Entrepreneurship

Startup employees

9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset 1080 675 VP Legacies

When it comes to your company’s most valuable asset, a lot of areas come to mind. Research and Development, marketing, or even a patent might take the top spot. But that’s not even close to your company’s most valuable asset. The answer is the tens, hundreds, or thousands of employees that make up the workforce of your company. In the 20th century, companies considered production equipment to be its most valuable asset.

However, today, it’s considered to be the knowledge of its employees and their productivity. All intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, intellectual property, brands, trademarks, and R&D are created by people. Therefore, people matter most to you and your business. They are the most essential contributors toward profits and shareholder value. That said, people are key assets for any organization. In today’s continuously changing business world, it is human assets, not the fixed or tangible assets that differentiate an organization from its competitors. The knowledge economy distinguishes one organization from another.

How people benefit your business

Employees champion your business and determine the success or failure of it. The work they do determines what customers and partners see, so it’s important for you to treat your employees with the value they bring. Employees leading an organization might be able to be replaced physically, but their skillsets and knowledge can’t be. This is because each person hired brings a different set of skills to the table even though the job yields the same set of skills.

Besides, the skillset of employees accounts for 85 percent of a company’s assets. Therefore, employee efficiency and talent determines the pace and growth of an organization. Organizations need to recognize the value their employees have and praise them accordingly. This includes their knowledge, expertise, abilities, skillsets, and experience. These are all invaluable and intangible assets for securing a future for the company. So when employees feel valued, they will gladly compete in the race and beat the competition.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Reasons employees are considered invaluable assets

1. Essential to providing goods or services.

Improving employee efficiency and performance are major priorities for an organization. Employees produce the final product, take care of finances, promote your business, and maintain the records for decision making.

2. Employees are the first customer of any organization.

If the organization does not have happy and satisfied employees, they will not deliver performance-oriented results. Therefore reducing the profits of the organization.

3. Employees give their 100 percent to any organization.

No matter what size the business is, success is the result of continuous hard and smart efforts put in by happy and valued employees. This results in keeping the organization going, competing with its competitors and elevating ahead of them all.

4. Employees are the face of an organization.

It’s the satisfaction level of your employees that matters the most. So, if an employee isn’t happy, she might spread a negative word about the organization, even after leaving it. What’s more, is that an unhappy employee will lack motivation and will not perform well, leading to unsatisfactory performance. This results in unachievable performance targets, low profits, and employee churn.

5. They are the nurturers of the organization.

Employees are the ones who give their heart and soul to an organization. Similar to how parents raise their children, employees nurture their organization with their values and endless efforts to take it to the top.

6. Skilled people with knowledge.

The most irreplaceable factors employees bring to the table are their skillsets. Their skills include training and development programs, experience in a specific field, and an understanding of companies’ cultures, systems, and work procedures.

7. Employees are the base of a strong and long-running organization.

Employees run the organization, no matter what level. This means their strength, commitment and dedication, and their emotional connection with the organization can’t be judged as assets in monetary value.

8. Motivated employees make a significant difference.

Employees reach new targets, meet customers’ demands and needs, develop new and innovative products, and perform enormous and huge efforts to achieve the company’s objectives.

9. Employees are major contributors to profits and worth of the organization.

It goes without saying, but employees can’t be given a monetary value for the effort they put in to help the business earn profits. This results in excellent customer reviews and creating brand loyalty from customers. Therefore, employees are the most valuable assets an organization has. It’s their abilities, knowledge, and experience that can’t be replaced. So, going forward, organizations need to place emphasis and importance on the contribution that employees that they have in order to propel themselves ahead.

Key Takeaways from Recession-Proof Businesses

Key Takeaways from Recession-Proof Businesses 986 574 VP Legacies

It’s hard to start or operate a business, especially during a recession. That’s why people in an industry with an unpredictable market look for protective measures to weather the storm of economic downturns. Even if you started your business during a strong economy, a recession could quickly turn that successful business into a sweet memory. 

Some businesses, on the other hand, are essentially recession-proof. That means they either provide goods and services that people always need (perhaps even more during a recession), or their earnings are always low to moderate, so they always have to take extra precautions with their business strategies.

