Employees are your most important customers

When a customer complains about your product or service, you probably jump into action. Making sure that customers are satisfied is often the hallmark of a successful business – if you have enough happy customers, you are on your way to success. Most businesspeople know and understand this, and treat their customers accordingly.

On the other hand, many businesses tend to be less concerned with another key audience: employees. Some organizations take their employees for granted; others flat out abuse their workers, as evidenced by this past summer’s New York Times exposé on the brutal culture at Amazon.

However, as workers gain more control over the direction of their careers, employers must turn their attention to keeping employees happy and engaged. They are “internal customers” – and their relationship with the company should be a top priority.

As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, the best companies get “the wrong people off the bus, and get the right people on the bus in the right seats.” Attracting and retaining talent is vitally important in this free agent age. To compete and win, you need these employees to buy in to the company before you can ever think about generating revenue. You need to treat employees like “consumers of your culture.” In other words, employees are the customers you should place first when running your business.

Any successful organization has talented, engaged people doing great work and driving the company forward. Despite this, there are plenty of workers out there who are mailing it in – a 2014 study showed that just over one-third of worldwide employees consider themselves “engaged” at work. Frequently, the heart of the issue is that the employer is taking employees for granted; the boss does not value the contribution workers are making, and the employees can sense it. So they pull back. Usually, the result is diminished productivity.

This is a wasted opportunity — we are talking about people who have already made a commitment to the company. Smart businesses do not allow this relationship to stagnate. Rather, they engage them by demonstrating their commitment to these employees. They create a deeper relationship by providing opportunities for employees to deepen their commitment to the company.  

Just like you would with your most important customers.

Contact us at 215.441.4600 if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.

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