A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital


In 2011 I travelled to Trinidad and Tobago to visit family. There is a distinct difference in cultur

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In 2011 I travelled to Trinidad and Tobago to visit family. There is a distinct difference in culture that hit me from the moment I landed; for one security noticed I was wearing camouflage shorts (camouflage being banned there) and with no hint of irony I was told to “blend in” until I got a time to change. Besides by fashion faux pas however the major thing I found was the industrialist attitude throughout the island that would have gone hand in hand with Victorian England.

After settling in with the family topics come up around the dinner table as they do and I was shocked by the views that by (rather successful) relative had: When it came to work you want to pay someone and that person will do that job, no more questions. I couldn’t quite understand at the start, the simplistic idea that an individual solely worked for their paycheque was a long gone idea I thought with the sun rotating the earth and Doctors using leeches. So, I queried whether there was any other way to motivate and engage employees to get a better performance out of them and I got a blank look which is where I dropped it.

I put this down to an isolated event and didn’t waste too much thought until we saw on the news the summer riots that were going on that year in the UK. In response my relative rather bluntly stated he’d just round them up. This is where it occurred to me; he didn’t think from both sides of the negotiation table or even attempt to see another perspective, he had his views set in place and that was that. The issue with this is that it doesn’t allow procession or potential.

This is where millennials come into play, the term for this generation will commonly provoke a reaction of some sort. I can only imagine what negative reaction I’d get from my relative if I’d raised the ideals and ambitions of millennials, or worse, it could have just been ignored as idealistic. The millennial generation is full of innovators and critical thinkers due to a variety of factors but this doesn’t always sit well with the old ways.

One major differentiator is the fact that millennials typically want something out of the organisation hiring them in return for their skills and capabilities. I have a rough 50-55 years until I retire and typically speaking I’ll have 8-12 different jobs in that time, I want to know whether each stage of that is helping me when I put the effort into it. Gone are the days of paying a worker and expecting them to do their best, now is a culture where careers are a part of your identity that you invest in. The one way traffic of top down employment is now turning into a cycle of employee delivering their capabilities and organisations engaging them and supporting them appropriately.