Tag Archives: business

Technology vs. Human Capital

By Adam Gellert, Founder / HR + Recruitment Consultant at Linkus Group

Technology versus Human Capital

Definitions for the term obsolete include: ‘no longer used, as something newer exists’, or ‘out of date.’ How terrifying is it for an employee to be anticipating being no longer needed in a workplace, or expired for the lack of a better word? This is in fact the reality of many workers in today’s society – whether they are members of the manufacturing, hospitality or even business services industry.

Today’s world consists of constant changes in technology. It includes product and service upgrades, replacements, and many versions of the same products that can essentially make a process easier. Can technology be compared to Human Capital? Just as there are employees who have industry expertise, there are employees who can upgrade their knowledge through training and development, leadership programs and cross training in new business areas. Employers can replace other employees who are better suited for the job – all in all to ensure that a business has the best human capital.

The reality is, that technology can do the exact same thing but in a more efficient, fast and less costly manner. This is very common in the manufacturing industry where entire jobs become obsolete as they are replaced with technologies that can produce a higher output than what employees can produce. However, it is also becoming common in the business services sector. Imagine having to analyze a data set of over 1 million documents – it would take many employees hours of work to accomplish this task. A computer program on the other hand has the ability to complete this task in a matter of minutes. Another recent trend is investment in Cloud Computing – where businesses can access information anywhere they go – small businesses will not have to worry about renting offices and actual workspaces. Why wouldn’t businesses want to invest on such technologies? Below are a list of pro’s and con’s of the use of technology in today’s average business.

 Technology vs Human Capital

Benefits of Technology:

How technology can’t replace human capital:

Paperless business – Environmentally friendly businesses

Planning and Management – Integrating new technology is not as easy as it looks – should you purchase a brand new software program as soon as it becomes available? Or should you wait and not jump on the bandwagon and take the risk of the product being obsolete soon.   Technology is fast paced – you snooze you lose, it can also be very costly
Increased productivity – Better production results from efficiency when a new technology is introduced Re-training – New technology does not necessarily mean replacing employees – but it can mean employees may need to be re-trained and educated on how to use the technologies – which brings room for errors, and costs. There is also the importance of meeting the needs of employees through job security, employee activities, etc – something that computers cannot do.
Smaller workforce – Easy to manage, reduces costs Maintenance – What if there is a glitch, system error, or the technology merely breaks down? Yes, you can upgrade a system, but this is a cost. Technology cannot be mentored or coached to become successful as an employee can be
Better communication – introducing up to date technologies allows for fluidity in communication throughout the workforce Costs – As mentioned in almost every point above, technology can be expensive. If it is used to replace employees, businesses will have to ensure that there are no redundancies in processes to avoid unwanted costs.
Stay competitive – being up to date in technologies allows businesses to stay competitive in today’s fast paced industry

Although we live in a technology driven world, there are advantages and disadvantages to the use of technology and maintaining human capital in a business. It is ultimately up to the business to decide if it has the capacity to keep up to date with constantly changing technology, or whether to invest in the good old -fashioned human capital.

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Growth Strategy: Plan Your Hiring Ahead of Time

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by Adam Gellert, Recruitment & HR Consultant / Founder at Linkus Group

Startup companies are no different than mature companies – their success is contingent on finding good talent.  When a startup company is ready to hire, they usually need the new resources on an ASAP basis, but it is critical that they do not compromise on the quality of talent they hire, as the adverse affects of a “bad hire” are amplified in a small business.

Ask any recruiter and they’ll tell you they have a love/hate relationship with employers that call them saying they need help hiring for a position that should have been filled “as of yesterday”.  Of course, it’s exciting for a recruiter to go into their back pocket and pull out that perfect candidate. However, recruiters know that depending on the hiring need, immediate results aren’t always possible. They know that the best candidates aren’t always on the market when you need them so, some good, solid planning can go a long way in a successful search.

Prepare, create a recruitment strategy long term and be mindful and creative of potential hiring needs down the road. 

Have you been in a rush and forced to make decisions based on necessity when hiring? This is very common.  Successful companies know that their greatest employees are what make their company great.

A friend of mine shared a story with me the other day.  He walked into a Starbucks, and observed four of their staff at work. The first one was taking orders at a satisfactory pace, yelling out “double vanilla latte, hold the foam”, another walking around aimlessly and almost confused restocking shelves while paying customers swarmed in. The third just standing in the back washing dishes occasionally at a slow crawl and then, the one that stood out all along, the superstar making four drinks at the same time, while cleaning up after herself and making conversation with the customer’s by name. He thought- “Without her the company would collapse!”

He could tell by observing her in action that she’s a dedicated, hard working, shines under pressure and will be a favourite amongst customers – really the reason you go to a Starbucks and pay ten dollars for a coffee. It’s these scenarios you’ve got to think about during your recruitment strategy planning. Think about how the staff you spend your time and money hiring will fit within your culture really, really well.

Know that any growing business on the verge of stardom is going to need those key players on their team to build on that success the initial team has already worked so hard to create. If you’re on your own right now and hiring, that first team member is all the more critical.

Do the following:

Plan

You’ve got a business plan and set important goals. Now set a recruitment strategy. Get thinking about what roles will you need to fill to get that work done, now and a year from now.

Be methodical

Let’s say you need an Account Manager to handle the business you’ve worked so hard to bring in. What attributes will they need? Is organization more important than customer service skills or industry knowledge?

Be realistic

When you start the hiring process you’ll find its often going to be hard to find someone that checks off all your “must haves”. Set your sights on a few must haves, aim for a few more “nice to haves” and finish up your list with skills that would be a “home run” but not critical.

Execution

Recruiting requires more than one set of eyes and takes a lot of skill to fully plan, execute and hire.

Now that you’ve got a plan, you’re ready to start hiring!

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