This article outlines why the current popular reification of the previously dormant construct --‘Human Capital is a critical asset for twenty-first-century corporate acumen’ (SEC 2020) -- amounts to perfunctory lip service without what Gartner Inc. refers to as an accompanying ‘cognitive upskilling.’ The cognitive approach to workforce capacity involves precision attention to attraction, development, retention, and career-path enhancement. Consequently, in a post-pandemic workplace, Human Capital Management is THE key driver of business outcomes (PwC, 2021).
A prescient academic/industry collaborative paper (O’Mahony, Carr, et al., 2019) delivered by a leading cognitive learning neuroscientist at Columbia University Teacher’s College elaborated on a replicable and sustainable cognitive neuroscience framework that laid to rest a persistent misconception about extrinsic motivation and workplace potential. In front of an international audience of academic and industry workforce leaders, this paper outlined empirical evidence that not only displaced the behaviorist methodology that causes the forgetting curve to exist but also reversed the long-entrenched belief about learning and forgetting (Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, 1850), which outlined a pervasive decline of knowledge retention over time. O’Mahony’s cognitive tour de force not only defined a new role for neuro-teaching models in industry, it manifestly established a cognitive revolution in workplace learning. With such a cognitive engagement, HR departments develop a definite connection between Human Capital and Executive Function Impairment (EFI), which, in turn, translates into massive savings, increased employee satisfaction, and elimination of worker attrition during and after training. Meanwhile, the same cognitive connection enables employees to experience autonomy, mastery, and purpose in their work life with subsequently healthy lifestyle balance with family and source of income.
“This cognitive revolution is timely and very real,” said O’Mahony. “Recognized models like Brain-centric Design deliver academically at the highest level of implementation in the workforce. Current workforce crises are based on extrinsic motivation, privilege, chauvinism, and connection enforced by an outdated educational model that denies human capital in favor of nepotism, fear, and survival.”
The ‘Modernization of Regulation S-K Items 101, 103, and 105’ rule is now effective. The rule codifies the importance of human capital — employee well-being — as a driver of business outcomes and the first significant update to the human capital disclosure rule since 1977 (Huffington, 2021). Validating the Learning Sciences, learning communities see this as an acknowledgment of innovating leadership. They clearly grasp the connection between the personal sustainability of employees and sustainable company growth.
The cognitive model is already in some schools. Teachers are forging tomorrow’s employees with a solid knowledge of human capital, neuroplasticity, well-being, work/life balance, and a bigger picture view of their place in the workforce, their communities, and the planet. Neural educators trained in this new model are conducting online and in-person Neural Education workshops that have influenced thousands of cognitive thinkers worldwide. Cognitivist ranks are swelling exponentially.
Companies today have embraced human capital primacy by focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in a new understanding that addresses employee mental health and well-being. Such arrangements benefit the organization since investment in human capital drives value as a result of engagement, innovation, and productivity.