Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can Companies Help Employees Care About The Company?

Of course, a company’s primary goal is fiscally driven. If the company is not in the black, it can't pay employees to work there. But, when a company's ONLY goal is fiscally driven, then what is the message being sent to the people who make that goal possible?

To quote Jack Welch, companies need three things to be successful:
fiscal responsibility
satisfied customers
satisfied employees

Companies are slowly beginning to realize the importance of listening to website visitors. It may sound like common sense, but companies are just recently coming around to the idea of gathering voice of visitor data in a reliable, credible way and using that data to drive business decisions. They are slowly beginning to see as an asset the investments they make in satisfying these visitors.

But when it comes to employee satisfaction, many companies are still woefully behind the curve. Employees are often viewed as a "means to an end" - to push widgets out the door faster and faster. In this economy, employers might think that their employees should feel lucky to have a job and work harder still. But there are other issues at play.

Many people are afraid about these economic times. They may have spouses or partners out of work or may be laid off soon, babies on the way, bills to pay, and they're scared. And when they're scared, they start focusing on their own - more immediate - needs. What if this happens...what if that happens....

As a result, customer service and quality of work begin to deteriorate.

So what can employers do? They, too, are feeling the financial crunch. Nobody is holding their hand and offering words of comfort. But CEO's, entrepreneurs, and other leaders have one key ingredient that many employees don't have - CONNECTION TO THE COMPANY. They feel connected to their companies because their voice is heard (often it's the only voice heard), they're decisions are final, and they are given room to grow and to learn new things.

So the real question may be, "how can we foster connection between employees and their place of employment?". How do we encourage their ideas, encourage entrepreneurial thinking - even for the lowest on the org charts, empower employees by sharing thought processes - the WHY of decision making. I certainly believe this is a two-way street. Employees have to step-up to the plate, but the company has to let them know their on the same team, and cheer them as they stand at bat.

It's time to remind employees that we are all in this together. Employees choose to work for the company. The company chooses to keep them employed. It's a relationship, and relationships need honesty, trust, and commitment. To attain this, each party needs to feel valued for who they are and for what they contribute.

If you treat employees like the partners they are, they’ll be more inclined to focus on customer needs and not their own. Focusing on customer needs will grow the business - satisfied customers are the best customers. This, in turn, will grow revenue dollars.

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