I have a crazy idea that may just deliver a solution managers and bosses everywhere need: a profitable business, with a loyal and growing customer base, and excellent rate of repeat business serviced by highly motivated and competent staff members.
However, the business’ success is by no means achieved without challenging some company paradigms. So, let’s get into what makes the business tick in the first place:
“You have to make sure people enjoy coming to work,” Ed Brown, CEO of Patron, said.
Brown added that without a solid staff, his company would never be what it is today: the most profitable brand for his distributors. He also notes that effective motivational strategies are important, like creating an environment that keeps his staff happy.
It is important that your staff demonstrates relevant competencies. However, for a business to have that winning edge -- that standout-from-the-crowd quality -- it comes down to more than relevant competencies.
That is, it’s about the commitment from the people powering the business -- giving it soul, heart, groove and energy -- that allows for one coffee shop to have long lines when there are several other options available with no wait.
I call this the ESR Principle. ESR stands for “Extra Special Rapport,” but I prefer it to stand for “Employee Satisfaction Relationship.”
When I researched and dissected successful businesses to find what’s at the heart of them, the common denominator was generally the people behind the brand, the company, the founder and the ethos.
Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, offers his “Five Secrets to Business Success” in a list. He says to “create something that everybody who works for you is really proud of because businesses generally consist of a group of people, and they are your biggest assets.”
He also says that to be a good leader, you must have the ability to listen to people and learn from them. He also mentions how important it is to praise people:
Never openly criticize people; never lose your temper, and always lavish praise on your colleagues for a job well done. People flourish if they’re praised.
Usually they don’t need to be told when they’ve done wrong because most of the time, they know it. If somebody is not working out, don’t automatically throw him or her out of the company. A company should genuinely be a family.
I really believe these are important elements — which are too often ignored — and building blocks that could really help the company stand out amongst the rest. Leaders like Sir Richard Branson and Ed Brown are testimony to that!
The ESR (Employee Satisfaction Relationship) Principle And Why It's Important To You:
When joining a company, look for evidence of the ESR Principle within the establishment. Ask questions, such as how the company motivates, increases loyalty, measures performance and retains staff.
Do they mention these values in the company profile? Is there evidence that they really walk the walk? Or, do they just talk the talk?
To achieve success, companies must actually integrate actions that facilitate these relationships every day until they become engrained into the company culture.
Unless the company culture is one that is more manager-employee friendly, people will feel stressed, drained and build resentment toward their superiors; all the while, employee turnover will continue, company money will go to waste and staff performance will deplete.
The Value Of The ESR Principle:
Treating employees with dignity and equal respect seems to be a foreign notion to some companies, so try to find the “gem” companies.
“Gem” companies do not fear being challenged; they welcome it. When change is feared, the culture will likely be one that believes if management is friendly to an employee, power will be lost.
Instead, employees are made to feel put into a place, beneath the manager. Bullying behavior can also be prevalent in this kind of culture and is tolerated because it is just the norm and staff are expected to deal with it.
This kind of company culture is disconnected from employees and is sadly passed along in the hierarchy, so upper management is likely to turn a blind eye to the way people on lower levels of management at the company are treated.
“Gem” companies do not subscribe to the above notion at all.
Advice To 20-Somethings:
Employees, especially Gen-Yers, are looking to work for a company they can feel proud to represent and an environment in which they can thrive, mature, develop and grow. However, this can easily be misunderstood as greedy, selfish or lazy.
Young people who witnessed stressed-out parents or peers who always complained about their jobs are propelled to pursue something better and more meaningful for themselves. If this means changing jobs, then it will happen.
Companies have a choice of whether to ignore the changing landscape or look after their employees and listen to what matters. As a Millennial, I know what it’s like to constantly be bullied by managers and bosses; it should not be tolerated. It’s time to stop struggling and make choices that reflect your personal values.
My advice to young 20-somethings who are about to graduate is to seek employment at a company that makes you proud, agrees with your values and will challenge you in a positive, productive way. Seek out the “gem” organizations.
What kind of future do you see for yourself? Will the job you are chasing help you get there? This is the time to try different things and see what works for you. Work to discover how you fit into this big, bad world. If your first job doesn’t work out, know that as one door closes, the next will open.
You don’t have to settle. Don’t be blinded by the big fat paycheck at the end of the month because money cannot pay for the things that matter most. Put yourself in a position that will set you up for long-term fulfillment, whatever that means for you.
Why The ESR Model Is Just As Important As Customer Satisfaction:
There is plenty of research that suggests that some managers are the worst type of bullies in the workplace. No wonder more and more people are leaving their jobs, are increasingly unhappy, burnt out and dissatisfied. This leaves Gen-Yers moving around too much, from one job to the next.
Some managers are so hardwired to believe customers to be the only asset that is important to a company. “As long as the customer is happy,” they say. The fact is, employees and their satisfaction are equally as important. Why?
1. It reflects on the company. If the employees are happy, they perform better, are more punctual, treat customers better and maintain more enthusiasm.
2. Customers are put off by tension between staff — and they do sense it.
3. When employees are stressed, they tend to take it out on customers.
4. Word of mouth spreads quickly. It is one of the strongest means of marketing, and not just limited to the consumer, but to employees and staff, too. If employees are unhappy, they will talk, which effectively spreads and reaches the consumer and potential customers, too. Ultimately, this affects reputation.
The problem is that managers and bosses place their staff at the bottom of their priority lists. They don’t see how their approaches toward staff reflects poorly on their company and directly impacts their own reputations.
Don’t Let One Rotting Apple Ruin The Whole Basket:
My husband and I stopped going to our local café because the lovely barista used to openly get bullied by one of the managers, so he left the job and now, the mean manager makes the coffee.
Customers can see what is happening. It’s not a good look, no matter how good someone is at what he or she does. What attracted us to the café in the first place was this one lovely, always smiling barista.
Whenever the mean manager is away, the café has a great energy. It’s amazing how one rotten apple can contaminate a great place.
Photo credit: Red Bull