By Linda Ruffenach
“Treat your employees the way you want your customers to be treated.”
– Linda Ruffenach
If the customer experience is core to your brand and core to your strategy, then your employees are an essential part of that equation. I firmly believe in the golden rule, treat people the way you want to be treated. But I also believe when it comes to your customers you should treat your employees the way you want your customers to be treated.
The customer experience begins the moment you hire a new employee and welcome them into your organization. To keep it simple I have outlined what I believe are the essentials to introducing a new employee into your family.
- Treat them as one of your most important customers – As a manager or leader in your organization, it is important to remember you have multiple customers to support including the members of your team. Internal customer care is as important as external customer care. One of my favorite Harvard Review articles (later turned into a book) by Clayton M. Christensen asks the question, “How Will You Measure Your Life?”. In his writings Christensen touches upon the fact that as leaders we have the ability to impact other’s lives beyond just the workplace by helping develop greater self-esteem, allowing others to feel they are learning and developing, that they have been recognized for achieving valuable things, and have played a significant role in the success of a business.
“Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.” – Clayton M. Christensen
- Show them why they should believe – Educate and inform your new team members on your business. Show them how the company has gotten to where it is today. Share with them the core values and explain to them how and why the core values are important to you as a leader and to the business. Explicitly share with them how their role plays into the overall success of the company and demonstrate to them that you care about their success as much as you do your own.
- Provide and train them on the tools they need to be successful – Everyone needs different tools to do their job well. Take the time to ensure the tools you are providing your employees work, are reliable, and allow them to get the job done. Solicit feedback on a regular basis from your team members on the effectiveness of the tools.
- Introduce them to the organization – People want to feel welcomed into the organization. Treat them as if they are new guests into your home and you are introducing them to your closest friends and family. Walk them around your business sharing with them the basics such as where the breakroom, bathroom, etc. are located but also take the time to introduce them to others within the business. This not only makes them feel welcomed, but it reiterates to your other team members that they are important enough to be introduced to new people in the business. If possible, try to find someone in the business to partner them up with either as a mentor or an employee advocate.
- Get to know them as a person – Now that you are beyond the interview and hiring phase take the time to get to know your new team member as a person. What are their likes and dislikes? Do they have children? Where are they from? What is the most interesting job they have ever had? What do they think are their biggest strengths? Taking the time to get to know someone as a person once again helps them feel more engaged and included in the company.
These simple suggestions are the first steps to building a culture that values employee engagement. It is my belief that employee engagement leads to customer engagement and helps to deliver the ideal customer experience.