What are the “most overused words” in the corporate lexicon? If you answered “People are our most valuable asset”, you are correct.
For decades, top executives and business managers have echoed the platitude “our employees are our most valuable assets.” It’s a saying that begins to sound empty as we walk through the corridors and halls of many corporations, attend executive or town meetings
Far from being valued for a profound commitment to company goals, or being rewarded for making meaningful progress, many of a company’s most “valuable assets” — its employees — are sidelined when it comes to reward, recognition or even equality.
Building up ‘Valuable Assets’
The heart of every organisation is its people. One of the most vital relationship in business environment is that between manager and employee. Managers have the greatest influence in building this relationship. Managers who care and are committed to their direct reports have the most impact inside an organisation.
Employees who are discontented find ways to disengage and if left without motivation or encouragement, will shift from being an asset to being a liability to the organisation. YOU must KEEP ON THE THEME OF MANAGERS AS STATED IN THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH.
Therefore, the managers are the key parts of this equation. Developing engaged managers is an important task for organisations. For the most part managers are never developed with engagement in mind. The engaged manager brings more value to your organisation that any other initiative or perk you can develop.
Syncing organisational goals with Employee Engagement
Many employees, particularly millennials, feel that the companies they work for care only for profits. This mindset leaves people not connected to the organisation. When you have, managers thrown into this mix who show a complete disconnect to their direct reports, this is a deadly combination.
There are however a few organisations that are beginning to align with progressive trends in employee engagement. These organisations show us, rather than tell us the business value in its people. This is exemplified as you see companies that are rewarded by their employees as a great place to work.
The ones that do not often display some recognizable scenarios:
- Acting on the idea of cutting costs with job cuts. This cuts into the heart of the workforce
- Performance ratings are used not to increase performance but as a negative tool
- Managers play favouritism with their employees
- Unethical practices between managers, favoured employees etc.
These scenarios make for an unstable work environment through declining loyalty, and the deterioration of employees with high potential.
Staying in the cage or setting out
These scenarios reveal that being a most “valuable asset” means, in many instances, belonging to the cluster of people who – at least for the moment – find themselves in favor with top management.
Since only a few people in a company having thousands of employees are granted these limited positions of special favor, and these may vary according to the manager’s fancy, the declaration, “our employees are our most valuable assets” may be a whopper of a lie. It is only meaningful if it is related to tangible financial reward plans and recognition programs for employees that are implemented through and through, in fairness and with consistency.
Being rewarded and acknowledged for making meaningful progress towards company goals – rather than ending up trapped, burnt out, anxious, and fearful because your organisation fails to see or hear you – is the only scenario that can overcome a feeling of disintegrating unity.
In the same way that no-one can afford to lose their heart – the body’s most valuable asset – no-one can afford to lose employees with promise, potential and true merit. Transparent standards and structures that support the growth and advancement of all individuals within an organisation are its lifeblood.
Towards a new equity
Honoring the maxim that the people in a firm are its most “valuable assets”, means reducing the invisibility and increasing transparency, rewarding employees and encouraging a culture of learning at every level in an organisation. Managers and leaders must find ways to understand the inner work life of employees, and to respond to survey results by making meaningful progress towards fair and consistent standards that ensure job security and compensate people well for their work.
This is both good for business and affirms the value of each person, building an ethos of trust.
At the end of the day, there is only one thing that distinguishes one organisation from another, and this is its people. If you hear or read “employees are our most valuable assets”, remember the organisation that values its asset will create outstanding performance on all financial indicators.
About the Author :
Dr. Sharoq Almalki
([email protected]): An Employee engagement expert, author and public speaker.