Which of the three should receive a CEO's most immediate attention?
Because the surest way to build something strong and sustainable is to build it from the ground up. The building is ultimately supported by the bricks within its structure. Without properly laid bricks, the building will eventually require support from outside sources. And that can be expensive.
A strong economy requires strong companies; companies that are growing and profitable, and therefore able to hire more people to build (and design and market and support) more product to meet the demands of a growing customer base.
It's become common knowledge in business (though less commonly practiced) that the surest way to grow your customer base is by delivering an exceptional customer experience (product superiority coupled with ease, and enjoyment in doing business with the seller).
When customers love your product, and they love the ease, convenience and pleasure of getting it from your company, they'll come back again and again. And they'll further fuel your growth by influencing others to buy from you. It's a wonderful dynamic, if you can get there.
But how? That's where the bricks come in.
Everything that goes into what your customer gets out of your company - everything that impacts customer experience and customer loyalty - is produced by the people inside your company. If you take away the processes, and take away products, what's left are the employees. The employees ultimately drive the success of your processes, and the efficacy of your products. And here's where Engagement matters.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review cited the value in maximizing employee engagement and commitment. The Article presented "Five Ways to Retain Employees Forever." Those five include Responsibilty, Respect, Revenue Sharing, Reward and Relaxation Time.
I'd add a sixth "R" to that list: Relevance.
Every one of us has a deep need to feel relevant; we want to have true sense of purpose that's greater than the functions of the job that we're doing, a purpose to which our job is clearly linked.
It's the responsibility of the employer to (1) communicate the "greater cause" and (2) help each employee to understand the linkage between their job, and that cause.
My favorite example of this is a story of JFK's touring of the Houston Space Center back in the 60's:
JFK came across a custodian sweeping the floor in a hallway, and asked the man, "Tell me sir, what is it that you do here?"
Without hesitation, the custodian answered, "Mr. President, I'm helping to put a man on the moon."
We all need a sense of purpose that's greater than ourselves. If every employer can define that purpose, and help each employee to understand how their individual roles support that purpose, perhaps more employees would be more committed, and everyone would benefit: Customer, Company and Employee.
So if you're an employer that wants your company to beneft from a stronger economy, there are some things that you can do to help the cause. And on of those is to improve the level of employee engagement within your own company.
How Relevent are your employees made to feel?
What are some specifics that you can do to increase their sense of purpose, and hence the resulting loyalty from customers, and improvements in your growth and profits?