The corporate landscape has shifted. Dramatically. Among many other things, there has been a race to cut costs, increase bottom lines, and reduce headcount. I’ve always bristled at the term headcount as if each member of a company is a head of cattle.
With the rise of outsourcing many critical pieces of our businesses, including the humans that actually work in them, we’ve begun to turn our employees into commodities. They’re starting to become interchangeable, replaceable, able to be discarded.
This isn’t a sweeping statement that ignores the many factors at play when companies make such decisions. But I believe it’s a posture problem, not a profit problem. There are plenty of instances when staff needs to be reduced, relocated or replaced, but it should not come as a result of turning your people into commodities.
While the squeeze is taking place, employees are displaying signals that they want to contribute, to be valued and to believe in something bigger than themselves. Should they be given the chance? I’d argue we would all be surprised by results such as deeper relationships, increased trust, better innovation, higher productivity and overall, a much stronger and profitable company.
The best employees are those who rave about their job when the boss isn’t around, send open job descriptions to dear friends in an attempt to recruit more rock stars, and continue to show up to work each morning with a smile on their face.
They’re the greatest asset and not simply an interchangeable head among many cattle.