In your office everyone has a stereotype: the one with the incredible messy desk who can find anything in an instant, the one who knows all of the office gossip, and most importantly the one who always has chocolate to offer at your 2pm sugar crash. These employees are who make the office feel familiar day in and day out. If they leave, someone new inevitably takes on their role, whether consciously or unconsciously. But what about the person you go to at 6pm on a Friday to ask for help preparing Monday’s presentation? Or the person who reminds you when it’s your turn to bring bagels to the morning meeting? Are these people ever really replaceable? Perhaps the more important question to ask is does anyone know how irreplaceable these people truly are?
So many times these employees who grease the gears of the organization go unnoticed and underutilized. This is counterintuitive to the organizations best interest because any organization’s most valuable resource is you! HUMAN resources are the number one expenditure for most organizations (salaries, benefits, recruitment, training, etc.). Think about it- YOU are your organizations most valuable resource so it makes sense that your organization should invest in making you the most productive employee you can be.
How then can an organization help make you more productive? One tool is to give employees specific task-oriented feedback. But your organization can have the best structured feedback system in the world and it will still be useless if you do not have the right information. Most mangers do not know everything that you do on a day-to-day basis because overseeing your work is just one of their many responsibilities. Do you know who has a good idea of your daily tasks? The person sitting in the cubicle right next to you. Your peers have special insight into your performance because they spend more time with you and they are working on similar tasks. While a manager can evaluate your performance in comparison to the organizational standard, your peers can lend insight on your performance in comparison to their standard, and your subordinates can provide insight on how your actual effectiveness compares to your perceived effectiveness. This type of feedback is termed 360-degree feedback or multi-rater feedback, and it is one of the best methods to identify and develop talent in organizations.
So how would an organization determine which employees are truly irreplaceable? The better question to ask is how does one create an organization where ALL employees are irreplaceable. This can be accomplished by incorporating an empirically validated 360 Degree Assessment into your organizations personal development process, which will enable your organization to capitalize on its employees strengths and pinpoint develop opportunities. Ultimately improved feedback processes lead to more productive employees, which leads to a more productive organization, and everyone wants to be a part of the organization whose stereotype is “industry leader.”