No matter the current financial health of your business, you never know what’s in store several years from now. In this article, we’re discussing some of the most popular recession-proof businesses and ways that you can learn from them to prepare yourself for the fluctuating economy. At VP Legacies, we believe in the power of communication. By learning how recession-proof businesses communicate effectively to maintain their cash flow and keep employees on board, you can learn how to help your company succeed in even the worst of times. By building personal connections through your communication strategies, you can help keep your business recession-proof.

Is there such a thing as a recession-proof business?

The short answer to that question is yes. During a recession, people turn towards cheaper product alternatives and certain financial services for assistance. 

If at one time someone shopped at a luxury boutique for their clothing, they may now turn to an outlet or department store. If they originally went to custom furniture manufacturers, they’d likely turn to retail furniture stores during a recession.

We will always need and want things, but where we get them will change during a recession. The best recession-proof businesses are discount purveyors who offer cheaper items at a lower price in whatever industry. 

Examples of recession-proof businesses

As we mentioned, the best recession-proof businesses are the ones that take an expensive offer that someone else has and they present it at a discounted price. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to lower your prices during a recession in order to stay afloat.

When audiences transition to a more affordable alternative, they’re likely to choose one they’ve already heard about. That means that the key to staying recession-proof is taking control of communication. Learn more about how recession-proof businesses use internal and external branding to prepare for tough years.

Food and Beverage


People need to eat regardless of what’s happening in the economy, but they don’t have the means to dine out as often. High-end restaurants take a significant hit during a recession because people stop eating out and start cooking at home more often. For that reason, grocery stores are also a solid business model during a recession. 

The grocery chain Hannaford owes its success to decentralized leadership. The 1980s recession hit many businesses in New England hard, but the company expanded into New York State and its profits increased to 18%. Its socio-technical model meant that both managers and employees had a say in hiring, pay scales, and rules – making sure that everyone felt heard. Because this fostered strong personal connection, employees were more likely to stay.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

Retail Consignment

We see more and more of these stores pop up all over the country. They are second-hand stores that offer clothing that is either previously worn or improperly designed. When people don’t have a lot of money, they turn to places like these to get their clothes. If you’ve ever heard of the clothing stores Gabes or Marshalls, these are great examples. 

TJ Maxx and Ross outperformed the entire retail industry during the Great Recession because they provided significant discounts. This has influenced the retail industry as a whole, causing consumers to expect deals and discounts constantly. When you enter either store, you’re likely to see advertisements reminding customers they’re doing themselves a favor by shopping there. In other words, customers feel valued when they get a bang for their buck.

Other businesses can extrapolate from this business model the principle of rewarding clients and customers. Instead of simply lowering prices, brands can use clear messaging to remind clients or customers why they chose them. By developing a communication strategy that clearly breaks down the services you provide and why they’re valuable, you can remind clients that they’re getting a good deal.

This strategy also applies to employees. You want your employees to feel just as valued as your customers since they’re the ones who keep everything running. Providing ample benefits and offering resources to attend training and conferences are just a couple of ways to do this.

Repair Industries

There will never come a time when things don’t break, and your car and home will always need someone to come and fix something. For contractors and mechanics, people are actually more prone to fixing something instead of replacing it during a tough economy. Areas like electronic and appliance repair struggle immensely during a good economy, but they thrive during a bad one. 

This factor is also true for automotive repair. The LA Times shared an article about a $36 billion increase in sales at automotive shops between 2010 and 2011. 

Places like Jiffy Lube can thrive during a recession because people will still get their oil changed. The company will advertise coupons and discounts to bring people in (meanwhile, their prices are still higher than your local garage). 

These businesses prosper because they feel absolutely necessary. In your branding, you should emphasize how your products or services are vital for expansion. By presenting your brand as a necessary tool instead of a nice-to-have perk, you’ll create a sense of urgency. But remember not to be too pushy. Like a good auto technician, you should present yourself with hospitality. Use branding to show the utility of your bottom line and to build personal connections with potential long-term clients.

Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

The impact of a recession on businesses

Economists define a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. During a recession, we’ll experience job loss, income decline, reduction of manufacturing, and a reduced amount of spending in the marketplace.

Recessions impact all businesses big and small. For large businesses, stocks and dividends fall. When this happens, the investors who hold that stock may sell it and move their money to another stock that is performing well. This will only hurt the large business even more, which will lower the price of the company stock. 

Accounts receivable for both large and small companies will struggle as well. If customers are struggling to make ends meet and stay afloat, they will have a hard time paying bills, which can reduce or slow down revenues. Bankruptcies increase during recessions. From retail advertising and repair industries, we learn how rebranding your products and services in the context of a recession can show relevance. In turn, this helps your accounts payable remain stable.

Employee layoffs are common, and businesses will try to get more work out of each individual. This may lead to burnout and low morale by the employees left behind. Not to mention the employees who are without a job collecting unemployment benefits due to their layoff. As we can see in grocery employee management at Hannaford, communication between employees is vital to retain their trust. Whether to relay bad news or keep them at your company, communicating with true empathy can help you maintain your good name and stay afloat.

Tips for recession-proofing your business

While there is no straightforward answer to recession-proofing your business, there are some things you can do

  • Rebrand to focus on a discounted business model
  • Emphasize the ‘necessity’ of your business
  • Run with low overhead (people are less prone to judgment during hard economic times)
  • Involve employees in crisis conversations and strategic decisions
  • Minimize benefit cutbacks for employees
  • Do not cut back on internal or external marketing

Is there another recession on the horizon? 

As of the publishing of this article, the US economy is doing fine. Consumer confidence is relatively high, people continue spending money, and things are good. Does that mean this will last forever? 

Of course not. There are always warning signs, such as the recent international trade tariffs and political disagreement about financial policies.

Do we know if there is another recession coming? No, but using the tips in this article for strategic communication and branding during a recession will help you stay prepared. To consult with our skilled communication strategists, connect with us to find out more.
Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Most Valuable Asset

Executive interview

The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Executives For Your Company

The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Executives For Your Company 1080 675 VP Legacies

When founding a new venture, it is not unusual for a founder to wear too many hats. It’s actually the most sensible, cost-effective, and efficient way to get things done during those early days. However, as your business grows, “founder-sweat” quickly spread thin.

Eventually, even the most efficient startup grows to a level when it becomes essential to hire business executives who can help propel the corporation to the next level.

Nowadays, employers have the advantage of having a vast collection of candidates to choose from and interview for comparatively few vacant positions.

But, the executive hiring process is quite different from the standard recruiting processes. For one thing, the conventional interview process for staff roles isn’t a dependable method for judging executive candidates.

To hire the most qualified executives for top-level positions, a company needs to graduate from simple hiring and leverage more advanced recruiting techniques.

This article will give a slightly broader overview of what executive hiring entails end-to-end, as well as some tips for building an executive recruitment program that delivers results.

In a world where the average CEO’s tenure is increasingly shortening, companies with strong executive hiring programs can scale notably more effortlessly than their counterparts. 

What Is Executive Hiring?

Executive hiring refers to the process of discovering and employing candidates to occupy leading roles at the company. The nuance of executive hiring is that different roles, despite being under the C suite, vary dramatically – not only from each other, but also company by company.

CEO (CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER) 

CEO tenures continue to fall across the board. In 2017, the average CEO tenure was an all-time low of only 5 years. Most companies eventually need to hire a new CEO to guide the company through a new phase – and it’s without a doubt the hardest of the C suite to hire for.

The CEO decides the company’s policy. They employ and assemble the senior team. A CEO’s docket also involves making the final decision on how company resources are managed, and it is usually their face that appears on the media and business magazine covers.

A good CEO’s core competencies should include strategic judgment—the ability to see beyond the daily activities and decide on the best route for navigating future industry conditions.

The CEO’s primary function, however, is hiring and firing.

At the end of the day, a good management team can make up for the CEO’s shortcomings. A CEO can set strategies, set long-term bets, and manage the finances, but if they fail to recruit a capable team, the company will inevitably fall short.

