Do Your Employees Come First?
       So the old adage of Customers are always right has taken on a very sour connotation in the world of business today. Do your employees get abused by rude, arrogant, out of control patrons? What kind of policy does your company hold when it comes to abusive customers? Have you a policy of last wording the rude, harsh customers? Do you still decide the fate of your employees by an outdated survey system that is weighted heavily against the employee?

       The largest of companies have created these monsters simply by allowing them to run rough-shot over your employees and your employees are expected to endure the heartless verbal abuse or lose their job. Why? When an employee is abused daily by customers, then pulled in on the carpet for not meeting metrics, and their survey results are low, they take too long on bathroom breaks, and their average contacts per hour has bottomed out, what do you as the executive in charge do?

       Do you find more reasons to praise that employee than to do the proverbial beating up process? Are you taking the frustration and anger out on your underlings because your boss is not happy with last quarter's profit margins that need to be reported to stockholders? Where is your companies centrical desire? Finally, would there be customers if there were not loyal employees attempting to create a pleasant environment for the companies customers to communicate in? One can always find the out of place, obscure rogue employee, but most are very conscientious and caring. And as far as discussing the stock holders, if there were no employees, would there be any customers? The stock holders only benefit by a work force that has much to be happy about as they enter the door, and much to smile about during their day of routine maneuvers. 

       So the ever lasting question that has yet touched the scope of courageous entrepreneurs is, who is truly most important in our sphere of this organization? Most beleaguered and injured companies due to the economy and poor planning first and foremost beat the over-worked and usually underpaid employees with little to no raises, removal of benefits, longer hours, more demands, less autonomy, and the end result. The company still drops the "MIC" and falls another level.

       The best argument is the one that talks about a company that was one of the true American emblems for the undying growth in America. It was taken over by another struggling company, pay was curtailed, benefits were taken away, and quarter after quarter we hear of them closing more locations. The obvious answer was not the one taken, but that seemed to line the pockets of shareholders, banks, and CEO's. American ingenuity needs to once again advance in true idealism for a new generation of non-faltering advancements in the relationship between company and customer, and the very vital role that the employee plays to keep all the cogs turning appropriately.

       Which is better for the America entrepreneur, a company still in its weaning years to have Employee Negligence, or worse a Tarnished Reputation? Neither would be the course to respond. We need to re-evaluate the training and expertise for the position, and how intrinsically vital it is to the very survival of the company, either departmentally or over-all. Pay according to that value, you would be surprised how much higher you literally should be paying those "Customer Service" representatives that answer phones, emails, and internet chats. Benefits, well if the CFO, CEO, President and VPs all get grand vacations written off as employee building training, then do so for all your front line employees, because a CEO is the face, not the energy behind the growth of a company. Give a more lucrative benefits package where an employee can have vacations, but also take time off if they are burnt out. Give them choices on schedules, allow more to work at home where they feel more comfortable, allow them to bring their significant other to work on specific days, and gosh darn-it, make them feel like more than just a fancy number highlighted in some huge corporate mainframe.

       Do holiday gifts, if you are one of the top 1000 companies in America, you can afford to, and the return on investment is beyond the cost to give every employee a $25.00 "turkey coupon". Celebrate successes, celebrate hard-work, and if you are going the way of customer centric, you better first be "EMPLOYEE CENTRIC" or the customer centric means nothing. Remember a corporation that forgets that the employees are your best brand ambassadors, and your brand position is determined by the customer's experience. The experience is delivered by your front line employees, and either creates a positive feeling about your company or a negative one. Think of the one company in your town that everyone laughs about due to poor customer relations. Go talk to the employees, and you will find that they are report driven, number driven, given no autonomy, minimal vacation and holiday time off, and they are grumpy just thinking about going to work.

       So when a company speaks only in terms of Customer loyalty, then they may not be a company that looks out for their greatest asset, their employee. the new direction companies need to embolden in their corporate structure, and that they pledge to, and openly accept is EMPLOYEE>CUSTOMER>STOCK HOLDER.