What’s more valuable to your organization; the people that you employ or the hardware that they use? I’m hoping that you chose the former rather than the latter! Look at it from another perspective; check your P & L sheet – what costs your organization the most, people or hardware? Yet most organizations know far less about what their people are capable of, than they do about how many plastic boxes they have lying around the place!
For example, most well run IT or Facilities functions can provide an inventory of their organization’s hardware. They can supply you with a printed list of the number of computers, photocopiers, fax machines and other hardware that’s owned or leased by the business. Ask the same organization for an inventory of all the competencies of all the company’s employees. The result? Many organizations have nothing of the sort, they wouldn’t be able to produce an accurate, up to date list of people’s competencies and they wouldn’t know where to start.
Taking the analogy further, a hardware inventory might include some additional information about each item of hardware: a description; a specification; how long it’s been in service; what its current status is; where it’s located; whether it’s been purchase or leased.
A well run competency program should seek to capture similar (and more) information about the competencies of each employee in the workforce: a description of the competency; the level of proficiency that each person has; how much experience they have; when the competency was last used; where the person is located; whether they are a full-time employee or contractor.
So when you hear someone say “People are our most valuable asset”, you’ll know what question to ask them.