Capital will not grow without personal happiness

Capital. Cold hard cash. Euros. That’s all well and good, but you know what is really worth a fortune? Good employees! That is the capital you need to grow.

Text: Sabi Tolou
Image: Scala Photography

Times Square in New York is the icon of capitalism. Brainport Eindhoven could be seen as the Times Square of North Brabant: the city has undergone an enormous change over the past 10-15 years. Eindhoven has become a lot more international and diverse. This has everything to do with the companies that are located here and that attract and draw in certain types of people.

In large cities, the number of people goes hand in hand with the employment opportunities of a city. Each person generates a certain return and therefore you can say that people also create capital and are therefore also capital. Every employee has a certain productivity level that pays off and circulates in the market, and the environment benefits from the fact that there are (many or few) people working.

In addition to economic capital, which includes entrepreneurship, wealth and growth, there is also cultural and social capital. The latter actually means that everyone should have equal opportunities. Every change in the market is an opportunity for people in the lower segment to seize that change and come up with something new. This is certainly the case in the Netherlands, where our social system is well designed. For the rich, every change is to some extent a risk; the capital that has been built up must be preserved or increased. A society is much stronger if you give the lower classes opportunities to move towards the middle class. This is the very backbone of an economy within a city or even a country.

In the Netherlands, we generally have a good balance between these tiers. And yet, I think that the middle and lower classes could benefit even more if they were given more opportunities and tools. Organisations need to see their staff as a key asset who bring value to the organisation. Instead of only minimum wages and squeezing people dry. Then quality of life turns into simply surviving, and you don’t want that for your people. A healthy work culture is paramount here.

Change the work culture and structure when you grow as an organisation and become more mature and powerful. Because that is how you attract new capital, in human form and in financial terms: investments to pre-finance that growth. In the current market, it is more profitable to put your money into your company in advance; this speeds up the growth process. Attracting new capital is very important for start-ups and scale-ups. Rather than focusing on survival, you can invest money in new people and tools.

In good times and in bad – take good care of your staff. Give them enough educational opportunities and let them develop alongside your company. Make money available so that people can become more productive, by training them and developing them even further. This will ultimately benefit the entire economy and society. Use capital and never skimp on human capital. Not ever.

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