What Is Human Capital Management and Why Does It Matter?

What is human capital management: co-workers discussing something and using a laptop

Your employees are the key to your organization’s success. They are the people providing care to patients, maintaining up-to-date records, and handling all operational needs to keep the business moving. 

Naturally, organizations need to put great care into managing these important resources so that they can grow and flourish. That’s why strategic human capital management is essential. But what is human capital management (HCM), exactly? Discover how your behavioral health organization can leverage HCM to improve its business processes, develop its talent pool, and better engage your workforce.

What Is Human Capital Management?

Let’s dive into the main question at hand: what is human capital management? Human capital management (HCM) refers to the set of practices used to recruit, manage, and develop an organization's employees. It encompasses standard HR functions while placing greater emphasis on areas such as talent management, employee engagement, company culture, and strategic talent acquisition. Human capital management aims to grow and develop your workforce to meet your organization's objectives and execute your business strategies.

Some components of human capital management are:

  • Talent Management and Acquisition: Identifying, recruiting, and hiring top talent is a significant HCM function right now. The Great Resignation is still in full force, and companies need to work harder to identify and recruit top candidates. Behavioral health organizations must be particularly strategic to find the right talent, as the field is currently facing staffing shortages and high levels of employee burnout. Talent management also incorporates the development of internal talent through mentorship and training to help improve retention.
  • Employee Compensation and Incentives: HCM includes strategic compensation management, including salaries, bonuses, incentives, benefits, and other monetary or non-monetary perks. The goal is to attract and retain great staff members and encourage them to perform high-level work.
  • Workforce Management: Properly allocating your resources to provide adequate coverage for all business units and functions is essential for human capital management. This is particularly true for behavioral health and human services organizations, which typically have to balance limited resources with high demands.
  • Administrative Functions: Administrative HCM functions include payroll, employee data management, benefits administration, and timekeeping.
  • Business Intelligence: Managing all of these functions is important, but there is also a lot of data that you can collect to get a clearer view of your organization. This data can also be helpful in guiding decision-making throughout the business.
  • Employee Engagement: HCM also focuses heavily on employee engagement. Keeping employees engaged can result in greater productivity, lower turnover, and better service for patients and customers. Many of the other components on this list work together for employee engagement — employees who feel valued, are provided development opportunities, and have satisfactory work-life balance are more likely to be engaged. 

Human capital management is typically more strategic and people-focused than traditional human resource management. While many of the core tasks are the same, HCM takes a more holistic, human-centered approach to each function.

Why Is Human Capital Management Important in Behavioral Health?

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Human capital management is important to all companies, but it can be particularly beneficial for those in behavioral health and human services. These organizations have additional goals and operational challenges that require even more diligence when it comes to HCM. Here are some primary examples that demonstrate the importance of human capital management.

Helps You Find the Right Talent

Hiring for any open role is a significant challenge for employers, but it gets even more complicated when there are enhanced compliance requirements. Let’s think about the hiring needs of a behavioral healthcare organization compared to a standard business office. 

When you post a job for a customer service representative, you will have a general list of requirements for the role. Some might even be nice-to-haves rather than requirements. Things like experience, a degree, and specific computer skills could all be qualifications to look for in that new hire. However, you’re probably not legally required to hire someone with those specific qualifications. 

In behavioral health, recruiting and workforce management get a bit trickier because there is less flexibility in the qualifications. You need to find a candidate with the right background, education, certifications, and active licenses. 

Even once you’ve found the perfect hire, you need to ensure that they remain up-to-date with their licensing and continuing education. That’s where HCM tools with features such as compliance automation and recruiting management can provide meaningful support to behavioral health organizations.

Provides Better Budget Management

Managing your resources and budget can be a cumbersome process. Behavioral health providers face a number of challenges, from lower reimbursement rates to staffing shortages. To continue providing a great patient experience, you must optimize your resources while closely tracking labor costs to stay on budget. 

This is a core component of HCM, and finding the right human capital management system can make the process much easier and more effective. Tools like ContinuumCloud’s unified HCM and payroll software can provide administrators with real-time insights on labor expenses and compare them against projected costs. This allows administrators and managers to make adjustments as needed to stay within the set budget or to identify where there’s room in the budget to hire additional staff. 

Helps You Oversee Distributed Teams

Many organizations have shifted towards remote or hybrid work models. This trend is also having a big impact on the behavioral health field, as many providers have moved to a telehealth service delivery model due to changes in patient preferences. Even as pandemic restrictions wane, over a third of patients are using telehealth services to receive mental health care. 

This shift is largely positive for behavioral health and human services organizations. After all, any changes that increase patient access to care are typically viewed as a win within the field. However, remote work does require some changes in an organization’s human capital management workflows. For example, managing time and attendance for dispersed teams can require different tools and processes. One tool to consider would be HCM software with features designed for remote workforce management, such as location and IP tracking at clock-in and a mobile app for attendance and messaging.

How Can You Improve HCM?

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We’ve answered the question, “What is human capital management?” Now it’s time to move into looking at how organizations actually go about improving HCM. Keeping track of all of the moving pieces within human capital management can be difficult. Most organizations use digital tools to keep the process more manageable. However, many companies end up using a number of different systems that each support one area of HCM. 

For example, a business may have an applicant tracking system (ATS) for recruiting, a payroll system, a human resources information system (HRIS) to store employee data, and a performance management system to track employees’ performance reviews and goals. Keeping up with all these systems eventually becomes a chore for the HR department and the employees.

The solution to this problem is to implement a unified HCM system. This provides a better employee experience as it allows team members to access all of their data in one centralized location. It also streamlines the process for HR staff members by allowing them to manage various HCM processes in one place. Unified systems are also excellent for tracking business goals, staffing metrics, and other analytics.

Get Started With the Top Unified HCM Platform

When organizations invest in human capital management, they can see great results. If you’re ready to save time, increase retention, and elevate your workforce planning, then it’s time to get started with the top unified HCM platform for behavioral health and human services organizations. 

What is a strategic human capital management platform able to do for you? Find out with ContinuumCloud. ContinuumCloud’s HCM system is the only HCM solution designed to meet the unique needs and challenges of behavioral health providers. Contact us to learn how we can help you and your team reach your goals. 

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