Don’t just value engineers, value everyone


During his visits to the tech giants, Mr Lee said he heard repeatedly from engineers that “in Silicon Valley, engineers are valued.”

I think we would like to go further and say this country needs to adopt the attitude of valuing all occupations…and not burden them with requests like say “UNLIMITED CHANGES”.

Taking a cursory glance at our corporate landscape, it looks like we’re a long way off from there. We treat our vendors, employees and skilled agents like an economic digit – just come and fix X problem in Y time for Z dollars in the method prescribed by W.

The situation is almost always: you’re an engineer/designer/executive and you do the jobs that you’re told to do. You do it on time, you do not argue with the decisions and after that, you call it a day and you go home…but not before your boss does.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but the reverse works true too. If you see your staff as a cold, disposable tool…they would treat your organization as one too. What follows is there is no value exchange, no growth, no robust debate on how a product or project can improve.

Here’s a compelling reason for you to value your employees better: Any company has access to the same raw materials, management systems and technology as your company – it all boils down to how your workforce performance that is going to distinguish you from your competitors.

Employee turnover costs a company much more than just lost time. It costs a lot more to recruit, train and allow costly mistakes to happen before an employee “gets with your program”. Moreover, there is also a soft corporate cost when customers have to learn how to deal with fresh employees all the time.

By valuing your employees, it also means that you tap on their vast knowledge and experience.

Many companies pay top dollar to hire the best in business for the depth of their skills and ability to solve and forecast problems. Not harnessing your staff for these benefits is a corporate sin…a sin that could lead to a variety of problems that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Or improvements that should have.

The Prime Minister’s take away from Silicon Valley, is that there is a pressing need for organisations and societies to reorganise themselves to enable new ideas to flourish.

The time to start is now.


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