Look after your staff and they will look after your customers

Shift Employment filmsFortune magazine rates the top ten best companies to work for every year and interviews someone from each organization. None of the employees rated pay, rewards, or advancement as the reasons they enjoyed their jobs.

SAS scored number one as the best company to work for, and the employee interviewed spoke candidly about the company’s efforts to make her feel like part of a family. As a young mother, the childcare facilities were so convenient she was able to check on her children several times a day and even join them for lunch. ” You can’t put a price on that,” she stated.

Edward Jones ranked second on the list. Particularly impressive for the employee was being able to pick her location, design her practice, (financial adviser) and hire her own staff. Everything about the company is unique including a reimbursement plan for a pending adoption the employee had been pursuing.

Wegmans Food Markets ranked number three, and has been rated as one of  the best grocery stores in the nation. For employees there has never been a layoff in the company’s 94 year history. There are 4,000 employees, and 11% of the workforce has been there for more than 15 years.

So what makes people want to work at these companies, and why are these companies so successful? It’s not so much about the paycheck or the rewards; it’s more about emotions. People enjoy varied work, and they want to work in an environment where they can become passionate about a company, and that starts with the leaders of the organization. Excellence inspires excellence, and when people are led by exemplary examples of passionate, sincere, and honest leaders, employees get passionate about what they do.

The top three companies make their employees feel like the workplace is an extension of home; being treated like members of a large family. Colleagues support each other, and everyone matters when they come to work. In a recent interview with Doria Camaraza, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fort Lauderdale Service Center for American Express, Ms. Camaraza made a point to regularly meet with the customer care professionals, not just about social issues, but what is important to the employee and to American Express.

How employees are treated sharply reflect how they treat customers. When leadership shows positive, confident, and trustworthy conduct, employees will feel the same way about their jobs which ultimately determines their motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity. Companies build their reputations, and when people are proud to work there, that which makes a company distinctive becomes their service culture.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Initiate high quality training programs.
  • CEO and all leaders need to be available.
  • Encourage employees with positive feedback.
  • Encourage new ideas and innovative thinking.
  • Respect employees for having both work and family lives.
  • Be fair and consistent.
  • Encourage employees to own their customers and work out problems. Offer assistance when needed.
  • Encourage feedback.
  • Be an example for employees.
  • Reward employees for stepping out of the box and taking initiative above and beyond.

photo credit: shiftstigma

One Response to “Look after your staff and they will look after your customers”

  1. Shep Hyken said:

    Nov 01, 10 at 5:14 pm

    Great article with great examples! Today’s workplace requires employers to take special note of employees, making them feel important to the company. We don’t want employees to just come to work for a paycheck. I tell companies it’s important to give employees an incentive (and one that doesn’t cost the company a lot of money) that can help solve internal problems. Also, team celebrations are an excellent way to reward that incentive. Shep Hyken, Author of Cult of the Customer (http://www.hyken.com)