Your success literally rides on the backs of your employees, and it’s in your best interest to invest in the quality of your team. Here’s why it matters.
Satisfied employees make for satisfied customers
You can come up with all the customer service guidelines, measures and KPIs that you want – unhappy, overworked, underpaid or otherwise frustrated employees will never be able to provide the same level of service, quality and customer experience as satisfied ones. More employees are pushing back against stressful, anxiety-inducing and toxic workplaces all the time.
When customers interact with employees, they can feel the difference between a fake smile and prescribed phrases and a genuinely relaxed and engaged team member. Employees who have a good experience at work are more likely to have both the motivation and the extra energy to make a good experience for your customers, send unspoken signals that make customers feel relaxed and welcome, and go above and beyond for you and your customers.
Even if employees don’t directly interact with customers (and keep in mind, most employees have at least some contact with people outside the company in some aspect of their jobs), their satisfaction has an impact on your success. They will be more alert and attentive to production tasks, be more likely to go above and beyond to make projects and products a success, and feel safe and motivated to communicate when there’s a problem to correct it early.
Recruitment is expensive
It takes more resources to find a new employee than to keep an existing one. This also applies to specializations and new skills. You should never pressure an employee to learn and take on duties that they’re not interested in or inclined towards, but giving employees the option to upgrade their education, learn specialized skills and move toward greater responsibility can pay back significantly for your company.
While it might seem expensive to pay for conferences, courses, degrees and management training, you’re making an investment both in employee satisfaction and in the future of your business. There’s a full list of college online degrees available for employees to upgrade their education while staying with the company, and offering part or fully subsidized education is an incredible driver of satisfaction and loyalty. In the long run, an engaged employee who works well with the team and thoroughly understands your business but has newer skills will be less expensive and more valuable than a ringer headhunted from the outside.
They hold more power than you think
Business owners sometimes forget how much power their employees have. They’re the ones directly involved with customers, production, design and a whole host of small and not-so-small decisions. Nurturing satisfied, engaged employees leads to them consistently making decisions in your favor and creating a more positive experience for customers and peers.
On the other hand, disgruntled employees can undermine the team, sabotage elements of your business, and damage your reputation even after they leave. Just because you hold the purse strings and have the power to terminate their employment does not mean that you have all the power in the relationship, and the damage if you forget this truth can be alarming.
They know more than you do
If any one of your employees left tomorrow, would you be able to step in and take over their duties seamlessly? Chances are you don’t have the skills or the knowledge – and that’s a good thing. If you know all about every little thing going on in your business, you’re probably micromanaging, wasting your own time and driving your employees crazy. However, this also means that there are countless things that you don’t know about, from customer to product to technical. There’s a cost to you when employees leave (or are removed) from their jobs in terms of lost knowledge and skills. On the other hand, if you nurture employees and create an environment of trust and transparency, their deep and detailed knowledge becomes available to you. They’ll be more willing to share when they see opportunities or come across problems, and your business will benefit as a result.
They don’t have to stay
Employers forget this all the time. Since they’re the ones who pay employees, hire them and fire them, they feel like they hold all the cards. However, employees are independent professionals who are engaging in a business transaction: their time and expertise in return for your income and workplace experience. If the balance tips too far and they feel undervalued, they’re likely to look elsewhere for a better deal. There are companies with great value propositions, and more employees are looking to start-ups and remote work than ever before.
Nurture your employees and they’ll help your business succeed. Forget their value and fail to provide equal value to them and they’ll do the opposite.