Why Your Best Employees Are NOT Your Most Important Asset

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If you are trying to get maximum productivity from your employees, then it is time you rethink treating them like they are your most valuable asset. To understand why, let’s explore the “most valuable asset” concept. Companies have depended on business models that treat people as one more asset in the organization. Workers are expected to show up on time and perform their tasks within expected parameters, in the same way machines and equipment are expected to work within specified standards.

As a result of this dominant view of the workplace, a saying emerged: Employees are a company’s most important asset. While the statement was meant to show the value of reliable employees, it strips employees of their real value. In fact, the thought unintentionally dehumanizes the person and turns the employee into nothing more than one more company asset.

This model does not fit with today’s employees’ expectations of the workplace. Are employees seeking to become just one more cog in the big corporate machine? Are they perceived as replaceable parts in the system? Do they feel treated as assets instead of people?

Today’s workers have a much bigger focus on work-life balance and social needs, forcing companies to re-think how they treat what we at Learning4Managers call the old concept of the people-asset or the person-asset.

Employees can no longer be treated as an asset but rather need to be viewed again as people with complex real life issues. These issues may include disruptive and bully behaviors, but they can also be about needs like having a sick spouse at home who needs attention, having childcare problems, or having to deal with problems with the facility caring for an elderly parent. 

To think that human beings can compartmentalize and keep their personal lives completely separate from their work lives is naïve. Let’s imagine we have an employee suffering of stress at home due to a health situation in the family. Stress causes hormonal changes to occur which can have an impact on the body for days. An employee cannot control hormonal changes caused by stress any more than they can control the direction of wind currents on Jupiter. How can we ask this employee to compartmentalize and stop feeling the stress during work hours?

The point is that people are far more than just an asset. If we expect them to be engaged and give their utmost for the company, companies need to understand that they need to see people first as individual human beings. Once they address the needs of the individual. Only then will companies be able to truly engage employees and as a reward, employees will freely give their best to the company.

Posted in Training.