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Title: Human Resources or Human Capital? Managing People as AssetsAuthor: Andrew MayoPublisher: Gower PublishingPrice: £63.00ISBN: 978-1-4094-2285-3
Andrew Mayo’s Human Resources or Human Capital explores whether “people really are an organisation’s most important asset”, questioning which people are more important, how we know this and how we can maximise the value of people to businesses. The text is split into two main sections, the first considers the mindsets HR needs to be “involved, relevant and supportive in business” and the second covers the practical tools to enable HR to be a “credible business partner”.
The book will appeal to a range of different people. For CIPD students this text brings together a huge amount of current HR thinking. Ulrich lovers will be in their element given the numerous and almost reverent references made by Mayo throughout the book. For practical, pragmatic HR professionals, there are some excellent sections on employee engagement and HR strategy development. What was particularly pleasing was the range of excellent tools that can be used in different situations, as well as the “challenges for action” lists at the end of each chapter, which give the reader some thought-provoking questions for their own organisations.
For those entering their first strategic HR role, there are endless options for developing meaningful people plans, with a strong cross reference to the important role HR plays in creating aligned, value-adding HR strategies. There is also a great chapter for those grappling with exactly what business partnering is all about.
The sections that were not so appealing were those on HR measurements. The level of detail here detracts from the book, although the section on the HR scorecard was very useful.
The title of the book is almost there to create controversy, since the text more or less concludes that it doesn’t matter if its human capital or human resources – it’s simply about the people in the business and the role HR can play in creating an environment for those people to maximise their contribution.
Overall this is a great text for those wanting a comprehensive guide to current HR thinking and those who enjoy practical tools, and it is written in a format that makes it easy for the reader to dip in and out.
Fiona Irvine is director of Rainbow HR Ltd