Employees: Asset or Investment?

When I read this article by Dr. Richard Ray, I literally stood up and applauded. Dr. Ray challenges us to think about the language we use when we talk about our team members. We’ve all worked for organizations over the years that have said: “You are an asset” and “Our employees are our top priority.” How many times did those words not align with the company’s actions?

Don’t get me wrong, being viewed as an asset isn’t a bad thing. I WANT to be an asset to the company that employs me, but more than that, I want to be an investment. I want the company to invest in my growth and development. I want the company to believe in my potential and provide opportunities for me to learn. And I recognize that it is up to me to take advantage of those opportunities and make the most of them as I seek to advance my career. 
Dr. Ray challenges us by reminding us that, “Assets are typically used or consumed and then sold, traded or warehoused in a manner that takes the asset off the books. Assets are property and subject to the will of those that own them. So is this what the CEOs and HR leaders mean? Are people ‘resources that are owned and controlled for economic benefit to their organizations’? Or do organizations see their employees as investments? Investments are waived for immediate financial gains to focus on future value. When organizations make good investments, good things happen.”
This idea could (and should) change the way organizations approach learning and development. Instead of seeing it as a budget line item and often one that is cut quickly when cost reductions are needed, they should recognize that they are investing in the future of the organization. I often hear C-level execs and HR professionals talk about increasing employee retention and at times they lament “wasted dollars” spent training and developing talent that goes elsewhere. Organizations will, without question, increase employee retention by changing the mindset to employees as investments vs. employees as assets. Not only will employee retention improve but the company will find itself in a better position to recruit top talent. 
In a recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, opportunity for personal growth and development has supplanted opportunity for advancement as the top attribute that new college grads are seeking from employers. This is a generation of learners, and they expect the company that employs them to provide ongoing opportunities for them to grow.
What do you think? Does your company treat you like an asset or an investment?
And if your company doesn’t treat you as an investment, what can you do about it? Are you willing to invest in yourself so that you can create your own opportunity to move on to bigger and better things?
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/03/23/3124262/employees-an-asset-more-like-investment.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/03/23/3124262/employees-an-asset-more-like-investment.html#storylink=cpy

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