Customer is Not Always King. Value Employee Feedback.

We’ve all heard the common phrase that “Customer is King” in the business world. Technically this would imply holding customers in the greatest regard and seeking to ensure their satisfaction and needs are constantly met. Whilst it is true that we’ve progressed into a digital age where customer feedback plays great significance to any business’ image, it really should not be our sole point of focus when building up the business.

So who matters?

Well, Employees do.

Beyond pleasing customers, companies can invest in their human resource, obtain feedback from employees on how to improve operations, to better serve customers.

Think about it. The core business of any company is to create value for its customers, and the creation of that stems from the communication between its employees and customers. Without good employees, this vital communication of value is lost and chances are, the business is unlikely to succeed.

Alright, clearly we need to take care of our employees first…but how?

1. Listen

Empowered employees who do not fear voicing out their opinions, combined together with a responsive management who listens, is key to the creation of a business’ competitive edge that is needed to succeed in the long run.

The first step is simply to implement a well-designed employee feedback system that encourages employees to provide honest feedback by honoring them for raising existing pressing issues. More often than not, employees fear the option of getting into trouble or risk getting fired for bringing up issues that may break certain rigid unspoken rules. Perhaps what can be done, is to act upon the pressing issues fast and once the successes have been realized, give open recognition to the employees whose feedback enabled greater progression of the business towards the right direction. Companies can go a step further to recognise the importance of feedback by using an employee appraisal system to track and reward employees for their feedback.

2. Work out HR policies & processes

A business functions just like the human body. There exists various departments: Finance, Human Resource (HR), Information Technology (IT), Management & Marketing etc. Management performs a similar function to the brain by transmitting instruction to the rest of the body, IT follows that of nerves which connect the various parts of a body together, and HR acts as the heart, vital to pumping and sustaining life of the business.

Through thoughtful implementation of HR policies that seek to improve transparency of communication between management and employees, it may invoke a greater sense of awareness of what’s going on in the bigger picture of the state of the business and enable employees to seek exponential growth not just for themselves, but for the business as well.

Beyond corporate policies, businesses should consider investing in HR management applications that are specifically curated for the purpose of enhancing transparency through self-service modules such as enabling employees to view personal information and general records including payslip, leave entitlements and schedules. Not only will employees feel accountable for their own HR-related information, but it will also ease the time-consuming operational work that HR is traditionally required to do and thereby be able to focus on employee development.

3. Recognition & Autonomy

When we talk about rewarding our employees for their achievements, we often think it has to be in the form of a monetary prize. With that however, employees don’t necessarily feel motivated or keen to develop their skills in key aspects of their work.

Instead, it is through acknowledging achievements and offering validation when employees display strengths that continue to build up the company’s success, that a sense of shared ownership and trust among colleagues will be fostered, at whichever level within the corporate hierarchy. Employees will also be more willing to take initiative to enhance their contributions to the broader vision of the business. At the end of the day, employees are people who are greatly influenced more by the desire to be recognized and appreciated as opposed to materialistic incentives.

Needless to say, customers are still a valuable aspect for the sustainability of any business. But with happy employees who strive for the better of the company, you can be assured that this will translate on to a better experience for customers.