D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

If You See People As a Cost, Your Business Will Fail

Sunday, March 8, 2009 10:43 PM

I read a blog post talking about how businesses were looking for more cost-effective ways to train their employees and help their customers. The post itself was fine, but there was this graphic that was used next to the intro text that bothered me…


Nobody was associated with the quote itself, but the way it spoke to me suggested that the feedback the author received from businesses was that people are looked at as a cost to be managed.

There are some that might read this and say “Well of course they are.” I disagree. People are not costs. People should never be considered just a *cost* to an organization. As soon as you do that, you’re putting the value of your employees knowledge, abilities, wisdom, and activities on the same level as office supplies, utilities, hardware and software.

It’s true that one of the most costly parts of any business is the payroll and the associated costs that go along with having employees. What business owners need to realize is that if you don’t have employees, you don’t have a business. People produce ideas, push innovation, connect with customers and colleagues, and ensure that the business moves forward. People are not costs, people are the most valuable asset you have as a business. Too often employees are looked at for how much their salary and benefits cost the company each year, and not for the value that their domain knowledge, customer relationships, and visionary insight are worth.

Yes we’re in tough economic times, yes we need to look at how our organizations can weather this storm. But if your ship is taking on water, why would you consider throwing your crewmen overboard as if they were cargo? Manage your labour assets, not your labour costs.



# re: If You See People As a Cost, Your Business Will Fail

Hi there - I wrote the blog post you're referring to and I agree with you whole-heartedly! The point of the graphic was to illustrate the wrong way to think about your people. Your people are your best assets and your knowledge base. Just like any asset they must be invested in, not just from a monetary perspective but from a relationship and value perspective as well. The graphic was taken from a post we have on our Microsoft Canada site discussing the economy and the importance of technology and skilled people to sustain economic downturns. Thanks for your comments.

Cheers -Rini 3/9/2009 5:53 AM | Rini Gahir

# re: If You See People As a Cost, Your Business Will Fail

Thanks for the comment Rini...I'm glad the quote was an illustration and not an actual response received from a customer (although I'm sure there are businesses out there that hold that sentiment).

For anyone reading, you can check out the post which does have some great links to training resources at:


D 3/9/2009 7:48 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

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