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Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets

(June 2013) posted on Tue Jun 04, 2013

How to make your employees happy in your workplace and ultimately hang on to the best ones.


By Marty McGhie

One of my college professors once told our accounting class that every company has some very valuable assets that will never show up on the balance sheet. “Could anyone venture a guess as to what these might be?” he asked.

After a few errant answers and many furrowed brows on our part, the professor revealed the assets he was referring to: the company’s employees. “Even though they have zero net value on the books,” he said, “in actuality its employees are the most valuable assets a company can have.”

Now, jump ahead to the present day. We have officially been “post-recession” for a couple of years, and it’s safe to say that employees are much more willing to take chances on finding better employment if they aren’t satisfied with their current job. I’m guessing that many of you have felt the pain of losing a great employee – but have been caught off-guard by the loss because you thought they were perfectly happy working for you.

So in an effort to avoid that pain, let’s discuss how you can make your employees happy in your workplace and ultimately hang on to the best ones.

First, though, consider what’s most important to your employees. In the recent Society of Human Resources Management’s annual survey (shrm.org), respondents indicated several factors that were most important in creating the highest job satisfaction. In order of importance, they reported these to be:

* Opportunities to use skills and abilities;
* Job security;
* Compensation;
* Communication between employees and senior management; and
* Relationship with immediate supervisor.

What’s important to take away from this survey is that if you wish to create a workplace where people want to stay and perhaps build their career, you do have to pay them appropriately – but there’s more to creating a positive work environment and retaining your best staff than just their salaries. So let’s look at compensation and two other contributing factors I’ve found to be particularly critical.


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