Are your employees making or breaking your success?
I’ll paint you a picture you will immediately recognize if you have worked remotely close to the retail or client services industries. As you or may not know, most of these businesses are designed in a top-down management model. More often than not, it goes something like this: marketing or sales or management departments at the headquarters send their instructions to the different points of sale, boutiques, shops, on how to do the job.
What is great with that system is that it allows the retail teams to benefit from the expertise and research from a whole team of professional marketers, giving them rules and guidelines, best practice tips, and promotional material to help them reach the company’s objectives. But like everything in life, nothing is perfect. Top-down management has its flaws. And one is particularly harmful to retail businesses.
No matter how good your management and internal communications are if you do not listen to your employee’s feedback, concerns, and inputs, there is a strong chance that they develop resentment, lose respect for the company, and basically, hate you.
Seeing all the inconsistencies and conflicts in the procedures you feed them, they no longer respect you as a manager/corporation for missing out on those opportunities. As human beings, they generally do not enjoy to be completely discarded as well. They end up not wanting to give their best work for you.
King of harsh, isn’t it? But, hey, they don’t hate you. They hate the fact that their company doesn’t listen to them. For a person to feel fulfilled professionally and motivated, she needs to feel useful, and listened, and involved. If they feel like you don’t care about them, they won’t care about you, it’s just that simple.
What’s the point of having a killer brand and amazing products if your employees – your own brand ambassadors – are feeling neglected and hit the brakes on your success? If your management’s processes do not allow your front-line employees to feel like they have an impact and that they matter, maybe you should reconsider your strategies…
It’s sad because…
As a veteran of client services, I personally communicated this concept to previous employers. Never have I got a satisfying response. At best, some kind of, “Yeah but it’s not your job to worry about this.” or “There’s nothing we can really do, it comes from the head-office”. And at worst, something along the line of: “You don’t have to like how things are done here, what do you know about managing a brand/product/service?”
It’s stupid because…
Bottom of the pyramid employees may not have all the management/marketing knowledge and expertise – has many retail jobs are occupied by part-time students or need a lower level of education. But those employees talk directly to your customers every day. They interact concretely with your brand and conduct its interactions with its audience E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y. Do you?
The feeling you get while engaging with a real-life person will always be stronger than the one you would get when reacting to an ad. Or to the product itself. Or to the boldest of promotions. So let me ask you, why on earth would a company dismiss its employees’ concerns, and spend millions on building a brand while slowly but surely destroying their image towards their own employees?
The moral of the story is as simple as it should be. Cherish the people who devote their time and resources for your company, and they will become your strongest assets.