I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this week and I heard a story about someone who had a great service experience at a restaurant.  He was so impressed with the waitress that he took a few minutes to just tell her how much he appreciated her and that she was doing a great job.

The waitress started crying.

Now, I don’t know all of the details here, but what I do know is that it isn’t really normal for someone to break out in tears when they receive a hearty thank you from someone.

The restaurant employing the stand out waitress had an incredible resource.  But she was likely undervalued an unappreciated.

Too many big (and small) companies are missing customer experience strategies and failing to recognize that people are their greatest asset in an era of product commoditization.

Sure, a lot of companies provide lip service–consistently saying that they are all about people. But how many companies really assess the value of their human capital and its true impact on business performance?   With the exception of some enlightened consultancy and tech. companies, people are all too often aggregated into a cost component on the P/L and consistently viewed as something to cut. Outdated industrial age accountancy rules prop up this “people as an expense mentality” by not allowing people to be classified as assets and properly positioned on the balance sheet.

Sure, not every person is an asset; some people who stop producing even become liabilities!  And, yes, it is hard to measure the value of human capital.  It is hard to measure experiences delivered by great service.  But companies that still don’t understand that human capital is the engine of the rapidly information and post-information age world will be left behind.

The Empowered Employee Future (Employee 2.0)

Employees that don’t understand that they are going to increasingly be responsible for building their careers and cultivating their own audiences will also get left behind.

Future employees flourishing in progressive business models will have more autonomy and be more free to own company results;  they will be much more employable and commercially attractive–it will be harder to keep them.  But companies that do manage to keep newly empowered employees will see their bottom lines explode!