It’s long been a truism that a company’s employees are often its greatest assets – certainly important enough to invest in. Engineering or scientific companies, for example, wouldn’t amount to much if their employees weren’t all highly educated experts in their subjects – their value stems from the company’s knowledge, not its assets. But humans, and their inherent value, are also difficult to quantify and value. Investing in their education and training will always be beneficial, but that won’t always translate to a concrete figure in the credit column. Yet companies are increasingly seeing this investment as a positive, not something they should begrudgingly adhere to.
Employee attitudes to what work means – and with it, the work itself – are shifting too. If you asked someone 20 years ago what was most important to them about the work they did, they’d cite stability and security as the main drivers. But the job for life is less of a priority for today’s employees, who tend to be more concerned about having a flexible job that they can control and develop, and that fits their lifestyle, not the other way around.
Whatever the priorities, though, the employment market is (as it were) in many ways a seller’s one. And given that well-trained staff are becoming more difficult to find and hold on to, more than ever before, companies are having to promote themselves as attractive places to work – and to stay working at.