The quotation that takes care of the future


The "Thursdays of the 46th" are on! Goodwill managementa specialist in responsible economic performance, offers, in five appointmentsThe purpose of this study is to assess the wealth of human capital in companies. This March 12, we are at 46 boulevard Sébastopol in Paris, at the headquarters of the structure, created in 2003 by Alain Fustec, and which now has about twenty employees. The fifteen or so HR managers present are eager: how can they make the most of what they know better than anyone else, i.e. that "there is no wealth but people? ».  

Showing the "well-being" of companies

Objectivating this intuition, proving that the payroll is not just a burden but the most powerful performance lever, such is the challenge that Sébastien Grandfils, manager at Goodwill, has set himself to introduce the five free conferences offered by his company. In spite of his youth, the man is not at the beginning of his career. He was one of the contributors to the first French standard for measuring intangible assets called Thesaurus Bercycommissioned by Christine Lagarde in 2011, and written under the direction of Alan Fustec. It was a time when the World Bank was beginning to recognize the limits of GDP (gross domestic product).
In its 2011 report, on page 176, the Commission also stated that "the French economy is immaterial at 82%". This is no small admission: corporate accounting ignores the essential: its intangible assets. Classified in ten categories, these are broken down into assets: natural capital, human skills, knowledge, organization, cultural heritage and brands, intellectual property, customer and supplier relations, partners, information systems, security... "The value of a company is its ability to create value in the future."says Sebastien Grandfils. This capacity depends on the tools, the ecosystem, the very reputation of the company... But it is above all the human capital that is decisive. "It is the only immaterial capital that regenerates itself and it regenerates all the others! » he remarks, captivating his audience.

This is nothing new. The work of Theodore William Schultz (1902-1998) and Gary Stanley Becker In the 1960s and 1970s, it became clear that employees' abilities in terms of education, health, know-how, experience and commitment (efficiency, motivation, loyalty, serenity, etc.) could boost collective results. More recently, Amartya Sen pointed to the notion of potential or " Capabilities "This is particularly with reference to synergies in natural ecosystems.

Now it is possible to capitalize on talent by proving that, in doing so, value is created. The examples are very diverse. For ERDF, it is advantageous to entrust the pruning of power lines to companies that practice responsible approaches. Orange, Vinci, AXA and L'Oréal have been diversifying their staff (age, gender, validity or disability) since they validated that the diversity of human capital increases their company's performance. The CISCO Academy, which trains people (in prisons, hospitals, etc.) in IT practices free of charge, is also proving to be profitable because it builds loyalty among potential customers.

When responsible means sustainable and profitable

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The objectification of the concrete and positive effects of CSR (corporate social responsibility) actions can thus become an incentive lever. The tool RBC Thesaurus (for the search for hidden benefits) developed by Goodwill management pursues this objective. Thanks to it, the consulting firm has been able to show that responsible HR policies - aimed at improving the quality of recruitment, working conditions, labour relations, etc. - can considerably reduce hidden labour costs (which can vary from 5 to 40% of the wage bill depending on the company), such as absenteeism, turnover, redundancies, interrupted trial periods, delays, Prud'hommes, etc.
Today, a database listing more than 200 CSR actions has been set up and allows us to anticipate results. This benchmark tool can thus explore scenarios and options that any manager may be led to explore: should I move my head office or not, is the context of a business district (such as La Défense) or a cluster (such as the Saclay plateau) favourable to the development of my company? ...

These efforts, which inaugurate new business practices linked to "effective social values", can also inspire territorial policies. Already in 2006, the Lévi-Jouyet report entitled "The Economy of the Intangible: Tomorrow's Growth" highlighted the importance of taking into account the stock of intangible assets. In October 2013, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) set the table again with a "Proposal for a public policy in favour of France's intangible capital". This document, written under the direction of Alan Fustec, Scientific Director of theObservatory of the Intangible demonstrates the relevance for France of setting up a development management system based on 35 recommendations for the proper management of its resources - mainly intangible - in the long term.

Driving development through value

Morocco has decided to mark out its development with these evaluation tools. In his speech of July 30, 2014, King Mohammed VI announced that he wanted to bet on his country's intangible capital. A complete check-up of Morocco's strengths and weaknesses has therefore been undertaken in order to optimise sustainable production methods. An interim report indicates the efforts to be made to develop human capital (education, training ...) but the full results are expected by mid-2015.

Approaches to assessing a nation's intangible wealth can vary. As Laetitia Maman points out (see No. 21 in Intangible capital - Jan 15), a consultant with Goodwill Management, the World Bank - which in 2006 published a study entitled "Where is the Wealth of Nations? "(2006) - breaks down a country's assets into three major asset classes: natural capital (exhaustible and renewable resources), built capital (factories, infrastructure, real estate), and intangible capital (human capital, education, stability, quality of institutions). The World Bank calculates intangible assets by subtraction (the overall value of a country's economy - natural capital and built capital). In the World Bank's ranking of countries, it is observed - not surprisingly - that the richer the countries, the higher the share of intangible capital.
Different approaches are being explored in France, notably by setting up new indicators to measure the quality of growth (see Eva Sas' draft law and interactions with the FAIR Forum (Forum for New Indicators of Wealth). A conference was organised at the Ministry of Finance on 17 October 2013 on the theme "Intangible Heritage and Territory". 

All sectors are concerned by this attention to the intangible assets that Goodwill offers. From the world of innovation, bankers and insurers, to water, construction and health companies. The change affected CAC 40 companies on March 7, 2012, when their "adjusted" listings were published showing the difference between book value and total value including intangible assets. A poker strike that forces managers to leave the short term. "We have to get out of accounts that only consider what's tangible is stable." insists Sebastian Grandfils. It remains to be seen which performance we want to serve and on what scale it is relevant to pay attention so that quality of life rhymes with development. The Goodwill adventure is a sign of our times, forced to return to basics. Knowing what we care about and the values that "push" the future.

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