Why they leaveEuphemism alert: When an employee says, "I've been offered an outstanding opportunity," they often mean, "I'm leaving because this job sucks." And yet bosses are rarely aware of the negative factors at their own workplace that can help drive employees out the door. A look at Leigh Branham's The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave should help open some eyes.

Branham outlines what you are doing, however inadvertently, to create high turnover among your staff - such as not identifying and meeting employee expectations, or not providing feedback, coaching and advancement opportunities. Then he offers tested strategies for countering them all, and for helping you reduce turnover to a minimum. Personally, we favor an old-fashioned strategy: more money.

Price: $24.95.

Amacom Books
(800) 714-6395

'Workforce Scorecard'

Even though most companies want to keep their employees, The Workforce Scorecard argues that they still haven't learned to think of staff as valuable strategic tools. To help management reach this level of enlightenment, the book outlines the challenges that executives must overcome to maximize workforce potential: learning to think of staff in terms of their contribution, not their cost; developing metrics that differentiate employees' strategic impact; and making everyone responsible for getting employees to execute strategy. Once companies have done that, the book can help them develop a customized "Workforce Scorecard" to help turn their employees into true strategic assets.

Price: $29.95.

Harvard Business School Press

Getting started

Starting a business is a little like getting married or having your first child: Everyone has advice for you, and most of it's useless. For advice with a little more credibility, consider a trio of books from legal and business publisher Nolo.

The first, the comprehensive Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, now in its eighth edition, explains just about everything you (or your entrepreneurial clients) need to know about getting your new venture under way, from raising start-up money, license and permit details, and insurance, to hiring and firing, negotiating leases, and picking a good name.

The second, How to Write a Business Plan, gets into even more detail on putting together a winning proposal, and comes with forms and sample plans, while the third, LLC or Corporation?, delves into the arcana of choosing the right corporate structure for a business. Even if you're not planning on putting your name to a firm anytime soon, all three have advice and information that will be valuable to your clients.

Price: Legal Guide - $34.99; Business Plan - $34.99; LLC or Corporation? - $24.99.

(510) 549-1976

'Vest Pocket CFO'

Don't get your hopes up - The Vest Pocket CFO is not a tiny little homunculus living in your watch pocket, running your company's financial affairs as long as you drop in the occasional cookie crumb. Instead, like The Vest Pocket CPA mentioned in our last issue, it is a comprehensive guide to a function, in this case the chief financial officer's.

And we do mean comprehensive: This brick of a book has tables, forms, checklists, questionnaires, tips and sample reports on everything that a CFO might run into in the course of her day, from governance issues and internal control reporting to managerial accounting, cost management, quantitative analysis, budgeting and much more.

Price: $24.95.

John Wiley & Sons
(800) 225-5945

Inventory ideas

The author of Inventory Best Practices, Steven M. Bragg, likens the book to a "buffet table of ideas" for improving a company's inventory policies. He might just as well have described it as a well-stocked warehouse, with a full inventory of over 200 best practices for achieving greater accuracy and control and driving costs down, on every aspect of the subject from purchase and receipt to storage, picking and shipment. There's practically guaranteed to be something here to help you or your clients improve inventory processes.

Price: $50.00.

John Wiley & Sons
(800) 762-2974

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