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Happy Employees Move your Mission

By Ben Markens, TMG president

Whether you’re a trade association, a mission-based nonprofit, or a for-profit, we are all in the business of providing service to others. Outside the walls of the organization, virtual or otherwise, the customer has been and always will be king. But turning our focus inside, there’s another stakeholder group we have an
obligation to serve. Higher employee satisfaction is not just a morale booster—it can drive the behavior of customers in tangible ways that fulfill your mission or increase your bottom line.

James Heskett and the folks at Harvard University found a clear connection between improving employee satisfaction and raising revenue and profitability. For instance, at Sears, research showed that over a 15-month period, a five-percent increase in employee satisfaction yielded a 130% increase in customer satisfaction and a one-half percent increase in revenue!

Here’s what we believe is happening behind the scenes. Customer loyalty drives success. Loyalty is influenced by customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is improved by a high perception of the value of service. Value is positively affected by productive employees. And productivity is fed by employee satisfaction.

Putting employees first is an integral part of maximizing customer satisfaction.

How do we gauge the level employee happiness? At The Markens Group, we start with the questions from Buckingham and Coffman’s First Break All the Rules. After tens of thousands of interviews, they distilled the essence of employee satisfaction down to 12 simple questions.

Two of the most important of these 12 are, “I know what’s expected of me at work” and “I have all the tools I need to do my job.” If your people aren’t giving you high marks in these two areas, then you are not doing your job as a leader. We recommend an annual survey for all employees. The first one will provide a benchmark for all the ones that follow.

A word of warning: don’t bother getting employees involved if you are not going to act on the results. Asking for their input only to ignore it will yield a worse result than if you had done nothing at all.

We’re not just blowin’ smoke: happier employees make for happy board members and bigger bottom lines.

 

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