Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our 'people' come first! They're our most important asset, resource, 'thing' ...

Many organizations make a point of saying their people come first. They then go on to clarify that statements by saying that people are their most important asset, their most valuable resource, ...  In fact, Personnel Departments are now generally referred to as Human Resource Departments. Does that sound like your company really thinks that 'people' come first? Do you really think they've got your back – making sure you have healthcare coverage, a pension, training, …

I ran a quick search on the phrase "People are our most important…" and was shown a plethora of articles that make a mockery of that pious claim by most organizations, be they government agencies, private companies, or non-government organizations (NGO). For example. Check out these articles, and if this topic interests you, take the time to actually read them:
If organizations and their leaders really believe that their people come first, they need to do more than throw slogans around.  'People' really do know when you don't truly mean what you say.  They know if you really think of them as an asset, a resource, just another 'thing', a cog in the machinery that can and will be easily replaced without a second thought.  Maybe that's why I like working with 'open source' communities largely composed of volunteers who gather around projects they really care about. In 'open source' communities, people really do matter.

If I had my druthers, I'd start by getting rid of the term Human Resource Department. What do you think? I like to think I'm more than just a 'human resource'.

* Also, take a few minutes and check out these following two videos. The second video, by Jack Welch, presents one of the better arguments I've heard supporting the claim that your people better come first if you want your business to succeed.

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