Why your most prized assets are intangible ones
April 3, 2019 / Productivity / Greg Atkinson
One of the most successful taxi companies in the world doesn’t own any cars. One of the most famous hotel chains in the world doesn’t own any hotels. And one of the most beloved retailers in the world doesn’t own any products. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon have built powerful and profitable empires, while not producing or owning any of the products they offer. Instead, their success lies in leveraging intangible assets to provide a consistently good and efficient service to customers. So, while a traditional company may focus most of their attention on their product line, the company of the future knows that like these forward-thinking behemoths, its success will rely on intangible assets. Assets such as these:
1) Ability to provide quick solutions
A customer who wants something wants something now. In a world where anything a heart desires can be delivered to the front door within the hour, a company that fails to deliver results fast is the new enemy of the people.
In order to deliver quick results, a company must be able to find and deploy skilled people at a moment’s notice. This requires it to have a comprehensive database of the skills available to it (both internally and externally), which can be searched quickly. Information on the relevant individuals’ current location and availability must also be available. This way, a task team with all the specialist skills required can be compiled. The team members must also be swiftly integrated, in order to work seamlessly together.
Companies who understand the importance of a transparent skills ecosystem find Kalido invaluable. Kalido is a networking tool that matches skill seekers with skill providers. Users showcase their skills through comprehensive profiles that surface not just the primary skills listed in the average CV, but also secondary skills, and newly acquired ones. This makes the full spectrum of a person’s abilities and expertise visible. For employers, this means they often discover hidden talents among their own staff, in addition to useful external consultants. For the employee or consultant, this means they have many more opportunities to find interesting work.
Skill providers can specify their location, availability, and rates. This makes it easy for Kalido’s smart algorithms to match the appropriate provider to the seeker’s requirements. In fact, within a matter of minutes, an employer could ostensibly find all the skills they need to put together a task team. These skills can be drawn from the employer’s internal staff or external freelancers. This surely beats the weeks or even months an employer has to wait during a traditional recruitment process. During this lost time, customers grow impatient, and competitors grow bolder. With Kalido, the relevant skills are found quickly, and the team can be put to work at once to solve the customer’s problem.
2) Happy, productive staff
Skilled staff is one thing. Engaged staff is quite another. A company could have the best technically skilled people in the world, but if these people are not motivated to use their skills to the utmost, the employer is still not deriving much benefit.
Staff morale, health, and happiness are some of the most important intangible assets a company must invest in. According to a Gallup survey, only 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged. This is a huge problem as every unhappy, disengaged employee costs a company roughly $3 400 for every $10 000 of salary (34%). For US companies, this works out to $450 – $550 billion dollars in lost productivity per year! In contrast, 57% of employees who have friends at work report more happiness, 50% report more motivation, and 39% felt that work friendships made them more productive. In fact, 70% of employees agree that friendships at work is the most crucial element for a happy and productive working life. Clearly, to keep staff happy, motivated, and productive, good relations must be built between colleagues. And like all human relationships, these must be built on mutual respect, trust, and communication. Employers can encourage this by providing more opportunities for colleagues to learn about each other and socialise away from work. Again, Kalido can provide invaluable support here.
Kalido profiles showcase not just the individual’s complete set of skills, but also things that make someone unique and interesting. These include a person’s interests and hobbies, past academic or work experience, sports, cultural or religious affiliations, and social, business, and family contacts. By viewing a colleague’s Kalido profile, employees can develop a sense of the person as a person, rather than seeing them merely as a job title. Employees may even discover shared affiliations and contacts, such as a shared admiration for obscure 18th century Italian poets, or that they’re distantly related through marriage. By making more information about a person transparent, Kalido provides more points of contact for starting conversations and developing rapport.
Companies are also encouraged to create networks on Kalido. Networks can be created for any department, task team, social or cultural interest, or even just for lunch groups. Networks help users keep all their relevant contacts in one place. Network administrators can also broadcast useful information to all members, so everyone stays informed and up to date.
Free chats and calls let users reach out whenever they want. And the handy Nearby feature alerts users when colleagues are close by, so impromptu drinks, after-work runs and squash games, or just a quick chat at the water cooler are always possible.
By encouraging staff to build and maintain good relationships with colleagues, employees enjoy a significantly more positive work experience, employers benefit from a more engaged and productive team, and customers benefit from superior service.
The book value of a company can be calculated by adding up its office, equipment, stock, and debts and receivables. But the actual value of a business lies in its goodwill. It’s the trust that’s been built which convinces suppliers to give it more time for payment. It’s the dedication of staff who’ll pull longer hours in order to see a project through. It’s the loyalty of customers who’ll stick with a brand, even if another company offers better prices. It’s the reputation of a company which sells a product better than the product itself can.
A company builds up goodwill by consistently offering good services. And by being someone people want to do business with. In other words, a company must have personality and character. A company’s personality sets it apart from competitors far more than price or product can. American mattress company Casper enjoys a loyal fan base, not because its mattresses are any cheaper or more comfortable than other company’s, but because of its fun, witty social media persona. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Facebook built its empire by offering a unique product, but its perceived lack of character and conscience have cost it dearly in recent years.
In addition to personality, a moral compass is also important. Companies who operate solely with profit in mind, at the expense of employee welfare and social welfare will see these profits diminish in the long run.
While companies of the past concerned themselves with making and selling a better product than the next person, companies of the future will concern themselves with being better than the competition. Intangible assets like the ability to provide consistently good service, having happy, productive people, and enjoying the goodwill of various stakeholders will prove much more valuable in the long term than the best product of today will.