Thursday, April 26, 2012

Employee Passion Drives Results

Image courtesy of John T. Spencer
I've been recording episodes of Undercover Boss, and over the weekend I was able to catch up on a few of them. I won't summarize the episodes like I did in a previous post, but I will touch on a common theme that seemed to thread throughout the episodes I watched: employee passion. Except for a single employee highlighted in one of episodes, all of them had a real sense of pride, a sense of ownership in the business. I was truly impressed. The staff that the CEOs trained under weren't in high-paying or high-level jobs, and yet they wanted to make a difference for the business. How refreshing is that?

It is often said that customers buy from brands with which they align, whether that alignment is with the brand's purpose, the corporate social responsibility policy, or something else. Employees want to work for companies with which they are aligned, as well. That's where passion comes in. How can you be passionate about doing something or being a part of something you don't care about or that doesn't fit your values? Before I move on, think about this, as it relates to both customer and employee acquisition (and ultimately retention): Does your company clearly communicate (live up to) its brand purpose or brand values in everything it does?

I quoted Jim Collins in my last post earlier this week on employee experience, and I'll do it again here, but this time from Built to Last. He's talking about the type of people to hire; I believe the retailers in those three episodes have found them - and should hang on to them!

"Core values and purpose are not something people 'buy in' to. People must already have a predisposition to holding them. ... the task is to find people who already have a predisposition to share your core values and purpose, attract and retain these people, and let those who aren't predisposed to share your core values go elsewhere."

When employees are connected with your purpose and passionate about what they are doing and who they do it for, there is a real benefit: they are more focused (on what they do and on the success of the business), want the business to succeed, and will do anything to ensure it does.

There are other benefits, as well. These employees are...
  • Proud to be part of something bigger than themselves
  • Feeling a sense of ownership
  • Inspired, happier
  • Team players
  • More productive
  • Less likely to leave
  • More likely to recommend the company, which attracts new talent and customers
  • Willing to defend the company and its reputation
  • More apt to make suggestions to improve the business
Without a doubt, all of these benefits ultimately translate into a great customer experience, too.

The employees highlighted in the Undercover Boss episodes I watched offered suggestions on how to make the business better, and subsequently, to grow the business. Does your company value and appreciate that type of input and innovation from employees? Does your company have employees who are that passionate about the brand?

Ken Blanchard said: "Remember, people who feel good about themselves produce good results, as well as people who produce good results feel good about themselves."

The bottom line is: that's a win-win-win scenario. Employees are happy >> Customers are happy >> Shareholders are happy.

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