I believe there is a correlation between employee happiness, customer satisfaction, and increased profit margin. We all know in order for a company to stay in business it must produce profits. Too often though, the focus is centered around profits and not enough on the drivers of profits, the employees. Employees tend to treat the customers, whether internal or external, to the extent to which they are satisfied and happy with their current position. The question becomes how does a leader create enthusiasm and ensure job satisfaction for their team members.
Most satisfied employees feel empowered. This means they must have the tools, support, training and ability to make decisions. In addition, a leader needs to become more of a coach than a “teller” or dictator. Coaching creates an atmosphere of collaboration, trust, and confidence, where constructive and sincere feedback is accepted. Remember, “The worst feedback is no feedback”.
Employees need to understand how their job function contributes to the bottom line of the organization. Employees will tend to work harder if they feel like their work is meaningful and adds value. My first job in high school was at a dry cleaner. I staffed the front counter taking in clothes, entering the information into the system and creating an invoice for the customer. The job was not exciting and every day I wished for the fewest customers possible. When a customer came in I would get the order entered as fast as I could and get back to doing nothing but wait for the next customer. Looking back, I imagine that not everything was entered properly and those mistakes, although small, cost the company some profits.
I wonder if it would have been different if the manager took some time to explain how my work added value to the company through something simple like a scorecard. What if we created a scorecard review of my key functions so I could see the importance of the work I was doing. Even the “front counter” employees need to understand how important the work is that they are doing.
If employees are happy, customers are happy. When customers are happy, they come back and tell others of their experience. Repeat business and referrals equal greater profit. Sometimes we need to step back and look at our own performance. Are we focusing solely on the profit and forgetting about the people driving the profit? Are we creating an atmosphere where employees are coached or are we a dictator? Do the employees know how important their job function is? Do the employees feel empowered and find their work meaningful? Are we tracking the important functions that help build profit? We need to look at these questions often as we lead for greater profit.