“Employees Are Our Most Important Asset”

Steve Gifford Always Be Closing, Audacious Ideas, Culture, Good HR, HR & Marketing, Influence, Innovation, Performance, Seat at the Table, Steve Gifford, Talent Strategy, Training and Development

It’s on your website, and it’s in your handbook.  You’ve heard an executive say it to a crowded room.  It’s just vague enough that it’s hard to disprove, but doesn’t really commit the company to anything.

Want to get the attention of everyone at the table? Ask this:

What’s the last major program we launched to optimize this asset?

Because, consider the attention paid to making your other assets perform:

Real estate. If extra space can be rented out, someone has figured out how to rent it out.

Vehicles. We track mileage, have a set rotation for who gets a new vehicles, and bad things happen if you wreck one.

Patents. Lots of non-competes, and lots of lawyers.

Equipment. Someone knows the serial number of your laptop, and when you’re due for an upgrade; there’s a whole staff around for fixing your computer problems!

So, is your “human asset” getting the attention of all the other assets in your organization?

HR novices try to help improve their company’s human resources through moral persuasion.  A training program will make us better!  A bigger 401k match will attract better employees!  We need more vacation because people complain about our current plan!

No other asset manager in your company works this way.  Your facilities people will justify upgrades to the parking lot or a new wing based on additional revenue or lower cost. Everyone else is working the same way — there’s a return on the investment in the asset.

You can get some traction with the people who control funds by talking about improving your employee asset.  However, you’d better be able to talk about employees as an asset!  If you can’t explain how your program reduces costs, or increases revenue, it’s a non-starter.  Assets, even human ones, don’t work that way.