By now, we’re probably all familiar with the Government’s ‘Big Society’ flagship policy idea, which aims to empower local people and communities. But this idea is nothing new for high performing businesses that have been maximising the value of Social Capital for some time!

Social Capital is the strength of relationships, interaction and ‘community spirit’ within a society, network or organisation – and for businesses, it has a significant impact on the bottom line! The more that people are bound by shared values, culture, language, goals, mission, contacts etc., the more this supports powerful collaborative behaviours in the workplace. For example, knowledge-sharing, cross-functional teamworking, involvement and empowerment, networking and integration across business units. All of which increases morale and drives high performance!  
Businesses that recognise this also recognise that HR, rather than just being seen as a lowly support service, can make a significant contribution to the development of organisational social capital. This happens through ensuring that people management policies, processes and strategies – learning and development, recruitment and selection, communications, performance management, reward and recognition, leadership and management etc. – are designed to develop and encourage employee involvement, empowerment, trust and co-operation. So having a strong, effective HR function can really help improve business performance.
As an assessor & adviser for Investors In People, I see a lot of different types of organisations (commercial businesses, non-profit companies, schools)  & speak to a lot of staff. And the most satisfied employees, & the most successful organisations, all have one major thing in common – people have a sense of belonging, & feel that they are an important part of a bigger picture. This is one of the reasons I have images of jigsaw pieces as part of the TDHR brand logos; not only representing that elements of HR management are different pieces of the same jigsaw, but also that staff are too  – fitting together to form a comprehensive, integrated structure.
And finally, don’t underestimate the importance of work social events and even online networking! Rather than preventing staff from using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, organisations can turn it to their advantage. E.g., by setting up online groups or pages for staff, or encouraging them to join business networking sites – especially if there is a multi-site operation, many remote workers or a ‘silo’ mentality within the company. Instead, create a sense of community within the workforce and see productivity soar!