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Human Resource Management

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Turning the Power Hierarchy on Its Head

In the past, we did not ask people what they could do. We asked them if they could do what we needed done. Our employees expected to be told what to do. This arrangement favoured ownership or leadership of the organization over the individual.

Those days are gone. In the outsourced economy, our businesses, our organizations are now environments for us as employers to steward - and steward does not mean control. It means creating the kind of place where knowledge workers want to work with you, not for you. This economy requires employees who are capable, committed partners, who share our business objectives and have a stake in the company's remaining competitive.

As employers, we need to develop a radically new relationship to the people we invite to join us in our enterprise.

Employees as Assets

If we relate to those we pay as assets rather than expenses, we might find ourselves asking different questions of these people, and taking different actions toward them. This is the radical shift I am recommending.

"Knowledge workers are more important to your business today than your strategy."

The concept of "employees as assets" is going to require that you create and maintain a culture of interdependence, where employees feel valued and return value in equal measure. This type of environment has little or no concern for control for human assets, but places attention on systems that inform the organization of what the talent needs are, now and in the immediate future. Plenty of attention is given to attracting and selecting the right people, developing them once they are on the team, and understanding the full scope of their capabilities so as to support their adaptability at times when the jobs they do can be moved and completed by less expensive talent.

Knowledge workers are more important to your business today than your strategy. They are your main asset. If yours can be the kind of workplace these people will be looking for, you have a distinct competitive advantage.

Building a Culture of Interdependence

Here are some guiding principles for building a culture of interdependence in the new, outsourced economy:

Know what human assets you have on hand, and have a plan to optimize these.

Know what human assets you are likely to need, and have a plan for their acquisition.

Create a senior-level position in your company - Vice President



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