The customer/client is always right. The customer/client should always come first. The customer/client is the most important person to please, as without them a company is nothing. Those are all basic lessons taught the first week or business school and it's probably the philosophy that drives most of what your business does right now.
And the customer/client may be more powerful than ever before. It's not just retailers that can suffer because on poor online feedback. As social media has become a part of the marketing landscape for almost every business, then they are all open to public criticism at any time. And consumers are more demanding than ever before. So increasing their importance in your company's mission would seem to make sense.
But there is a growing school of thought suggests companies should start doing things differently if they truly want to succeed and thrive in the long term and that is to put your people front and center and start putting employees first.
Here are some good reasons why you should consider going against conventional wisdom and start practicing employee first thinking.
Your Company Needs New Ideas, Innovation and Trust to Thrive
No matter what niche your business operates in, competition is fierce. To remain competitive, you will need to draw upon the experience and knowledge of every person your business employs. You need the new ideas they can bring to the table if given the chance to speak.
This means sharing your thoughts on the business with everyone but also being willing to listen, learn and bring more people into the decision-making process.. Who knows more, for example, about what your customers are looking for in terms of customer service; a C Level executive who spends half the day in a boardroom or the CS rep who spends all day with them on the phone? In a successful company everyone's input can be valuable and the faster you realize that fact the better.
You Need Highly Motivated Employees Willing to Go the Extra Mile
Employee motivation is not all about money. In fact, according to several recent research studies between 65 and 70% of employees would take a small pay cut to secure their ideal job. So, the key is to ensure that the position your current employees have is their ideal job. The fact is that an employee who feels valued, supported and like a part of the business that matters will often go to extraordinary lengths for that business. And those are exactly the employees that every business needs right now.
To Be Successful Your Business Needs to Retain the Best Talent
Did you know that it can cost up to 33% of a worker's annual salary to hire their replacement if they leave? Or even more – up to 150% of a mid-level employees? Money aside when you lose a talented employee you lose a lot more; their experience and skills, the value of which is practically priceless.
Putting the needs and voices of your employees first can help you retain the best talent. According to The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, employees who feel their jobs have meaning, or that they are able to make a difference, exhibit greater levels of loyalty. This is especially true when it comes to younger workers.
This does not necessarily mean you need to invest in gym memberships, game rooms and wellbeing programs, though those type of added-extras are always welcomed and should be implemented in some way where possible. But it does mean giving your people structured autonomy and power, and importantly, encouraging them to fully participate and belong in your mission, direction and values.