The game of chess is a very strategic one.There are different characters and each has a role to play in order to draw a win. There is the King, Queen, Knight, Bishop, Rook and the Pawns. The pawns are the most numerous pieces in the game, and in most circumstances, also the weakest. While having limited mobility and being the least valuable piece, a pawn has a large potential and, together with other pawns, defines the course of the game.

If Pawns Were Workers…
We can relate the character of the pawn in an organisation to employees who do not hold managerial positions. These are the people who do not have any special qualifications – they are mostly factory hands in organisations that manufacture goods, and the first to be considered for termination anytime the company wants to lay people off. That notwithstanding, these employees are
the driving force of every organisation. After management has strategized, they are the ones on whom management falls to execute the action.

Why They Matter
How can management utilize these employees for effective organisational performance? The simple answer is to train them, make them feel a part of the organisation, hear their grievances and give them a concrete social security plan since they are prone to accidents. What will be the essence of strategizing when there are no executors to put ideas into action? Some players do not seem to be aware that the loss of a single pawn in the opening, without obtaining any visible compensation for it, is enough to lose a chess game and this is the same for any business.

Future Of The Pawns
In the game of chess, should a pawn get all the way across the board to reach the opponent’s edge of the table, it will be promoted to either a queen, knight, bishop or a rook. This means, hard work pays! With the recent rise in technology and industries seeking to go hi-tech, employees must look for other ways and avenues to develop themselves. I foresee the ‘pawns’ being replaced with robots as has already happened with a water bottling company in Ghana. Robots do the jobs, they have been programmed to do without questioning, and when they are involved in an accident, you fix them or throw them away. Humans, on the other hand, do not follow instructions sometimes and are prone to accidents, but how about being the employee who operates the robot?

As was discussed in the June 2012 edition of the HR Focus magazine, employee development is not just an HR function but the employee’s as well. So do not get comfortable with your position or role, upgrade yourself before your job gets outsourced to robots or you lose it to a better candidate.

By: Owusu Safoa


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