Our greatest asset is our people. How often have you heard such a statement and then wondered why attrition at the company is off the Richter scale?
After all, it’s a glib, meaningless statement unless the action supporting it is real. In other words, while increasing the bottom line sustains business growth, it’s the people who’ll get you there. Strict rationality kills culture.
So, if leaders genuinely put people before bottom-line numbers, business will increase, attrition and sick days will drop, and people will be at their desks longer, keen to be a part of something great they are helping build.
Sound a bit cheesy? Not so. If boards, CEOs and other managers stewarded the finances of their companies as offhandedly as many manage people, shareholders and other stakeholders would be alarmed at the speedy decline of investments.
In fact, failure is inevitable if “numbers before people” is sanctioned from the top. Said another way, strict rationality kills relationships and, eventually, culture.
Everyone reading this may secretly say, we all know this, but it’s the world as we know it. People don’t have the same value as the voice of our shareholders and the bonus schemes we look forward to.
Maybe so, but an enlightened leadership team, beginning with the C-suite, should recognize that the top priority for the future is building and deploying talent effectively. This requires partnership with the HR department.
Rigorous attention to hiring – not just for talent, but for cultural fit – along with thorough onboarding practices. Add to that the use of a buddy system to get new hires installed quickly and effectively. Deploy talents into identified gaps in the business, and, on that subject, when was the last time you conducted a talent, skills and gap audit in the business? Just saying.
An organization can’t develop its people unless it sets them up for success. And diversity and inclusion are incredibly important to understanding how to build successful businesses. Yet nothing brings greater inefficiency, and therefore poor results, than failing to connect disconnected people.
We’re all marveling at the use of how Twitter is being used to run the USA: Imagine what Twitter and your attitude toward your people could do to or for your business. It takes just one dissatisfied executive, staff member or undervalued person with a significant following to wreak havoc.
Perhaps you’ve already got structures in place to support and manage your people and if you have – wonderful. But, do your people (at all levels) feel empowered and motivated? Do they feel they are valued? Do they understand their important role in organizational success? Do the goals of the organization align with the life goals of the people who work for you? Notably, do they trust you?
Leaders putting people before numbers should be the norm: Candidates eager to come work for you. A positive corporate culture reputation that precedes you, noting the way you value and treat people. Hopefully even tweets that praise you as an employer.
There is nothing more empowering to any business than to demonstrate trust and transparency and sincere value of the people entrusted to your stewardship. People are smart: Set out a vision in which they are included and point them in the right direction and they will foster collective success.
When people know they come before numbers and see their leadership demonstrating a real sense of responsibility to staff, they are fulfilled and engaged, and success follows. Such leaders realize that numbers are an outcome. And that what will get them there is their people. People are inspired by great leadership, an inclusive culture, meaningful values and integrity.
Create this kind of environment by starting with your greatest asset: Your people.
credit Hugh Massie