Nov 24, 2011

Employees Are Our Most Important Asset?

Everyone is replaceable, but nobody is disposable. It's the difference between having employees and having resources. To be replaceable means that should an employee leave or be fired, it is possible to find a replacement. Typically, finding such a replacement requires an investment. As a leader, you've invested time, money, and emotion into building a team. When team members leave, in order to replace them you need to find the right balance of skills and attitude, so that the new hire fits.


When an employee is disposable, it means that they are of limited use and that once their expiry date has passed, you just discard them with no further thought. That's fine for a tin can but doesn't work for people. Employees feel it when a person in a position of authority thinks little of them. When they do, of course, they rebel. They won't go down in the streets and protest as they are currently doing in Greece or on Wall Street, but their actions will show it. They will work more slowly; they will be sick more often; they will find more problems with the work they need to do; it might even go as far as sabotaging projects, just to make the leader look bad.


Ask any leader in any company, and chances are, at some point you will hear that famous phrase: "Our people are our most important asset." Yet when you dig a little deeper, you find that it is just lip service. It can take on many forms:

  • managers who don't speak to their subordinates face to face, but prefer to do it by email;

  • there are those who don't reply to messages or to requests unless they are repeated more than once;

  • some accept meetings, show up late, yet ask to be brought up to speed while everyone else waits;

  • some schedule meetings and show up late to their own meetings, or are unprepared for their meetings;

  • employees are forced to work with suboptimal tools, even though those tools are essential to their productivity;

  • employees are not made aware of important information which may affect their work;

  • changes are planned with no input, and often no backing, by the employees, which just makes it more difficult for the changes to be implemented.

These are just some situations which can adversely affect employee morale, and can  undermine a manager's leadership.


If people were to step walk into your office, how could they tell that employees are not disposable? How would they really see that people are your most important asset?

No comments:

Post a Comment