A good CEO must be able to recognize and recruit the best and fire those who don’t function while running the show. At a certain scale, the best CEOs are world-class recruiters.

COO (CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER) 

A COO is an extremely ephemeral role that can encompass a lot of different responsibilities. While traditionally tasked to managing the operations of large scale supply-oriented businesses, the dawn of the internet era has seen the role shift – see Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook, for example.

To simplify it, however, a COO must ensure that the business delivers day after day. The COO essentially sits on the pulse of the company, and acts as an extension of the CEO’s vision, guiding implementation and beating roadblocks.

The COO’s team also creates systems designed to monitor measurements and be decisive whenever the business aren’t delivering.

When hiring for COOs, the core competency is – and this might sound trite – management. A good COO is a systems thinker – someone who understands the big picture, and knows how to scale the day-to-day operations to reach it.

PRESIDENT

There is no clear-cut role for the company president. Some say the president supervises human resources, staff functions, strategy, and finance while the COO administers daily operations. 

Nevertheless, sometimes, the company president fills any operational cracks left by the CEO and COO. 

Regardless, you should think carefully about whether you require someone to occupy this role, or if your business can get by with just the CEO and COO.

CFO (CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER) 

Naturally, the company’s CFO manages the money. They make budgets and generate financing strategies.

The CFO figures out if it’s profitable for the business to buy or lease. They also set up control systems that scrutinize the financial health of the company.

(And yes, the CFO is usually the “killjoy” who won’t approve your request for funds to purchase that ultra-cool videoconferencing gear.)

A good CFO should always be busy working out which clients, products, and business lines are most profitable, so that next year you might be able to afford that sweet video conferencing equipment.

If numbers don’t keep you awake at night, you have to recruit someone who does.

Money is the lifeblood of any business, and cash flow is essential in entrepreneurship. Cash flow management is a very underrated part of enterprise – a good CFO can synchronize a cash flow dance that maximizes growth and minimizes risk.

CMO (CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER)

The CMO develops the company’s marketing strategy and also supervises its implementation. In more tech-driven organizations the CMO is slowly starting to blur with other roles, like CGO (Chief Growth Officer) and CPO (Chief Product Officer)

A good CMO should have in-depth industry knowledge which helps to position the brand, distinguish it from the competition, enlist distributors, and ensure that customers crave for your product.

If the success of your business depends heavily on demand generation, then you need to hire a CMO.

CTO (CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER)

The Company’s CTO has to stay abreast of the latest technology trends, incorporate such trends into the business strategy, and ensure that the company remains up to date when necessary.

While the CTO used to be a niche hire, modern companies almost inevitably need a CTO; as they say, every business is a software business nowadays.

Importance of Executive Hiring

Identifying and employing the most suitable candidates for your company’s executive level is critical to the long-term success of the business.

Since the decisions of the next department heads will shape the existing workplace culture as well as the future of the business, the process of executive hiring needs to be handled with maximum awareness and priority.

Finding the Right Team Members

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Sadly, good executive employees are scarce and highly sought after. Because their decisions will either make or break the business, you’ll want to hire the best.

Recruiting executives is no easy task. Classified ads, online bulletin boards, and newspapers are not the ideal route to take. And making mass-market advertisements will only attract people who haven’t got any other job prospects.

If you have a sufficient budget available, executive search agencies are a good option for finding promising talent and adding input for hire.

Even though their fees are quite expensive, they conduct their due diligence and provide you with already screened candidates, which can be a significant time-saver.

These agencies usually have a reservoir of executive talent and can likely connect with candidates you wouldn’t be able to approach by yourself.

Search firms may even specialize by industry, location, function, and level of qualification, so if you choose to engage one, ensure that you know what you are getting.

Networking is another proven method of finding potential hires (and this is where that CEO guy/gal comes in handy).

A company needs to build its own professional network that it can inform about the kind of executive you are searching for. Then arrange one-on-one introductory sessions to assess the chemistry.

While networking, stay away from general networking forums. Be direct about what you would like.

