ‘Solid‘ project by a colleague at work.

From the internets creator, Prof. Tim Berners-Lee as the co-lead of the Decentralized Information Group at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) comes a solution to what many see as a growing corruption and future destruction of the World Wide Web in its current form. Net Neutrality, constant attack from IoT/Zombies and even more troubling the perpetual collection, storage and sale of our personal data via data brokers, social media providers and marketing networks.

This emerging project seeks to give control of the underlying data back to its original owners, you.

On the better web Berners-Lee envisions, users control where their data is stored and how it’s accessed. For example, social networks would still run in the cloud. But you could store your data locally. Alternately, you could choose a different cloud server run by a company or community you trust. You might have different servers for different types of information—for health and fitness data, say—that is completely separate from the one you use for financial records. Wired

The project’s website outlines the primary offering:

  • True Data Ownership: Users should have the freedom to choose where their data resides and who is allowed to access it by decoupling content from the application itself.
  • Modular Design: Because applications are decoupled from the data they produce, users will be able to avoid vendor lock-in by seamlessly switching the apps and personal data storage servers, without losing any data or social connections.
  • Reusing Existing Data: Developers will be able to easily innovate by creating new apps or improving current apps, all while reusing existing data that was created by other apps.

I look forward to following the evolution of this project and hope it’s successful in it aims. Recommend checking out their Twitter and also the Solid Github project.

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