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Sep 04, 2012 | 4 comments
To many business owners, the number that matters most is the bottom line. But while profit is vital to driving a business forward, that singular focus too often blurs out other, equally important components of success. One place companies should funnel more resources? Employee satisfaction. That’s right, not customer satisfaction, but worker happiness. That’s because happy employees tend to produce better, more consistent work and deliver better service. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Service Research showed that customer loyalty was nearly twice as strong for businesses that also reported high employee satisfaction.
If that doesn’t convince you, consider the money to be saved by reducing turnover. Employees that stick around save you extra hiring and training costs, as well as revenue that could be lost from decreased productivity.
So if you think it’s time to start focusing on your workforce just as much as your customers, here are three easy ways to start:
1. Create flexibility
Between family, household chores, doctors’ appointments, and social engagements, people are busy 24/7, which can get overwhelming. To reduce schedule-induced stress, consider allowing employees to telecommute, or arrange their hours in a way convenient for them. For example, parents of young children may want to start earlier so they can pick up the kids from school at 3pm, or help out with extra curricular activities. At Hewlett-Packard’s Customer Engineering Division, managers gave employees the green light to log three, 12-hour shifts per week, instead of the traditional 9 to 5. Shifting schedules this way allowed workers to spend more time at home during the week and brought HP’s overtime costs down by 36 percent.
2. Don’t micromanage
People tend to work harder when they feel personal pride in their accomplishments. Giving employees independence and real responsibilities on the job provides a greater sense of purpose, whereas being watched along every step makes them feel belittled and unimportant. If you’ve hired competent employees, show your trust by backing off and letting them perform to their full potential. A little freedom can be just the incentive to go the extra mile.
3. Make the office comfortable
This applies to both the physical setting and office culture. Put some effort into decorating the workspace with warm, inviting colors. Hold seasonal contests to see who can decorate their station with the most creativity. Not only will this brighten up the office, but it will also encourage friendly relationships among your staff. Hold social functions outside of work where everyone can meet and mingle. When co-workers feel like family and friends, the office looks a lot more fun, and employees develop feelings of personal obligation to the team as a whole.
Conclusion: Customers can tell when your employees are happy and genuinely care about your business. Increasing employee satisfaction is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your customer service and save money. If you cant give raises or add benefits, little things like schedule flexibility, employer trust, and social engagement make workers much happier with their job, meaning they’ll work for your best interests and won’t leave you hanging out to dry.
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