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10 Years – So What?

Among the daily emails that urge you to act, there is the occasional message that causes you to think. I had this experience when I read the invitation for the annual potluck luncheon for employees that have been with our firm for 10 years or more. Ten years. A decade. While I have been in the over-10 club for more than a decade, the invitation really caught my attention this year and particularly when it was pointed out to me that 67 of my colleagues were also in the club. That translates to 37% of our workforce! Now, while I didn’t do any research to confirm this, this seemed to be a very high percentage, and as one of the owners of the firm, and an enthusiastic promoter of our business, I was quite proud of this statistic. I did conduct a quick internet search to see what the average job tenure was in the U.S. In a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, as of 2008, workers over the age of 25 had been in their current job for just 5.1 years. Even more interesting was that this figure is almost unchanged from the average tenure in 1983, which was 5.0 years.

So a decade on the job IS a big deal. Why then, have more than a third of us stayed at Parker, Smith & Feek for 10 years or more? Is it the money? Well sure, our pay is important but I suspect there are really multiple reasons and many of those unique to the individual. The one reason I think all of the 10-year club would agree is important to their careers is the stability and predictability of our company and its culture. We are continuously transitioning our leadership and ownership to younger generations with the singular purpose of perpetuating our firm for years to come. We will be celebrating our 75th anniversary in 2012 and have every reason to believe that we will be here for milestone celebrations in the future.

I’m sure our Human Resources folks could cite a variety of statistics to demonstrate the advantages of a long-tenured workforce, but common sense says it’s just good for business. We have the obvious savings in recruiting and training but the real benefit is the opportunity we have to develop long term relationships with our clients. They benefit from the expertise that aggregates in career employees and can quickly develop trust and confidence in our advice and counsel.

Our employees receive a nice service award for their 10 year anniversary. They in turn give to Parker, Smith & Feek a greater gift – the experience and knowledge they share each day with their clients and each other.

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