What’s your most important asset?

What can you be doing to make sure your employees are in the minority who are happy where they are and wouldn’t leave no matter what?

“…For us, our employees matter most. It just seems common sense to me that, if you start off with a happy, well-motivated workforce, you’re much more likely to have happy customers. And in due course the resulting profits will make your shareholders happy.” — Richard Branson, Losing my Virginity

Granted, Branson is not a conventional businessman, but it begged the question – where do your employees sit in your list of priorities? With the furore earlier last week about assumed upcoming changed to IR laws under the new government, it is a question worth exploring.

For many organisations they are in exact opposition to the quote above. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard “our people are our most important asset”. I have also lost count of the number of times those words were just not supported by the organisation’s actions.

BRW recently reported that 46% of employees have been headhunted in their current positions and three in four Australians would like to be headhunted for a better job! That means that you probably have people working for you who would go and work for someone else if the opportunity arose!

Why is that? It is a tight employment market, but those figures tell me something else is going on, it’s not just about the money – at least not in my experience. In my old company, our employees were zealots, ambassadors and advocates for us. Even though they weren’t the most highly paid in the industry, they worked above the call of duty more times than I could count.

They supported each other, went to bat for our clients, and generally made me proud to have them in the company on a daily basis. They were also, on occasion, the most demanding pains in the arse you could find! But that combination of passion and commitment made them worth anything we needed to do to keep the team together.

On our annual retreat, the discussions about what made the company the place they wanted to be invariably came back to one major factor – they felt valued.

Their work was openly appreciated, their opinions asked for and acted upon, they felt they were doing something worthwhile. So even when they were headhunted – and they were constantly approached with offers of higher salaries and benefits, they stayed put.

So rather than worrying about changes to IR laws, a better use of your time and energy would be to look at what you can be doing to make sure your employees are in the minority who are happy where they are and wouldn’t leave no matter what. What can you, as an organisation’s leader, be doing to cultivate an environment where employees don’t need to be told they are the most important asset, because they are shown it is true.

See you next week.

To read more Michel Hogan blogs, click here.

Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brand Alignment Group she helps organisations align who they are with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.


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