Building Company Culture Through Human Capital Consulting

Corporate Responsibility

Jeff Bartel

Chairman and Managing Director

What place does human capital consulting have in today’s business ecosystem? The history of technology in the workplace is one full of tension and, sometimes, downright fear. Workers have frequently worried that technology would replace them, and with the rise of robotics, machine learning, and automation, it is not a wholly unfounded concern. The key to minimizing these worries is positively managing human capital alongside technology investments.

In short, businesses must invest in company culture, ensuring people understand how important they are to the processes that drive success. People who know and understand that human capital has a place in an organization despite technological innovations are likelier to adopt tech that enhances productivity and bottom lines. Human capital consulting helps a company identify opportunities for improvement.

Technology and Human Capital Consulting to Build Company Culture

Human capital solutions require employers to look at all tech trends and innovations in their businesses through a human capital lens. For example, what does innovation mean for the status of employees, and what might employees think about these changes? Human capital consulting firms can help companies bridge the gap between tech innovations and the people who power processes, but businesses can also start with some of the basics below.

How to Use Human Captial Consulting to Enhance Communications

Leverage technology to enhance communications. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many teams remain in hybrid or remote work structures, relying on technology to keep them tied together. But even teams that are 100% back to the office or those in other models, such as field service or manufacturing teams, need ways to bring everyone together, ensure team members are aware of important information, and support better interpersonal connections.

However, business leaders cannot simply invite everyone into a group chat or video meeting. Using technology to enhance communications in a positive manner that does not merely add more checkboxes to worker to-do lists requires careful strategy and top-down investment. Human capital consulting considers solutions that:

  • Are easy to use and even automate some routine tasks, so employees are not spending valuable time ensuring communication workflows work
  • Are as inclusive as possible and do not require constant manual intervention to ensure everyone has access to the information they need to do their jobs and feel like a productive, meaningful, and appreciated part of the team
  • Support interpersonal and fun communication in an appropriate manner to help teams socialize and build trust

Remember That Employees Are Customers Too

Businesses that implement technology solutions must be aware of who the customer is for those solutions. Frequently, the customer base is comprised of internal teams.

Too often, however, leadership adopts and implements technology without consulting or considering the needs of the internal customers. That is bad for employee morale and productivity at any time. Moreover, in today’s competitive hiring environment, it can also be disastrous for attrition. Employees who do not feel they are being listened to or are struggling to adopt innovations they perceive as being unnecessary and cumbersome frequently seek employment elsewhere.

Enable Success With Technology

Ultimately, companies should never adopt new technology solely to chase something shiny and new. Instead, each innovation should be carefully considered and implemented, whether a human capital solution or a technical one. If a business cannot point to specific — and measurable — ways technology supports success for the organization and its employees, it should consider whether the tech investment is appropriate.

For example, many banks today offer mobile banking. Customers can log into their mobile devices to take pictures of checks and deposit them, check balances, make transfers, and conduct other basic banking transactions. This technology increases customer success and drives success for banks. On the surface, it may seem like it replaces teller jobs, however. But a human capital management approach looks at how mobile banking enables employee success. Tellers are no longer inundated with repetitive, basic tasks that can be handled on mobile devices. Instead, they can concentrate on higher-value tasks, better customer service, and training that lets them move up with the organization.

Data Sharing, Decision-Making, and Human Capital Consulting

One of the best ways to use technology to enable success is to empower people at all levels of an organization to make job-appropriate decisions in the workflow. People need proper access to data and decision-making tools to make those judgment calls.

Technology supports this in several ways, including:

  • Housing documents and data management via cloud software, which ensures team members in any location have access to the information they need to serve customers, make decisions, and complete work
  • Automated workflows that help teams make decisions or route tasks based on preprogrammed criteria
  • Real-time training, wizards, and prompts that can trigger and guide team members through processes or decisions in the moment, enhancing team member confidence and increasing accuracy

Technological Fluency of the Workforce

Of course, businesses can only reap the rewards of technology managed through the lens of human capital when they invest in the technology fluency of their workforce. Businesses should:

  • Provide education on digital topics for team members, especially when implementing new solutions
  • Support growth of technology skills by offering and paying for outside webinars and other training
  • Encouraging employees to adopt new innovations by creating scaled quotas or other requirements that provide time and space for mastering new skills
  • Taking a top-down approach so leadership can demonstrate adoption and mastery of new technology

Drones, Robots, and Communications

Technical solutions and devices that support remote work change company culture by:

  • Putting potential barriers between human capital
  • Removing routine tasks that can be automated from human workflows
  • Reducing face-to-face communications and team building
  • Causing workflows to evolve often involves individuals taking on higher-level work as drones, robots, and other machines handle lower-level repetitive tasks.

