If you’re treating your customers better than your employees, you’re making a BIG mistake!

“The customer is king.”  “We want to delight our customers!”   “The customer is the reason we are in business.”

We’re not debating any of those statements.  But if you don’t treat your employees as well as your customers, your business is not sustainable.  Period. As an exercise, let’s replace the word “customer” with “employee.”

“The employee is king.”   “We want to delight our employees!”  “The employees are the reason we are in business.”

These aren’t statements of fact. They are perspectives to explore.  Let’s look closer:

“The employee is king.”

What if for one day we took this attitude?  What could we do to let our employee know they are “king” and why would we want to do so?

Kings like to be treated as if they are special. So do employees.  Celebrate employees’ marriages, birthdays, new babies, etc.  Put it in the newsletter.  Give a small gift.  Buy a cake.  It’s a small investment towards having a loyal employee.

What if you listened to employees as if you’re life depended on it?  If you didn’t listen to a king attentively in times gone by, you were likely to get your head chopped off! I bet you’d learn something – an idea, some feedback, or some important information.  When people don’t feel listened to, they don’t feel valued and can lose motivation and interest in their jobs.   It’s another small investment with the big pay-off of engaged employees who feel valued and want to help you grow your business.

“We want to delight our employees.”

Are your employees currently delighted and delight-ful?

Many employers will think, “Can’t employees just be happy with their compensation package?  Why do I need to delight them?   How would I do that anyway, even if I wanted to?”

The good news is that, just like the above suggestions, it can be cheap and easy to delight employees.   People want to follow a leader.  It’s human nature.  Therefore, be an inspirational leader!  Share your ideas, thoughts and plans with them, and they’ll get on board for you (and of course, listen to them!)  Ensure that the company values align with your employees’ personal values.  If your company makes children’s toys, “fun” will probably be one of your company values.  Therefore, ensure that you bring a sense of fun to work.  If you own a law firm, one of your company values will most likely be “fairness.” In which case, ensure that you are fair with your employees, and that you expect fairness from them.

“The employees are the reason we are in business.”

Employees should be ONE of the reasons you are in business.  Why?  Because a business is a system, and when one part of the system (employees) is neglected, disinterested, and disengaged, the system falls apart.   Just like cancer in a human body.

A truly sustainable business ensures that it is part of a community and enriches everyone it touches – including customers.  And suppliers.  And, yes, employees!

So being part of a community, and providing meaningful employment of reasonably compensated employees means that your business is on its way to long-term success.

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