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Are Your Employees an Asset or a Liability?
by Bill Collins
August 15, 2021
Employees working together


Many Michiganians are quite happy to begin putting COVID-19 behind us! The last year and a half have thrown challenges at all of us, especially small business owners. Putting COVID in the rear-view mirror is actually taking place but continues to make us stop and think. 

As I have had the opportunity to talk with several of our SCORE clients, a common statement from them has been heard.

“We did not lay-off any of our employees.” 

They are very proud of this, and justifiably so. Today “help wanted, now hiring” and other similar signs are prevalent throughout Northern Michigan. Sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses and higher wages are becoming the norm. Did any of us expect the labor shortage we are now experiencing? The companies that did not reduce their labor force, today have a significant advantage over their competition.

Several years ago, I had the benefit of working with a Japanese supplier, actually a competitor. They told me your (my) company puts labor in your income statement as a liability; we classify labor as an asset. This was a revelation for me and the company that was my employer. The competitor further stated that while customers are most important, their employees are equally important to them. 

When did you last thank your employees for the challenges they faced during past 18 months? Are you continuing to ensure your employees (and customers) are appreciated?

Facing the pandemic, wearing face masks, caring for our families, including childcare and eldercare, electing to be vaccinated (for Covid-19), and dealing with unhappy customers have been obstacles many businesses have been forced to endure. 

Again, the companies that did not layoff their staff, today are a step ahead of their competitors. Do a self-assessment and ask yourself, are my employees an asset or a liability? 

About the author
Bill Collins
Bill Collins
Petoskey resident Bill Collins spent nearly 40 years in management and executive roles in the automotive industry, and is now a volunteer business mentor with SCORE’s Tip of the Mitt chapter.
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401 E Mitchell St.
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 347-4150

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