Company culture tracks in two possible directions when your organization faces human capital adjustments. It either transforms into fear among staff that jobs are in jeopardy, or it leads to understanding opportunities for success and advancement for all. Leadership is responsible for ensuring that teams take the path to success by frequently communicating, at all levels, the power of their human capital and its importance in your organization. 

The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Responsibility

Jeff Bartel

Chairman and Managing Director

According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, individuals across the globe are looking to business and industry to take a more significant role in addressing climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequality, showing the importance of corporate social responsibility. This is fueled in part by trends of decreasing trust in governments and media.

Businesses can lean into these expectations from consumers and clients by engaging in corporate social responsibility, or CSR. These efforts help companies connect with customers, engage positively in their industries and the greater world around them, and potentially avoid current and future regulatory and public relations issues. For ethical firms, corporate social responsibility is not just crucial to the bottom line — it’s a duty of any good business.

The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility on War

The war in Ukraine (and Russian aggression) paired with the global social consciousness afforded by 24-hour news cycles and social media has created an increasing role for businesses in times of war. Historically, governments often led the charge in sanctioning aggressors to limit war or warlike movements. Today, companies can — and are expected to — take a leading role in these efforts.

Volunteers helping Ukraine combat Russion aggression shows the importance of corporate social responsibility.

For example, nations can enact economic sanctions on aggressors, including embargoes, trade locks, and freezing assets. But governments are slow to act for numerous reasons, including a need to balance social responsibility with geopolitical protection of their own interests. In such cases, businesses may be the first to step up, refusing to trade with or within aggressing nations. They should also pressure companies helping aggressors by refusing to enter into supply, purchasing, or other agreements with them.

Companies should also leverage internal capabilities and resources to help impacted communities. That can range from diverting charitable donations for relevant causes to leveraging existing networks, such as supply chains, to help others deliver aid. Stepping up to model and lead such efforts can help encourage people and organizations of all types to follow suit.

How CSR Addresses Human Rights

Work — and under what circumstances it gets done — plays a massive role in the lives of billions of individuals across the globe. Yet, when it comes to human rights, corporate social responsibility starts in the workplace with factors such as fair labor practices, equal opportunity employment, and safe environments.

But the civil, economic, and community rights that businesses champion within the workplace should also be supported outside of a company’s in-house environments. Civil rights, for example, should be supported throughout customer service and sales channels by ensuring the mental and physical integrity of everyone with whom a business’s processes connect. Of course, that extends to communities and individuals; corporate social responsibility means ensuring a business’s processes are promoting positive results in the community — or at the very least not contributing to negatives.

Economic rights should be supported by avoiding unethical price gouging or providing avenues for success at all socioeconomic levels. A great example is pharmaceutical companies, which often sponsor grant programs to make more expensive medications available for those that could not otherwise afford them.

The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility During Disasters

Disasters of various kinds demand corporate social responsibility to help cities and regions recover. One of the obvious ways businesses should engage in CSR in the wake of a disaster is to respond to community needs. Donating money, goods, or time is a common approach to CSR after a natural disaster like a hurricane.

But businesses should also invest in processes and infrastructure to help build community resilience for withstanding disasters or recovering more quickly after one. For example, financial organizations can create processes to ensure individuals and businesses within a community have access to cash flow and capital for disaster recovery efforts. This type of resilience is important in all industries — even the food industry. In the wake of disasters, the first needs of the community are often safe shelter, clean water, and food.

But corporate social responsibility doesn’t start during or after a disaster. It starts before it. Businesses should look for ways to mitigate future disasters by investing in measures like reducing climate change.

How CSR Aids the Fight for Social Justice

Evolving corporate social responsibility into corporate social justice can help businesses join the fight for social justice in ways that make sense for their brands and bottom lines. Human resources — from hiring to people management processes — is an obvious first internal step. Companies should ensure employees are trained to enact just processes within these areas.

But businesses must also engage with the community, going beyond philanthropic donations and virtue signaling via messaging. Companies that dig into their own impact on the community can create processes and products that better support social justice. They’re also able to bring their own resources to bear on the most critical issues for the community.

The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility to the Bottom Line

Consumers today care about more than surface factors like quality and price — though obviously, those considerations do matter. But a business can have the best product at the best price and still lose out to a competing brand with better corporate social responsibility. Consumers want to buy from companies that make them feel good, align with their own values, and do good things in the world.

When it comes to the bottom line, CSR is a requirement. It can drive customer loyalty, powerful connections with business partners and consumers, and sustainable relationships lasting through market ups and downs. But CSR should also be seen as a duty for good companies that want to partner with others in the stewardship of resources and relationships around the globe.