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Treat employees like gold because they’re customers, too

Which is more important—customers or employees? That’s a chicken-and-egg question, because both are integral to a successful business. However, too many companies view employees as chattel—disregarding the important contribution they make and the ways to motivate them to perform better. Happy, fulfilled employees directly link to stellar customer service. They should be viewed and treated as golden assets to optimize their interactions with customers and other stakeholders.

Any company trying to maximize profits by minimalizing employee value—typically to save a buck—is shortsighted and ultimately will pay a big price. The biggest among them (the “too big to fail” crowd) will continue exploiting workforces as long as they can. Ultimately, however, mindsets are changing to reward companies that reward their employees. Those mindsets also dictate avoiding companies that don’t appreciate their golden assets.

Don’t get me wrong. It will take time. Just as it will take time to see Donald Trump and his minions go the way of the dodo bird. But, increasingly the scales are tilting toward companies that do right by their customers, employees and other stakeholders.

Just as with sharing tied to top treatment of customers, letting the world know about excellent employee treatment is a way to help promote your company. It’s also the best way to recruit and retain the best talent. So, it makes sense from many angles. The most important one is common sense.

Exemplary versus going extinct
For those who question the importance of exemplary employee treatment, I see an archaic and arbitrary mindset. Mega-corporations built on the exploitation of employees versus their contributions generally view the bottom line as the only line in the sand. Cutting people, benefits, quality and performance in the name of the almighty buck shows no common sense and no heart—just greed.

A New York Post article about a strike this week zeroes in on an all-too-familiar scene:

“Members of the New York Taxi Workers Association will be striking from 7 am to 9 am Wednesday just ahead of Uber’s initial public offering…’Wall Street investors are telling Uber and Lyft to cut down on driver income, stop incentives, and go faster to driverless cars,’ NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said. ‘With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt.”

In the government sector, I’ve long advocated for “capitalism with a conscience” versus laissez faire survival-of-the-fittest mentality. Unfortunately, both Corporate America and the Trump Administration showcase the latter. Grandiose claims of “betterment of the nation” due to their policies discount and disrespect most of the stakeholders involved, and reward few at the expense of the many.

A whitepaper entitled, “2019 Fortune 100 Best Trends: Employee Experience at the Best Workplaces in America” spotlights how employee excellence and empowerment results in favorable employee reviews. Notes the whitepaper:

“91% of employees at the 100 Best say their company is a great workplace. And when employees work for a great company, they like going to work each day. Employees at the 100 Best are highly motivated compared to the average U.S. employee, with 84% of them saying people look forward to going to work, compared to just 42% of employees in the U.S. workforce.”

Employee excellence ‘trickles down’
Let’s talk about a new form of trickle-down economics, specifically Hyatt Corporation, which was #32 on Fortune’s 2019 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Its 35,062 employees are speaking loud and clear: 91 percent of its employees say Hyatt is a great place to work. The article elaborates that Hyatt’s “culture of caring is what makes working with Hyatt so incredible. We also have a very strong culture of hiring from within, so for the most part, the people getting promoted are very sincere in their care for guests and colleagues.”

Coupled with my recent glorious stay at the Fisherman’s Wharf Hyatt Centric, this report makes me a Hyatt fan. I will actively look to stay at Hyatts as I travel now (even though Hilton, which I haven’t experienced recently, ranked #1 on the list). Multiply me by thousands of other Hyatt fans and ka-ching! This may account for the Motley Fool headline in February addressing business slowdowns in the US and elsewhere: “Hyatt Hotels Gets More Profitable as Growth Slows.” That’s a kind of trickle-down I can get behind.

Excellent treatment of employees=healthy profitability. Imagine that!


Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience.

Author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage,  Mark (aka The Happy Curmudgeon) is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm.

One reply on “Treat employees like gold because they’re customers, too”

Love, love, love this one! As a former ee of a large corporation, I know how being treated like a very small cog in a huge impersonal machine can turn enthusiasm and ingenuity into boredom and cynicism. Instead of focusing on increasing efficiency and productivity, one simply “dog paddles”. Not the best way to invest so many hours a day of one’s life!

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