by Kathleen Murray | The New York Times
Samantha Martin’s small-business nightmare typically stalks her on Gchat.
“It will be a Wednesday, and an employee messages, ‘Can we talk today?’” said Ms. Martin, who owns Media Maison, a boutique public relations firm in Manhattan. “They’ll tell me they weren’t looking, but someone approached them,” she said. “In this industry, if another company dangles $5,000 and an opportunity to work on a fashion show, your loyal employee can be out the door.”
Since any departure leaves her 14-person team short-handed for weeks, Ms. Martin tries to be proactive. She meets frequently with individual staff members, helps new employees pay first and last month’s rent, is generous with titles and promotions and offers benefits ranging from educational assistance to a free trip anywhere in the world after three years of employment. Last year’s recipient went to Paris.
Rose Law Group estate planning attorney Tim Heileman comments:
“No doubt retaining key employees is critical to the success of a small company’s operations; but often equally important, but overlooked, is the importance of retaining key employees for the purpose of business succession. One universal fact looms over all business owners: one day they will leave their business. They will sell their company, retire, or prematurely leave the business as a result of death or disability. A great deal of a small company’s value is typically tied up in the goodwill associated with the owners themselves, so an owner’s departure from the company can result in a major hit to the company’s value. Incentivizing and retaining key employees is crucial to maintaining the value of the company beyond the service of the current owners.”