Why You Should Treat Your Employees Like Customers

We know the adage that the customer is always right. But have you considered that your employees are in many ways your biggest customers? They choose to work for your mission, leaders, and products. Every day, they choose your brand. 

Customers are more loyal when they have superior experiences, and that’s also true for employees. With ongoing labor shortages and an increased demand for talent, companies have to get more creative to attract and retain workers. Shouldn’t executives listen and respond to employees the same way they do with customers?

Only 31% of companies measure employee experience, but 81% analyze customer experience. Every business wants to know when customers have been treated poorly or didn’t receive the service or product they expected. It should be no different with employees. Frankly, you can’t afford to be in the dark about where your employees feel devalued and where they struggle (replacing an employee can cost up to 200% of their salary). 

The internal conflicts some employees feel about work have spurred a viral trend called “quiet quitting.” It’s loosely defined as pushing back against work pressures by doing the bare minimum, and not going above and beyond like bosses might expect. It’s yet another signal that employees need change. 

Here are three ways to roll out the best customer service standards for your employees. These steps can transform your workforce, lifting revenue generation by as much as 50% and setting the foundation for future success in your organization.

1. Provide exemplary service to employees first

Customers want a seamless digital experience when shopping, and employees want seamless technology on the job. If response times or apps are slow, both will begin looking elsewhere.

Only 32% of employees believe their corporate technology is working effectively, compared to 52% of C-suite leaders. Employees at companies that provide great technology are 5.6 times more likely to report their company has experienced extreme revenue growth, according to Salesforce research

Employees, like customers, need ways to raise concerns and spot chokeholds before they become an issue. Salesforce hosts an “airing of grievances” Slack channel for employees to shed light on obstacles they face. Regular employee surveys and skip-level manager meetings are also great places for feedback. C-suite leaders can set common instincts for growth ensuring everyone approaches problems the same way. 

  • Ask employees what they want and help them feel heard. Understand their desires and create a way to deliver. 
  • Invest in  digital transformation to create a seamless experience for your employees as well as your customers. 
  • Improve communication and productivity by adopting a digital HQ. Slack as a digital HQ, for example, can deliver a 12% increase in customer service ratings. 
  • Give employees space to  collaborate and problem solve.  

2. Market to your employees 

Marketers know the importance of consistent feedback from customers. Reach out your employees in the same way. Get smart on the things they value and use their feedback to keep everyone on track. Gather feedback regularly to keep a constant pulse on employee morale and sentiment. You’ll soon be able to  identify emerging trends or shifts in your workforce, allowing you to pivot as necessary to keep employees engaged. 

Create a sense of connectedness by making pertinent info easily accessible. Employees need to be aware of organizational initiatives and updates in real time. 

Make sure your employees are on board with your customer goals. Values misalignment is not only bad for morale, it can also be costly and result in higher attrition and lower customer satisfaction scores, ultimately impacting revenue growth. Unaligned workers predict financial decline and uncertainty for their company’s future, whereas 75% of aligned workers feel empowered to make strategic decisions.

Companies should innovate and launch new products for employees just as they would their customers. Provide new opportunities for employees to grow and find meaning in their work. Up to 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. People need pathways for personal development and growth. Sporadic training and workshops won’t cut it. Create space for your employees to regularly participate in development opportunities.

3. Create a culture of autonomy and flexibility

One size does not fit most. Each employee should be empowered, like the customer, to select the working style that fits them. Employees should be treated as the consumers of work. Consider the following:

  • 52% of people who quit say their organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving. Ask employees to weigh in on where to transform or automate. Encourage them to experiment and provide feedback. 
  • 38% of employees feel they have what they need to grow in the company. Employees should be heard, upskilled, and encouraged to grow. 
  • 89% of professionals feel they are suffering from burnout and 81% say they are more burned out now than at the start of the pandemic. Employees need flexibility to perform well. 
  • Nearly 50% of surveyed employees agree that having more flexibility results in greater productivity. Flexibility can also make way for a more diverse and powerful workforce. 

“It’s on [managers] to genuinely and authentically understand where people are coming from,” strategic consultant Simone Ahuja told CNN

A diverse workforce is also important: 76% of job seekers and employees say it’s a factor when evaluating companies and offers. Survey your employees to get their perspectives on your organization’s inclusivity. Measure and track advancement and look at how the “Great Resignation” affected your diversity goals.  What changes can be made in order to repair and prevent the disparity? 

Above all else, listen and treat your employees just as you would a top customer. Lengthen that table and extend your availability for 1:1s. Share the love, and employees will return it in spades. 

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