How much do you value your employees? As much as they contribute?

From Isaac's Tech Views blog.

I'm about to reach the 11 year mark of working for the same employer, this publication.

I graduated high school in 88, tried college (had fun, but didn't do well) - worked a few jobs, then joined the US Navy as a Seabee until the end of 1996.

Then, I returned to college at OU and finished my BA in Public Relations/ Tech Journalism in Dec 1998. I then took an internship in Denver with Ogilvy, the world's largest PR firm.

After Denver, I was offered a tech PR position in San Francisco. A great mid-sized firm (110 people in SF, NY and AZ). But I was laid off during the tech bubble of 2001. The firm went kaput in 2002.

So, in mid 2001, I returned to Oklahoma and re-enrolled at OU to pursue grad school, and was offered a job as the Communications Director for the OU College of Engineering- but there was a hiring freeze- but they squeezed me in as a GA (graduate assistant) of all things- even with a faculty parking pass. But 6 months later, that fell through because of funding. At least by then I had finished all of my course-work for my MA (I had completed some prior to California).

So, needed a job., and found one in Tulsa, working for a Kansas City-based ad agency's first satellite office. After about 6 months, I realized it wasn't going to work. I loved the people I worked for and with, but they didn't quite have a grasp on remote offices, since this was their first. This resulted in some poor management decisions that didn't make me feel like the office was stable. It's a good thing I left voluntarily, because the office closed 6 months later.

When I had decided to leave the Tulsa office, I had found and was given an offer for an editorial position, which would allow me to live closer to where my dad lived. He was going through chemo at the time, and I wanted to be near, and also many friends were in the are.

I still work for the same company today. This publication is owned by a owned by a national publishing company (Cygnus Business Media) that owns many websites/magazines, and has about 500 employees, including many remote. And the company does a great job of appreciating staff and providing flexibility, encouraging development and promoting from within.

I commuted 50 miles each way for the first five years, which earned me one car-totalling wreck that resulted in an ambulance ride and cracked ribs- and another event that was a 1-inch miss from a likely fatal collision.

Not as a result of either, but after about 5 years, I started to work increasingly more from a home office- until by 2010, I was working from home 100% of the time.

In my youth, I worked for probably 30 different businesses. (I once estimated it at 25 or so jobs before I was 22 years old). Yes, I was a floater... And before my current position, the only job I'd held in my life for more than 2 years was when I served for four years in the Navy.

My point in this whole thing: Young professionals today are able to skip from job to job- but hell, we all were when we were young and without things that anchor us. Like family, children, homes, etc. As a person progresses through their 20s and 30s it hurts a little more, and has more influence on their future - and thus many avoid the risk of new employment.

I'm not quite in the upper middle age area (I'm 43), but I imagine that job loss is an enormous fear for many, especially in this continuing weak job market.

How much does your employer appreciate you? It's a difficult question, because nobody is irreplaceable. And just as employees cannot say they won't leave (because they can't get a raise that way, no matter their value), some employers may not fully recognize their full respect for a particular employee, because it can leave them with a weaker poker hand when it comes to salary.

I think employees and employers need to have a better relationship when it comes to talking about money. Times change and salaries change- which is why people don't talk about how much they make.

But, a new employee in a similar role as a long-time employee should not earn more in salary, unless there is a definite value-add to the situation in favor of the new employee. Salary stagnation is a problem that results from undervaluing devoted staff. Of course, employees also need to recognize the increasing costs of non-salary compensation, particularly health insurance.

Just some thoughts, that's why this is a blog post. Do you give appropriate financial respect to your staff in terms of what they contribute to your revenue?