By Bernadette T. Vadurro, CSP
Several recent studies demonstrate a direct correlation between how an organization treats its employees and how its employees in turn treat the organization’s customers. Top performing organizations, such as General Electric, Disney, Southwest Airlines and Intel understand this correlation well. In these organizations, managers, team leaders and supervisors go the extra mile in creating an organizational culture that nurtures its employees. Employees who feel respected, valued and cared about by management are apt to demonstrate high levels of commitment and increased productivity.
For example, Intel employees are given significant benefits: paid sabbaticals after seven years of service, paid educational leave, generous compensation packages, etc. Intel employees are most often passionate and dedicated in their work, as well as open to new and improved work methods.
Several innovative organizations are showing new ways of demonstrating commitment to employees. These companies stock the refrigerator with free drinks, allow extremely flexible work schedules, allow work teams to organize themselves and determine their own project priorities and deadlines. Further, some organizations designate every day as a dress down day, allow employees to bring their pets to work (which has shown to reduce stress) offer take home meals, provide onsite lap pools and/or recreational facilities. According to a Fortune magazine article entitled “Welcome to the New Company Town” one such company reported that for every $1.00 spent on employee services, it yielded $1.75 in increased employee productivity. Other companies enjoy such benefits as exceeded deadlines, larger profit margins and lower staff turnover.
While working with a small genetics organization on leadership development, I found employees suffering from Internal Customer Service Withdrawal (I.C.S.W.) The Company had just been bought out. The employees of this small but extraordinary company previously had enjoyed many internal perks, such as flexible work schedules, onsite day care, and frequent training programs. One by one these programs began to disappear. Interestingly enough, it was only when the new management decided to stop providing free coffee, herbal tea, hot cocoa and soups that employees felt utterly betrayed. The employees’ viewed this ultimate act as the new management’s lack of commitment to its employees. Within two years of the buyout, the organization lost a substantial number of its brightest employee and innovation of product development was down, and profits had flattened.