We all can relate to hearing our leaders refer to their workforces as ‘their greatest asset’. We can even go to the annual 10K reports and read about it in the CEO blurbs on the front pages. Are these statements genuine, is the human being an ‘asset’?
In that same 10K report we can flip a few pages down to review our income statements and balances sheets to quickly confirm that the human being is listed as a ‘liability’ and that our equipment is our defined ‘assets’. This is consistent with our Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
How many of our organizations have a means for calculating the intellectual capital of our workforce? When a workforce reduction is necessary for whatever reason, do we typically discern who will be ‘seeking opportunities’ by the time with the company, or by their contribution to the overall performance of the facility?
Do we believe that the 80/20 principle applies here? Do we believe that 20% or less of our workforce, really understands 80% of how we operate as a system (meaning they do not operate in a silo and just do ‘their’ job)? Did faces just appear in your mind as to who that 20% is (we all know who ‘really gets it’)?
Let’s look at this from a truly human standpoint and in the context of our life longevity and its impact on the healthcare system. As the baby boomers pass the 65 year old mark, we will start to inundate the U.S. healthcare system. This will stress the current facilities, along with the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (10 of millions more added to the ranks of the insured). We strive as a society to improve quality of life, but, can we realistically afford to?
The current retirement age is 65 years old. If we increase the average life expectancy, for example, to 85 years old (about 77 years old now), can we afford to support a population to that age?
About 80% of our lifetime healthcare costs will come in our last 20 years of life (where we will use acute care facilities more often). Can we afford the additional healthcare costs of the baby boomers and millions of additional insureds under the ACA? Can we afford to pay social security for an additional 10 years because life expectancy and quality of life has increased? Can we afford not to? This is quite a dilemma we face in this generation.
Isn’t this similar to the Reliability Bathtub Curve (http://www.weibull.com/hotwire/issue21/hottopics21.htm)? Can we apply the bathtub curve to the human being? We would be discussing the ‘wear out’ phase of the curve, except this would be our wear out phase…the human being’s as we age.
So I ask, is the human being an ‘Asset’ or a ‘Liability’?