Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Human Assets

"I've never realised how important you are until you are not with us anymore," so says a supervisor to an ex-staff.
If you get to hear a statement like this from your ex-employer or a supervisor, you will probably be overwhelmed and be very proud of yourself. But this is seldom the case in Singapore because employers here do not usually appreciate the work of their subordinates.

To a local company, employees are just numbers, and numbers come and go. Supervisors of companies or even the staff of Human Resource seldom attempt to find out the truth why employees leave. Exit interviews are often unheard, and even if there are such interviews, they are just for formalities.

Employers and the management usually do not care how the staff are getting on, so long as the work gets done in time. Staff and subordinates are people whom they only call upon to blame and scold when things go wrong. They do not care how things are done so long as the things get done, simply because they are too busy with their own work in their own world to care about how the staff are coming along.

The truth about employees leaving a company is usually because of people, not work or greener pastures. Junior staff are often the most ill-treated, and some supervisors are good at supervising and delegating work, but they themselves do not do the work. Managers above them are often blind to who are doing the work and relies on the supervisor to tell the story, but here is where the problem lies, because supervisors are usually the ones who do not understand and who abuse their staff and pull rank.

By and by, companies such as these lost more then they care to admit, because human assets are still the key to a corporation's success. If they neglect the juniors, and allow frequent turnovers, the operational work at the bottom gets jammed, and hence whatever decision at the top do not matter, because work can't get done and customers don't get served, simply because of the bottle neck at the bottom, a certainty that spells the end of all business plans.

So the story goes, that people at the top needs to know the things happening at the bottom, and to neglect this aspect is to spell the end of the company.

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