“Our people are our most important resource”. How many times have you heard this from organizations? It’s one thing to say, another thing to believe, and altogether another thing to actually treat employees as if they really are the most important resource. But here’s a radical idea to flip the employer/employee relationship on its head: Treating employees like customers will help your company grow and thrive.
THE LAST MOST IMPORTANT PERSON
Many times, companies focus first on pleasing their investors, then next pleasing their customers, with employees bringing up the caboose. After all, if an employee doesn’t want to do the job needed, there are many others who would be willing to take the spot. That’s an old-school mentality, while the reality for HR personnel today is that good employees are often difficult to find, and even more challenging to keep. Putting all other relationships in your business ahead of your employees will continue to be less effective in a competitive environment for qualified candidates.
WHAT’S IN A TOMATO?
When President and CEO of NatureSweet, Bryant Ambelang, wanted to increase company productivity, he did something extraordinary. He didn’t go to investors or into a leadership vacuum to create a program. Instead, Ambelang sat down with his workers and asked them what it would take. The employees answered that it would require higher pay. Seeing the value in the workforce of his company, Ambelang agreed to the hike in pay, which set off a series of other work improvement initiatives meant to, as he says, “unleash the power of the people”. The result has been phenomenal growth for the South Texas company, with little turnover in their workforce of over 7000 people.
In fact, the company now measures its overall success as a business on how many of their employees own their own house, how many have kids who graduate from high school and/or college, and other metrics surrounding the quality of life for their employees. They have seen the effects of elevating the relationships of their people, treating them just as good, and sometimes even better, than their best customers.
This powerful philosophy of treating your employees like your best customers can work for any company, increasing productivity, generating higher revenue, maximizing sales and profitability, and building a tremendous workforce that is dedicated and committed. Here’s why:
- You value your employees, so their value increases.
The true value of anything is determined only by the worth you give it. However much you value your employees, that’s exactly their worth. All lip service aside, say what you want, how you treat your employees gets the last word. It’s quite simple: When you value your employees, their value increases. What this means is that you won’t be tempted to take them for granted. You’ll stop looking them as expendable, and instead see them as an incredibly important part of the process.
- You understand your customers better.
If you treat employees like your best customers, you can more quickly adapt to the ever-changing workplace and customer base. Today, great companies use automated onboarding solutions that give them timely and important feedback on what people want and need. These systems can streamline processes for ultimate efficiency in ongoing communication that helps a company learn what is working and what isn’t. More importantly, these processes allow for the creation of real solutions that address issues for both your customers and employees. When you understand your customers, you can address their needs. Serve your employees in order to serve your customer.
- Your employees understand how to treat customers
This is the powerful idea of modeling. Treat others how you want to be treated, and in this instance, treat your employees like you want them to treat your customers. This is one of the most powerful ways to influence the culture of your company, and to assure that your customers are given the service that you want them to receive.
Business leaders don’t like to consider that their business will go through a difficult time, but we know that all businesses do at some point. A mass exodus of talent is a sure sign that an organization is struggling. If you have invested in your talent pool, and truly treated them like your most loyal customers, you will find that loyalty returned to you. What that means is that when times get tough, they’ll typically work even harder to find solutions, create opportunities, and give extra effort to “right the ship.”
- A vision of a future
As your company grows and scales, you can look to your talent pool FIRST, in order to hire and fill positions. Hiring from within keeps processes streamlined, and it shortens adjustment periods. It also has the added effect of creating a possible future for your staff. When people see others being promoted from within, that can also give them hope of their own advancement in the future.
The short and simple of this all is that the happier your people are, the less likely they are to leave. When employees are appreciated, trusted, and even treated like your most loyal customers, they will work to produce incredible results to bring about the company win. “It made us a lot of money because people didn’t leave,” Ambelang said. “This has completely transformed the way that we operate this business today.”
For insight into automated systems that help you treat your employees like customers, check out the compliance onboarding Xenqu platform.