Many factors contribute to being successful in business. Having a sound strategy, having a marketable product or service, and having efficient processes are all important. But it falls to the people within the organization to actually execute on the strategies, plans, and processes to make a business successful. I know that many leaders understand this concept intellectually. That’s why you often hear phrases like “Our employees are our most important asset”. However, when you see how employees are treated, the authority they’re given, or the level of trust and value they command within the organization, you realize that this mantra is just a trite saying at many companies.
This shouldn’t be a trite saying at all. Extensive research has been done in this area, and it has been well documented that employees who feel valued and engaged are 24% more likely to increase sales. But it goes beyond that and to the core of what any business exists to accomplish: satisfy their customers so that they generate repeat and referral sales.
Simon Sinek, a renowned marketing consultant, motivational speaker, and best-selling author has said that “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”. This means that employees have to go way beyond punching the time clock and picking up a paycheck. They need to bring the passion to serving the customer, and they need to be empowered to do what’s right on the customer’s behalf.
To begin to execute on the concept that your employees are your company, start by listening to what they have to say and taking them seriously. If you do, their rhetoric will get passed the gripes and nit-picking that occurs when they feel like they don’t have a voice. You’ll begin to hear about common problems that customers tell them about as well as simple and effective solutions or alternatives. You’ll even begin to identify potential leadership talent. Don’t make the mistake that many companies make, which is to create a framework that gives the appearance of an open line of communication. Actually do it!
One thing I learned early in my career is that revenue can hide a lot blemishes operationally. When it comes to employees, having strong, dedicated people can make a good manager look like a legendary leader.