Four ways to use the customer service approach to retain employees.
Outspoken billionaire and founder of Virgin Airlines Richard Branson once said that employees come first in a company, even before customers. Research into employee retention and job satisfaction takes Branson’s words a little further, recommending that the same customer service techniques used by successful companies should be used on employees. As opposed to seeing staff as important laborers that are working toward the same goal, look at them as customers who are buying into the mission of the business.
Acknowledge the Total Experience
For both customers and employees, it is the experience of the company that defines perception. A positive daily experience translates into the belief that the company is a good business to be involved in. The first step in taking care of your employees is to not only acknowledge that their daily perceptions will change, transform and build, but that they are always important. Traditionally, employers would collect this information during an annual review, but that simply is not frequent enough. Using today’s newest iPhone technology and platforms like Waggl, employees can communicate with human resources as often as necessary, making employee-employer interactions a true relationship.
Recognize The Relationship
According to relationship marketing theory, it is the relationship between the consumer and the business that cements customer loyalty. The same is doubly true for employees who spend as much time at work as they do with family. It is no stretch of a metaphor to say that work is like a second family to most, so treat the relationship as such. Celebrate the achievements of both the individual and the group. When sales are up, at the very least, share a cake. If it is part of your business structure, then share some of the wealth. Make certain that employees know that you are aware and appreciative of the relationship that you all share.
Sometimes that relationship is not working. Like a marriage, the choice falls between letting it go and working on it. Anyone that has been through a breakup knows that a relationship extends beyond the two people. Anger, sadness and fear can spread and be particularly detrimental within a business. The best way to empower employees and maintain a positive work environment is for management to be real in its human communication. Always having a happy face creates an environment of distrust, and only portraying sorrow creates an environment of fear. True human interactions are a blend of all emotions. Let your humanity show to develop true employee loyalty.
Research shows that employees see management transparency as synonymous with vision, confidence and trust. This fits well within the customer relationship paradigm of employee retention. Glass walls, both literal and metaphoric ones, give the employee a sense of clarity in the mission and leadership of the company. It opens pathways to communication, developing deeper relationships and extended loyalty. As management, spend most of your time out on the floor and not in your office. When you are in your office, keep the door open. There is one caveat of warning with an open-door policy. When the door is closed, it sends a message of importance to the staff. So use a closed door carefully.
What does your company do exceptionally well to retain employees? Please share in the comments. We would love to know what others are doing to be revolutionary and operate with this internal customer service mindset to retain employees.