Monday, August 28, 2006

If you ask any company what its most valuable asset is and you will get the same answer every time: "Our Employees!"
That is nice and appreciated, but in reality it couldn't be further from the truth.
Employees want time off, they take breaks when they are on the clock, they get sick, married, pregnant, demand training and insurance. They die and retire with no thought to training their replacements in the way Senior Management wants things done.
On top of that, they want to get paid.
Employees are the biggest drain on company resources and studies show declining productivity is what management gets in return for giving employees a purpose.
Employees are a blight on the success of a company second only to one other -- the customers.
I know, I know. Without customers a company ceases to exist.
But customers demand things. They want to change their orders at the last minute. They want P.O. forms filled out a certain way and faxed to a certain number at a certain time. They want the product in a different color or flavor or with special packaging.
They introduce variation. Variation is the bane of any system, even when that system is a company.
By comparison, employees are hated less than customers by the company, but hating less is very different than liking.
And so the employee ends up commoditized. All things employee related in a modern company happen through something called "Human Resources". Has anyone else thought about those words in that format?
"Human Resources" is truth in advertising. People are like printer toner cartridges. When they are all used up they get replaced.
It is a sad truth that the first and last contact an employee has with an employer is through "Human Resources". For most of them, it is a lot like ordering a new box of pencils. A box of pencils that will demand a work/life balance assessment and dental and vision insurance.

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