What is one of the last competitive edges any business could sharpen?
Your product? Anyone can copy your product in shorter and shorter periods of time.
Your processes? Anyone can copy your processes.
The experiences you deliver to your customers? Getting warmer.
Who is delivering those experiences? Your people.
All of them in an equally important manner? Not really.
Who are the real faces and the heartbeat of your business? Your front-line staff, your customer facing associates, your mobile workforce, your people who mainly work on-the-go to be closer to your customers.
Life is all about relationships and work is no exception. The relationship you build with your employees is more important than the relationship you build with your customers.
In today’s world, it is not your product or service that is growing your bottom line but the experience your customers tweet about. And to get the customer experience right, one has to first get the employee experience right.
The path to profitability and business growth is therefore through employee experiences.
If that is so and if the root-cause of all of your financial and operational KPIs are your front-line people, then why are they still being underserved by technology? Why don’t they all have a corporate email address? Why do they have to walk to notice boards to get the (latest?) updates? Why do they have to wait for weeks or months to receive updates on what’s happening around the organisation till the periodic newsletter is being distributed? Why do they hear (distorted?) news mainly through the grapevine? Why don’t the top leaders explain the company’s mission and strategic goals to all of the employees directly? Why don’t those top leaders take the opportunity to gather feedback on how those strategic goals resonate with your front-line people directly? Without the subjective and biased filtering by middle management!
Why do the front-line staff mention so often that they feel left out of the loop? Why do they (have to) flock to “consumer tools” like WhatsApp to fulfil their basic human need for communication and relatedness? Why is there so much fake news that colleagues pick up from external media and that is not being straightened out by the leaders? Why are there still so many “information-tiers” where people at “the bottom” feel like second class team members?
Questions over questions.
There is one easy-to-use answer.
Redesigning the relationship with your people - all of them
The only way your organisation will be able to cope and thrive in a disrupted world is if you redesign your relationships with your people. The competitive differentiator is not the talent you have, rather, what you do with your talent once you have it. The relationship you build with your employees is more important than the relationship you build with your customers.
A relationship built with the help of ...
- A digital workplace platform that restores a sense of humanity to the workplace and that places social technologies in the context of the social environment an organisation wants to create.
- A digital workplace platform that focuses on developing the value of connections, relationships and conversations between their people (ie social capital) as the basis for the organization’s effectiveness and competitiveness.
- A digital workplace platform that enables communicating a company’s core ‘reason for being’ to their people and shows how each single one contributes to this common purpose.
- A digital workplace platform that creates teams in which each member feels they are treated with respect and feel they belong.
- A digital workplace platform designed to influence people’s behaviour, to engage their discretionary efforts to help other people and the groups people are working within, to nurture workplace emotional health, to motivate employees intrinsically, and to make them stay.
Your people stay when they feel respected, valued, involved, inspired, informed, and empowered. There's such a fountain of happiness and productivity in working with a stable crew. I'm baffled such a competitive advantage isn't more diligently sought. Engaged and happy employees deliver great customer service and happy customers come back time after time making companies happy and generating healthy profits!
That’s not just random correlation. That’s causation. That is your competitive edge and true differentiator for 2019.