5 October 2010

People are NOT your organisation's greatest asset

It is often said, particularly in the services sector, that people an organisations greatest asset, but this is nonsense and I'm on a mission to make people realise that.

It's easy to see how the misconception arises because people-centric businesses rely heavily on people but to call them valuable assets is like saying a farmer's best assets are his cows.

Another way to look at it is to ask yourself if people are the greatest asset then why is this still true some years later when all those people have moved on?

On the other hand, one organisation will hire resources from another or can compete on the basis of what their staff can do so what is going on?

Put simply, it's not the people that are the asset it's what the organisation does to get special people that is the true asset.

For example, if one organisation is better at finding and recruiting the better people than another then this skill is an asset. So, following on from that, are the benefits systems, culture and internal processes that help to keep best people there.

And if you cannot win by attracting the best people then an alternative strategy is to recruit average people and to train them to be the best. In this case the organisation's Learning and Development is their asset.

So, please, next time somebody tells you that people are their organisation's greatest asset politely correct them and help to stamp out this myth.

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