We work at companies for a variety of reasons; some are monetary and some are based on values and learning.  For whatever reason we take a job, staying there can sometimes cost us more than we bargained for.

Three interesting examples came to me recently.  In the first, a woman had to have a new picture for her badge, which when she compared to her previous one of less than 5 years was very revealing. She had aged a lot, but not the normal aging; her hair color was the same and she hadn’t gained wrinkles she just looked very tired and much older.  In another case, a woman took a job to rebuild her finances and after 2 years she looked very sad in her pictures, and so did her co-workers. Until she left she didn’t realize how depressed she was becoming.  My favorite is a gentleman who calls his job “working on the plantation”; you know how he sees himself.

These people and many more, give their companies their best and sadly their return is feeling lousy or quickly aging.  What does this mean to businesses?    What do companies need to recognize?  First and foremost these people may have started being good performers or even stars but as time went on and they felt less than, their interest and ability in their jobs may be waning.  Even “A” ability dropping to “B” can cost. a company.  Then there are the employees who are marking time until they can find a better job and leave.  Most companies don’t realize it costs 3 times an annual salary to replace an employee. Oh and let’s not forget bad publicity. Dissatisfied workers can impact sales. Do you want to buy from companies that treat workers poorly?  Remember some of Wal-mart’s backlash.

Remember employees are the most important commodity of any company.  Treat them right, make them feel valued, and watch the positive impact to the bottom line. Look at companies like Zappos, SAS, Patagonia, and so many more, large and small.  As more and more jobs open up people will be looking and moving.  Wouldn’t it have been better to value them so they’d stay?