The Value of Long-Term Employees

This February, we are celebrating the 50th service anniversary of Nita Bates, a client service specialist in our New Philadelphia office. Nita has been with our firm her entire career, starting part-time while she was in college. The average employee stays with a company for 4.4 years, according to a 2010 study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. I feel so fortunate to have someone in our firm who obliterates that statistic – by eight times. As I reflected on Nita’s accomplishment, I thought about the value a long-term employee brings to a company. The following are some of the benefits businesses see when they manage to keep their employees for multiple years if not decades.

Reassuring Customers

Potential clients often ask about our employee turnover. Why? Because they want to know that they’ll be doing business with a stable organization were they can build relationships with people over time. Businesses, especially those with high turnover rates themselves, appreciate working with companies that have long-term employees. One organization I work with experienced four turns in the executive director position over 20 years. During that time, any of those leaders could have found another CPA. Rather, each new leader called and asked to meet with me to learn more about the organization they were taking over. Knowledge that comes from years of experience is invaluable to your customers, too.

Wisdom

You learn a lot in school, but you learn exponentially more on the job. Long-term employees are brighter because they’ve see it all – including what works and what doesn’t. Some people might suggest that older employees may not be as comfortable with technology as their 20-something peers, but the soft-skills learned on the job can be just as valuable. That’s what keeps customers coming back.

Institutional Knowledge

In every business, there’s that 100 year storm. That big event that happens so rarely that no one knows how to respond because they’ve never seen it before. But long-term employees do know how to respond. They can remember the last big storm and can tell you what worked and what didn’t. Our long-term employees’ institutional knowledge isn’t just about Rea, it’s about our clients, too. They know that one quirk in the client’s system and just the right person to call to get it fixed. Businesses value the institutional knowledge we have about them, especially when its knowledge their own people don’t have – which in turn makes that knowledge invaluable to us, too.

Going Beyond the Job Description

With long-term employees, a job is more than just a paycheck; it’s a big part of their lives. They’ve cared enough to stick with you through the years, and they care enough to really help you succeed, even if the help required doesn’t match up with their job description. When a problem happens, be it a little event or one of your business’s 100 year storms, long-term employees jump right in. They don’t wait for instructions or an invitation, either.

Think about your long-term employees and their contributions to your company. I’m sure you’ll come up with a list similar to ours.

We are blessed to have Nita and the rest of our long-term employee team here at Rea. We value their knowledge and their wisdom and appreciate all the work they’ve put in over the years. I hope you too can one day celebrate an employee’s 50-year service anniversary. It’s wonderful experience to acknowledge that you’ve done something right – and that someone out there thinks highly enough of your company to come to work 13,000 days!

This article was originally published in Illuminations: Facts & Figures from people with a brighter way, a Rea & Associates enewsletter, Feb. 15, 2012.

Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.