The phrase ‘people our our most important aspect’ arguably resonates with companies more than it’s ever done before.
Many point to a company’s brand, fixed assets, data, patents and money as resources which could be perceived as more valuable than employees, but no company can afford to lose all its people.
For a company that prides itself on being unique, tacit knowledge is invaluable. Employees who’ve been at a company for twenty years understand the company’s brand and also the processes which go behind making the company successful.
For those of you who are looking to innovate, you may have been told that tacit knowledge is the reason why companies become entrenched with old fashioned ideals that make them unresponsive to market change.
As an extension of this, it’s possible that if left to their own devices, a company’s longest-serving employees will keep doing the same things, but at the same time, outcasting them because their part of the ‘old guard’ can be negative for companies.
Instead, companies should use their experience as a driver for change and adapt their knowledge of the brand to fit in with new processes. Most of us who have been in a job for a long period of time will understand what it feels like to have gotten used to a system for the rug to then be pulled from under our feet - it’s not nice and at times, unsettling.
Having said that, when a change means increased ease and convenience it’s normally embraced and embraced quickly. It’s about creating urgency and creating a vision that your current staff can get onboard with. A great way to create unity with your oldest serving staff is to empower them and inform them directly how the implementation of new technologies is going to affect their jobs (in a hopefully positive light).
It’s important to reiterate that experienced staff members should be treated as an important cog in any change management operation. Sure, new processes, technologies and products will re-enter, enter and leave a company, but the best employees, regardless of their experience and time with the company, will always have a place and a value.