Our people are our most important assets. We hear this sentiment expressed all the time in business. It's a statement that makes a regular appearance in all forms of company media and is made by all types and size of companies across all sorts of sectors - but when it comes to the crunch, does anyone really mean it?
I may be charged with being naive but I do believe that when most company bosses make these statements they really do believe it. However, what is clear is that they don't always practice what they preach. I am sure that it's not because they fundamentally don't care but more often because they are subject to so many other pressures that they think they either haven't got the time, the resources or simply the know-how to focus on their human assets.
One of my favourite questions to ask when I am giving a presentation on "people issues" is: "How many companies have a business plan?" As you would expect there are lots of nodding heads.
Then ask how many have a cashflow forecast or capital expenditure budget? Again, more nods, positive mutterings and lots of raised hands.
However, when I get round to question three - how many companies actually have a training and development budget that forms some form of overall strategic people plan? - more often than not, I get very puzzled looks.
As for a personal development plan for each employee - I think you can guess how that one goes down.
But why should that be? It's people and the skills they bring to a business that make everything else work. People are really your most important asset and a well trained, highly motivated and focused workforce is an investment that will pay dividends through good times and bad.
- Guy Moreton is director of More People.