Human Resources or Human Capital - All in your perspective.
Recruiting, deploying, motivating, training, compensating, and retaining people in organizations has known a variety of names down through the years. "Personnel", "Employee Relations", "Human Resources" and "Human Capital" have all described the function, named the department and titled the senior person responsible. I am sometimes asked to explain the difference. My simplistic response is that the "HR" perspective largely views people as expense units, while the "Human Capital" lens sees them as assets to be developed and performance generators to be leveraged.
HR activities tend to be largely transactional in nature. Important, not deferrable, yet not contributing very much in the way of shareholder value. Human capital activities normally take a more strategic view of how people can be more effectively deployed to achieve goals that resonate with shareholders and ownership groups. The key is how tightly linked are the activities of your "people department" with the key metrics of the organization's performance such as revenue, margin, share, and EVA. HR gets people on and off the payroll, manages benefits, and handles legal and regulatory compliance and those are important. Human Capital helps build the business, turn it around, assess and develop its leaders, merge it, integrate its acquisitions and/or adjust the design of the organization to handle increased market complexity. We provide Human Capital services on a consulting basis to organizations whose normal and primary requirements are HR/transactional.
Feel free to download the HR to HC document showing elements of managing the employee life cycle and how those activities evolve from transactional to strategic as you progress from the red level through the yellow and blue to the green level.