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Employees, the most valuable intangible assets and not commodities of a company!

Very few companies treat employees and the skills they bring with themselves as a business asset. As a result, more and more businesses are losing grip over value that they should ideally be capturing.

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Unemployment in India is at its lowest point. The latest unemployment rate was reported at 9.1 percent in the first week of August 2020, and states like Puducherry, Haryana, and Delhi are topping the charts as per the data released by independent monitoring agencies. As the job market remains constricted, managers are seeking the help of staffing and recruitment agencies, only to find themselves with piles of resumes that aren’t really solving the problem. Typically, the staffing and recruitment business has been one of quantity over quality. This is an industry where a hiring manager can, without any efforts, receive 15 resumes for an open position in less than a day or two. Unfortunately, in a couple of hours, managers quickly identify that of those 15, only one or two may be a marginal fit.       

The fundamental concern is most recruiters are just tossing darts at a board, with the hope that at least one sticks. But this isn’t the most sustainable, reliable, and ethical approach. How do we change this trend? First, we need to eliminate the commodity culture of the recruiting industry as well as the corporate world. In the present-day fast-paced, throwaway, and disposable world, it has increasingly become normal to practice an easy-come-easy-go mindset at the workplace. This prevailing un-friendly insolence is being manifested by terminating employees with apparent disregard for the effect on their lives or the consequences on the business. For instance, if an employee doesn’t seem to fit in well within the team or makes a manager uncomfortable, there is a general tendency among employers to quickly get rid of him or her. After all, there’s no scarcity of talent in the market, right?

However, the truth remains that very few companies treat employees and the skills they bring with themselves as a business asset. As a result, more and more businesses are losing grip over value that they should ideally be capturing. The repercussions of such age-old practices are being reflected in the day-to-day performances of the employees, their creative feats, and will to innovative for the betterment of the organization. 

Whether we agree or not, this feels like an explicit initiative to crush and crash the workplace engagement, freedom to be creative, and flexibility to innovate. Consequently, this is leading to employees not putting in much effort or feeling welcome to, unless asked for or required. This prompts the need of the hour, which is to stop commoditizing people, and rather, viewing them as a collection of individuals who all have their own gifts of talent, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. And rightly, as the saying goes, great things come from embracing people as they are, with whatever they have, and then working to grow mutually. However, only those at the leadership positions can bring about this wave of change by building a team of loyal employees who are willing to stick to the organization even in times of crisis, even if that means accepting the fact that no employer is perfect, nor is any employee perfect for the business. 

Here are a few strategies that can help ease the process and bring about the much-needed cultural shift in most organizations!

Communication is key

Training manuals are helpful – they are a piece – but not the puzzle. Many of the workplace barriers can be resolved by communication – not guesswork, nor translation. For a smooth and healthy organizational culture, employers and employees need to be on the same page – especially when it comes to communication. An efficient and effective communication system demands managerial proficiency in delivery as well as receiving messages. Here’s when the manager can discover various hurdles to communication, analyze the causes for their occurrence, and take precautionary steps to avoid them. 

Look for the why

To understand why certain things, take place in the way they do, within an organization, it’s important to analyze the deeper cause. For example, if there’s an employee who is always late to work, instead of sending a ‘stinker’ or ‘cold-reply’, seek first to understand why they are late. Maybe they are working two jobs, maybe they are relying on public transport, maybe they are burdened with multiple responsibilities, or maybe they actually are lethargic, but identify the reason. Working with hundreds of thousands of employees from different backgrounds can be difficult and complicated at times, but looking for the source why something isn’t working as seamlessly as it should makes a huge difference.

Build a culture of trust

A culture of trust is crucial to boost employee morale. Insecurity, uncertainty, and fear are the biggest demotivators, regardless of what people think about leading with these feelings. Employees want to know what they are supposed to do, while they are doing what they are asked to do and be redirected when they losing a track from the set goals. 

Acknowledgment and appreciation of efforts

While the importance of being acknowledged and appreciated differs by individual, it is necessary to foster a positive relation – be it at home or the workplace. When employees feel valued and appreciated, it upholds the commitment they make towards the organization and incentivizes them to continue excelling and contributing. On the flip side, if employees feel the absence of appreciation, they are less likely to feel motivated or connected to invest themselves. From lunches, awards, certifications, to kind notes, there is an umpteen number of ways employers can recognize employees for their day to day contributions. This needn’t always be substantial – in fact, many ways to recognize and appreciate employees are free, it only costs time, energy, and effort to execute. 

In conclusion, it’s always good to note the familiar golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Shiraz Khan Spicetree Design Agency employees

Shiraz Khan

The author is Designation, Founder, SpiceTree Design Agency

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