Take care of your employees and they will take care of you...
While businesses expend great efforts to keep customers happy, research suggests that employees still struggle to get a basic level of care from their employers (Reid, 2009). Why is this? Is it essential for organizations to place employee care on an equal footing as customer care? What difference will it make to the success of the business?
Gone are the days when customer care was a business's sole priority and all that one perceived to be necessary to drive sales – times have changed! Nowadays, some employees are consistently showing how willing and able they to add-value to their organizations. Despite this, their efforts go unnoticed – employers are still finding it difficult to recognize that employees are their biggest asset, particularly those who are loyal. According to Reichheld (2006) "Loyal employees are committed to the success of the organization and they believe that working in their current role is the best option". In view of this, they will "go-the-extra-mile" to ensure customers are happy and will make more of an effort to foster healthy and productive relationships with their colleagues.
So, how can you nurture quality employees who care enough about your business to aid its survival? Best practice HR giants such as CIPD and ACAS recommend that managers and leaders alike should develop their "soft skills" so as to respond appropriately to needs of their employees. The premises behind this being that when employees feel cared for they will reciprocate care towards their employer. Its simple - care for your staff and they will care for your business! It is a basic fact that so many business owners today have forgotten. Organizations who are successful at embedding this philosophy into their management practice do well because unlike most they recognize the importance of caring for both the financial and human elements of their business.
Think of it like this, employees have a huge influence over the customer experience and leaves with them an impression about your business, this will influence their decision to return or not. Obviously, customers will return if your product(s) is what they want and/or need…but stop for a moment and think - how many other businesses stock the same products/services as you do? Remember, customers have choice; you need to ensure that your business is the chosen one. Loyal employees can assist you in your efforts to achieve this!
Tips on how to nurture employee care and loyalty:
- Listen to your staff and show awareness of their needs – provide the opportunity for them to work according to their strengths – getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time is a proven recipe for success
- Ensure they have the adequate tools to perform well in their role
- Focus on developing your key asset and they will do their job well – provide training opportunities so they can strengthen their skills and abilities.
- Motivate and reward staff for their efforts – rewards incentives are major contributors of employee satisfaction and happiness.
Dr Michelle Hunter is Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Programme Convener: HRM and International Business