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Human Assets: A Company’s Best Competitive Advantage
Companies allocate a great many resources to making sure they have the right assets to compete in the market, yet many times they overlook the one investment that makes them the most competitive – their human assets.
What is a Human Asset?
Gaining an advantage over your competitors is every company’s goal. Companies that succeed offer their customers a unique value proposition that includes a winning product, practice or process combined with superior systems. Inevitably, competitors will learn and copy what you do, making your company’s offerings no longer unique.
What competitors can’t easily figure out or imitate are your people, and the culture created and sustained by those people. So, while you should invest in your company’s operations, make sure you commit the time and money to invest in your best competitive advantage. Human assets are the knowledge and skills that make the workforce productive.
How To Maintain Company Culture?
- Hire the best people – This mindset comes from the top. You can’t cheat on this one. Many organizations talk the talk, but you must also be willing walk the walk. This can only happen when senior leaders champion the hiring of best-of-breed employees and back it up with the compensation and benefits to attract this caliber of employee. It also means that you develop a partnership with your HR leaders so that they aren’t just filling open positions, but making sure that every hire not only fits the job description, they also enhance the culture as well.
- Promote process thinking – Great companies hire people at every level – from the receptionist to the C-suite – who are always looking to improve how things are done. To do this, they promote and reward thinking that encourages a strong focus on the customer, reduction of costs, and more efficient processes which all naturally lead to higher customer satisfaction. A business that emboldens the sharing and testing of new ideas will stay ahead of the game and become an innovator in their industry.
- Provide constant opportunities for training and development – Hiring the best isn’t enough. Successful companies provide their people continuous opportunities to expand their capabilities. While it can become costly, it is a worthwhile investment because you are advancing your most valuable asset and benefitting from the synergistic effect of elevating everyone to a higher level of thinking. What’s more, it helps retain your best employees because you’re demonstrating your commitment to them.
- Ensure a great corporate culture – The most effective recruiting advantage a company can get is when employees share positive stories about their work environment, which leads others to want to work there. It’s easier to attract the best people when you have an A+ reputation and this external perception can fuel a continuous cycle of great hires attracting more great hires. Become an employer of choice.
Finally, the old adage “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” is important to consider when planning your company’s future. Although assets such as technology, facilities and equipment are important, have you recently evaluated the state of your human assets? Systems and processes can be upgraded and copied, but the true measure of a company’s strength is whether it has the right people to grow the business and weather a competitive threat. Make sure you leverage your best asset to be prepared for both.
Steven Douglas Puts Culture and Relationships First