EC1 Capital

CEOs Should Treat Their Employees Like Customers

We all spend a lot of time trying to understand customer needs better. But how many of us actually apply the same methods to customers as we do employees?
Jack Huang Jack Huang Thu 6th Nov 2014 13:32
We've all heard the adage 'happy employees equal happy customers'.  
We all spend a lot of time trying to understand customer needs better.  But how many of us actually apply the same methods to customers as we do employees?
Given how important customer happiness is to our business, we decided to take the various practices from customer development and turn it on our team.  What motivates our employees?  What drives them? What gets them out of bed in the morning?  
How do we, as a company, create a better 'product' such that 'people' would want to work here?  How do we keep them eager to come back every morning or refer their friends?
We are still learning, obviously, and I'm sure there is no simple answer.  
But we asked and got some results.  We created a few simple surveys that asked a few simple questions:

1. What motivates you?  

We included 16 extrinsic motivation variables such as sense of higher purpose, team, learning, flexible work arrangements, working with smart people, culture etc. and asked people to choose their top 5.  (Note: 'Extrinsic' motivation are non-monetary based, separate from salary, bonuses or share options.  
Our top 3 results were:
- Learning (62%)
- Team (54%)
- Sense of higher purpose (48%)
The survey can be filled in anonymously, but we found that most people put their names in.  This has led to more granularity, which means we can target each person based on their exact motivational preference.  
We didn't stop there. We wanted to act on our new insight so we setup a series of learning workshops for people to learn from one another. Jury's still out on whether people like the format, but you can be sure we'll be surveying them again.
Next, we asked people what they thought using a simple Net Promoter Score model.

2) How likely are you to recommend TRULY as a place of work to friends and family?  (on a scale of 0-10) Take your percentage of 9s & 10s and subtract your percentage of 0s-6s.   

Most companies straddle on at about 10-20, and if you score in the 50-80 range, pat yourself on the back as you've created a growth engine (a lot more promoters than detractors).
We were pleased to see our employee NPS to be pretty similar to our customer NPS.

3) What else can we do to make you happier at your job?

An interesting insight here (which I certainly intend to improve on), was the fact some people thought that the 'creatives' and the 'analyticals' in the company should be thought of and managed differently.  And I agree!
Coming from a mental state where spreadsheets ruled the world, I admit I was less sensitive to the differences.  So seeing that feedback was a head-turner for me.  And we will be designing our performance reviews to take that further into consideration.
In short, the same passion, rigour and thought that a CEO puts into understanding customers should be applied to people inside the company.  And surveys aren't even necessary.  Regular informal chats are often better.  You just need to want to listen.

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