No employee can be Indispensable

What sets the following personalities apart from the rest? Ratan Tata? Amartya Sen? A R Rahman? Lakshmi Mittal? They are task masters, highly efficient crisis managers, solution oriented, accountable, loyal to their professions and highly proactive ‘can do’ individuals who are one of a kind and irreplaceable. Simply put, they are ‘indispensable’ to us, right?

Who is an indispensable employee? Are you one? You could be if you are a high flying performer, dependable, self-motivated and most importantly, entrepreneurial in your approach towards work. An indispensable employee performs his / her duties diligently, scores high on their appraisals and can be depended upon for any critical assignments. Simply put, all the employees in organization can be related by the degree of their importance, right? And if we put them on a scale of one to ten, then the employees who appear between seven to ten, can be regarded as most important and they can be termed as “indispensable”

Ask yourself, are you quality oriented and have an eye for detail? Are your aspiration-ns aligned with the organizational goals? And are you a best fit with the organizational culture? If you have answered yes to the above questions, then you belong to that category of employees who are good in their work, prompt, goal oriented and do not have any behavioral issues and gradually win confidence of all managers and people around. The organization starts relying on such people by delegating more responsibilities. Due to this, at some point in time, we find that the person has become the sole owner of the responsibility and is therefore, ‘indispensable’

Experts emphasize that the real indispensability of an employee is tested during tough times. After all, when times are good, an indispensable employee is rewarded for his / he work that motivate him / her to stay on, but when times turn bad, how does he / she react to the situation and behave under dire circumstances are of prime importance. Does he / she leave the company in the lurch at a time when they were counting on their most bankable employee? Does he/she become unproductive? If yes, then he /she was not indispensable to begin with. During these tough times, an indispensable employee proves his / her worth by going proves his / her worth by going beyond the call of duty to turn the tide and leverage his / her personality to increase revenue / clients. He / she also positively influence employees such that they commit themselves to the cause without hesitation. But then there would be times when very high flying employee will move to greener pastures, right? A few hurdles the organization has to overcome after the exit of a great employee, thus emphasizing the value these employees bring to the organization: 1) filling positions of people who belong to niche technologies or areas, becomes tough and also it becomes a bit of a challenge to maintain the same level of morale and motivation in the team as everybody in the team is effected by the loss of a highly critical resources, 2) it also means a business loss as there are costs like opportunity cost and the hiring and training cost involved in replacing the person and there are chances that we might not get the new resource as good as the previous one and 3) there is also the challenge of making sure that other employees do not perceive his / her exit negatively and thus follow suit.

The term “indispensable” is a bit overrated. Every good employee leaves a void; the magnitude of this void will be directly related to the impact that the employee has made on the immediate environment of work, namely business, colleagues, team members and clients. It is an established norm that human capital is the only appreciating capital of any company and while one gets to hear the key phrase that “the show must go on”, there are some people who may be vital to the growth and progress of the company and companies might not openly admit that. Un-dispensable employees are not born or may not be groomed in a B-school; but definitely a good organizational culture can create them.

You just need to identify and hone the qualities that make you a star and your organization would be more than willing to help.