Why you should treat your employees like customers

I spend a lot of time deciphering issues between managers and staff, and also colleagues through mediation. Sometimes it’s a breakdown in communication, sometimes its lack of understands and sometimes it’s one person thinking that the other is a mind reader!

We are often surprised at someone’s behaviour or response to things, but to those who know them best, it is virtually impossible that the individual would have reacted in any other way.

While we invest a lot of time in the recruitment process, finding out about the persons experience, management style and even psychometric testing; what do we do after they are employed to understand the way they work and what motivates them, beyond checking they have achieved their targets?

If we treated our staff in the same way that we treat our customers, making sure that we understand as much as we can about them, it makes even the difficult conversations easier as you can adapt your style to your audience and prepare better for the reactions you might receive.

Here are a few tips to help you:

Build relationships

It goes without saying that in order for someone to open up to you they need to have a relationship with you. You have to create a safe environment so that if a staff member has an issues inside or out of work, they fell comfortable talking with you. You can start by really listening to them when you ask what they did at the weekend or how their family are, remembering their favourite band or the ages of their children can go a long way.

Know what makes their faces shine

I once had a HR Assistant who loved working with entry level staff, she really enjoyed getting graduates their first job and supporting them as they navigated their way in the corporate word. Working with them truly made her day. Knowing this made it easy to motivate her and I knew that I never had to worry about my graduate programmes once she was involved. Understanding what makes your staffs face shine is the key to retaining your key employees.

Don’t make promises that you cannot keep

The saying “under promise, over deliver” springs to mind! Be clear about the conditions for promotions, pay rises, working from home, etc. A lot of hurt feelings and resentment can be avoid if we are clear in our communications, with a customer you document what they receive from you in return for a fee. You start in the same way with your employees but do you continue that in your 1-2-1’s and performance review meetings?

Show your appreciation

When you have a great customer, you offer them exclusive deals and keep in touch to ensure that you are front of mind when that need your services. Your staff are the key to your customer’s satisfaction, make sure that they feel that appreciation, it doesn’t have to be a financial reward but something well thought out.

Need help engaging with your staff, our management fundamentals course is a great place to start, find out more here.