If you’re looking to recruit a CMO for your law firm, attend more Legal Service conferences, which attract top marketing executives from various law firms. Networking can work well, but make sure that it’s targeted.

Related: How to Be an Effective Group Member

Interviewing Guidelines

The interview is one of the most important parts of the hiring process, since it allows you to get to know the candidate on a personal level. When the time comes to have a sit down with the potential employee, there are some few things worth knowing that can make the process a little easier:

Ensure That The Candidate Knows The Job

Executive hires have a much higher bar for “context” than regular employees. A staff employee not knowing all the nuances of the job requirements is fine. An executive should know everything about the job, company & industry – if not, pass.

Assess Chemistry

Can this candidate be trusted? Will other people like to spend time around them? Culture fit is far more important for executive hires because they set the tone for the entire organization. 

Check References

Do the brilliant claims of the candidate reflect in the comments of their past colleagues and subordinates? Find concrete details of their deliverables.

And remember, in small businesses, cultural issues are sometimes just as important as the job itself.

Are they smarter than you?

This is a good principle to follow: Each new executive should boost the average IQ of your company; hire executives who are smarter than you.

Related: 5 Entrepreneurial Mindsets to Utilize in Your Own Business

Observe Learning Ability

Is the candidate prone to repeating previous mistakes? Or do they learn quickly from their errors and adjust that knowledge to suit your company?

Utilize Behavior Description Techniques

During the executive hiring process, don’t ask questions about principles, knowledge, and idealistic stories. Instead, ask the potential executive employee to share details of specific past events. Such accounts will expose their values, capabilities, and skills.

For instance, a future CFO may be asked to describe how they set up and managed the previous budgets they handled.

Closing the Deal

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After you have found the executive you would like to employ, you’ll probably need to pitch them before you find yourself handing out those employment forms.

There aren’t any standard regulations for the best contract to offer successful candidates. Hourly workers might be delighted to receive cash, but executives are not so easily pleased.

Company executives often want assets, stock options, inflated pay, as well as annual bonuses.

Given that the job of the executive is to make sure that the whole company succeeds, you can use bonus plans and stock options to link their earnings to the overall performance of the company.

Stock options can be connected with consistent performance, while profit sharing and bonuses should be founded on the previous year’s results.

Naturally, not all executives yearn for stock. Preferably, you would like to employ a capable person who is content with a demanding job and modest income. And they are out there!

Well trained individuals who value family time, a challenging job, and fun culture.

You can gain a good understanding of a person’s core values from the new hire paperwork, which will help to craft better deals that will please them in a manner that goes beyond mere dollars.

Handing Over To Your Executives

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After new employee forms have been properly documented and all the members of your executive team are committed, next comes the hardest part: trust.

Doubts will plague you at every turn. A new executive is like introducing a new parent to your child – it’s not going to be easy.

Still, trust is essential because once the executive team members have joined the fray, you have to allow them to take charge by accepting full responsibility for their decisions or indecisions.

Remember that you have hired an executive team, and they must be accountable for the wellbeing of the company; this means defining their roles, the deliverables each one is responsible for and within what timeframe.

It is also worth discussing in advance how you will handle disagreements. Set processes in place right away and be stringent at enforcing them.

These people were hired on the premise that their decision making should be better than yours. Therefore when there is conflict, if you did a good job, chances are that they are right and you are wrong.

Agree early about how you will make the call, ensuring that the company benefits most from constructive disagreements. Just bear in mind that if you agree on everything, some of you are redundant.

Final Thoughts

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Entrepreneurship is all about going for those things that are beyond what you alone could achieve. Your job is not to struggle alone to attain the goal; it’s to assemble a team that can.

While it’s hard for a founder to loosen the reigns, it’s essential for a business to scale that it starts hiring talented executives. There’s a learning curve for the executive hiring process – and an incredibly long recruitment process, usually – but the payout is well worth it. A company’s success relies on its people, and there are no people more essential to a company’s future than its executives.

If you’ve done your job and assembled a dream team, their success will be your success.

Related: What Is the Best Strategy for CEO Communication?