I’ve been reading a lot of business-related blogs lately, each talking about their version of what their most valuable resource is. Some say technology, while others insist on a best selling product or trade secret. I dig that, I’m on board with it… but let’s get real for a second. What’s the one thing your business really needs? That one thing that, if it was gone, your business would crash and burn without?

People.

It’s simple, really. Whether it’s a one person labor of love, a successful agency (like us!), or a large corporation, your most valuable resource is, and has always been, the people that give their time and energy to making the dream happen. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?

Let’s look at this concept from two perspectives:

  1. Employer
  2. Employee

Your Employees Are Your Most Valuable Resource

When you first started your business, what was your dream? To make a product, sell it, and make lots of money? Did you have a passion project or believe in a cause?

Whatever that initial inspiration was, it started with you. As that dream grew, you added more people and became a manager. Your projections might have even shifted and changed as your company grew, all the while your employees (and the number of them) grew too.

I’m sure the newfangled hiking backpack you created has truly enriched the lives of every hiker that’s purchased it. That new dog food you formulated is keeping furry family members healthy everywhere. Your dream is alive and well, and that’s absolutely amazing.

But, let’s stop and consider something.

When’s the last time you took a step back and just looked over the office, or manufacturing facility? When’s the last time you actually looked into the faces of the individuals that get up every morning and faithfully march into your dream?

As I look out my office door right at this moment I see nine individuals I work with every single day (plus others that aren’t currently in the office). Each one of them plays an integral role in our company. They create our culture, they change our company policies, they create more efficient workflows, innovate our base code, and so much more. We’ve come to a place at TM where everyone flows smoothly together, but not to be confused, they aren’t just a cog in an ever-turning wheel.

They are our most valuable resources.

They are the ones building each website from scratch, building marketing campaigns, dreaming up and designing new user experiences, collaborating, and figuring out solutions to every day problems. They’re truly what makes this company tick.

Show Your Appreciation

When’s the last time you told your employees thank you for the hard work they do every day?

What about offering them a little better work/life balance? Flex time? No? Too crazy for you? Okay, that’s fine… Maybe consider taking them to lunch or out to drinks after the workday is over?

A little positive recognition goes a long way these days.

Today, an amazing example of just how passionate our management is about our employees came across my desk. Our Creative Director, Tyler Fraser, attended a career event at Grand Circus yesterday and spoke with students (and prospective future employees) about what it’s like to work at TM and our culture. Afterward, we received this email:

“Hi Tyler,

It was a pleasure speaking with you today. I loved listening to you speak about the culture you described at Trademark Productions. In such a huge industry it’s awesome to know there are companies out there that are flexible enough to meet very different requests by creating new ideas and ways to separate themselves from the same boring frameworks I’ve seen. 

The team here at TM is always looking for die-hard, talented, exciting, fun individuals to join up with us to kick some serious web-related butt.

The above from your website can’t get anymore real. Its says so much about what’s behind Trademark. I smiled ear to ear reading it.

Thank you so much for taking the time out to meet with us.”

I don’t think I need to say anything else. That email speaks for itself.

You Are Your Most Valuable Resource

I know that there are days when work seems like it drags on and there’s nothing else you’d rather do than just walk out those doors. I can’t blame you, I’ve been there before. I’ve worked in jobs that I absolutely hated and watched the clock tick by, counting the minutes until I could clock out. But, it was in those jobs that I’ve come to realize – I didn’t understand just how much of an asset I was, or could be.

When I first started my career, I was an unpaid intern for two full internships before I landed one that paid. (And boy, did it pay WELL! In fact, I made more at that internship then I did when I accepted my first full time job.)

Those two unpaid internships paved the way for what I called an “internship of a lifetime.” That eventually paved the way to landing a full time job before I even graduated college. The other common denominator that was present during those two internships was my lack of confidence in my skills and even intelligence. I knew that I was capable of great things, deep down, but I did not realize just how valuable I could be as an employee.

I’ve watched Administrative Assistants here at TM doubt themselves, especially when learning new skills, or being put in new situations. I’m here to tell you that YOU are your company’s most valuable resource. You are full of knowledge, inspiration, ideas, and YOU are the future of your company.

Take Care of Yourself

I don’t just mean this in a hygienic manner, although please, take care of yourself before you come to work. We ain’t got time for that.

No, I mean take care of yourself during your careers, too. If that means that you take a lunch every single day outside the office (I eat at my desk every day so that’s a foreign concept to me), go for a walk and get some fresh air, go for a run during lunch, or do some yoga. Whatever it means for you, do it!

It also means that you invest yourself in your job. That you don’t just clock in and clock out at the end of the day. It means that you take every opportunity to learn something new and to grow.

“That’s great but my company doesn’t provide many opportunities.”

I call your bluff. You have more power to change your company than you think.

If new training opportunities haven’t been presented, ask for them. Go home and learn on your own. Apply yourself in your job, be passionate, and put some damn elbow grease into it. Ever heard the saying, “You’ll get out of it what you put into it?” That’s exactly right. People repeat some cliches for a reason.

Be valuable to your company. In doing so, you’ll absolutely see the value in yourself.

Create Your Own Opportunities

Our company culture has evolved drastically and positively in the 3 years I’ve worked here.

I first came to TM as an intern in 2014. When I was hired back in 2015 we had the concept of flex time, but it wasn’t really in staunch practice. In fact, my manager at the time policed my every move when I actually did choose to work from home. It wasn’t a very flexible flex time, at that time.

Today, my flex days are some of my best days here at TM. In fact, my new manager recently sent me a photo of him having a great time at Royal Oak Brewing Co. on a Monday afternoon with a note,

Following your lead and exercising some flex time! It’s terrible here, it’s just me! ;)

Our Creative Director is getting married soon and will be working remotely from Canada more days than not.

I got brave, took a chance, and asked management if I could go work remotely from Cabo for the entire month of October this year and guess what their answer was? Yes!

Guard your most valuable resource

Don’t let them go unappreciated. And don’t under-appreciate yourself. Guard the people that work for you, take care of them, and tell them thank you. Without them, your business would be nothing. Don’t forget the human element. In the end, it’s all we’ve really got.

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