NEW YORK—Picking up on the thread of human capital, the next two speakers examined how businesses can better utilize the skills and talents of their employees to improve profitability and the overall workplace ecosystem. Stela Lupushor, chief-reframer at Reframe.Work Inc., and Solange Charas, founder and CEO at HCMoneyball took to the stage to discuss the need for transparency in human capital. The pair co-authored the book Humanizing Human Capital: Invest in Your People for Optimal Business Returns, which looks at how businesses can create human capital strategies for business growth.

Co-authors Stela Lupushor (l) and Solange Charas examined how businesses can create human capital strategies for business growth and profitability.

Lupushor noted that the pandemic saw a shift in the workplace that changed the dynamic, in many cases, at the expense of workers.

“We started moving from a great resignation to quitting to the great breakup for women, all the way into wide firing, where the companies are battling against those trends to quiet quitting,” she said. “All of these new terms entered our vocabulary. I don’t think individuals are going to change habits significantly as they realized the importance of life and balancing.”

Lupushor noted personal fulfillment is part of the equation for employees when they choose their next career move. Employees today want places that are not only going to allow them to maintain this balance. This includes companies that can help expand their education and credentials that may help them grow professionally within the company or at a future job.

“They prefer to work independently, and they will still prefer to work in person and have physical interaction because this is how they learn,” she said. “They want to observe, they want to absorb that tactile knowledge by watching and being part of it. They will learn differently in bite size, and they go on all sorts of channels, and they learn the flow of work.”

Lupushor believes leaders have to reexamine how they view their employees, adding that they are just as important as the customers in building a business’s profitability. Businesses will have to become more transparent with both their employees and their consumers about what they pay and what makes them a contributor to society positively.

“What we are seeing is a trend toward transparency, especially in the human capital area, which now most organizations are acknowledging especially since the pandemic, that this is your main driver of economic value creation,” Lupushor said, noting this includes creating workspaces that are diverse, which creates a return on investment as human capital goes up.

She believes that diversity is far more nuanced and granular than it was in the past. This means traditional norms that were established in HR no longer address these needs and companies need to continue to strive to meet these needs to avoid sliding back. Lupushor noted that the face of the workplace is changing and there will be a significant shift as the Boomers exit the workforce.

She said today’s job numbers should be a pause for concern for businesses who need to create a space that employees want to be a part of in the future. With more than 11 million job openings and 5.5 million people looking for work, there is still a significant gap in the workforce. This means employers need to focus on human capital opportunities in order to be attractive to potential employees.

Looking at reframing your business begins with rethinking your business model, according to Charas.

“It’s really a way to reframe the way that you think about the unit of your business model, which is the labor unit, driving economic value creation in the old days.”

Charas noted that investing in employees can have long term benefits. “It’s not just about designing new programs and caring about the employee, it’s about being fiscally responsible about it. What we’re finding is that the better the employees perform, the better the profitability, or if you’re a nonprofit, the surplus of the organization, which allows you to invest in employees, which generates business outcomes.”

Charas explained that the more companies “do the right thing,” the better the organization performs. “It’s not just about HR programs, it’s about linking those HR programs back to financial outcomes for your business.”