Often managers talk about resources when they mean people. And managers allocate resources to projects and tasks instead of people. This leads to a waste of talent and to decreased performance and loyalty of people.
In many meetings managers talk about resources when they mean people. And resources (people) are allocated to projects and tasks or cut to increase profits. Sometimes managers speak like this in front of the affected people. And in weekly or monthly reports you can find a section "resources" with numbers about money and people.
That "resource punk" practice has at least two consequences
- The managers do not think about the individual person who comes with talent and capabilities. Thus the company wastes the potential of the person to the benefit of the company.
- Decrease of motivation and loyalty: People want to be seen and treated as people. Once they understand, hear and experience that their managers view them just as a resource or a number their motivation to perform and their loyalty decreases significantly.
Imagine the situation of a company in an economic downturn.
The management team needs to decrease costs to stabilize profits. So they discuss how to cut resources (money and people). There is a heated discussion in the management team who has to cut how much. Finally they agree on a resource reduction of 10% in each department, which means every tenth person will be made redundant.
Next day the senior executive invites all employees to a townhall meeting. He communicates the decision:
"There is an economic downturn. We loose customers and sales. To stay profitable we need to cut 10% of our cost and resources. I hope you understand our decision. Thank you."
For affected people who will loose their job, that message is a shock.
And for the 90% of the people who stay and who are supposed to perform that message is a shock, too. They understand that their managers view them just as costs and resources which could be cut. As a consequence their motivation to perform and their loyalty decreases significantly. From now on they think twice before they stay two hours longer, come into the office on a saturday, postpone their vacation due to the importance of a project or share their ideas. Many start to look for a new job outside the company.
Authors of business books as well as professors at universities and business schools formulate theories about business. One methode to formulate a theory is to abstract from experience and examples. Thus writers and lecturers do abstract from people in the real world, transform their observation and thinking and write and speak about resources, human resources and human resource management. As a consequence students and managers are trained to speak about resources instead of people.
Another reason may be that it is easier and there are less emotions involved if you decide on resources compared to decide on people.
To break down the resource punks we all just have to think, talk and write about people when it is about people and NOT about resources.