To Keep Good Staff - Look at How You Keep Good Customers.
By Peter Nicholls ~ Director of Work Leisure International.
Thursday, 17th April 2008
"The whole ultimately depends absolutely on the co-operation and integration of the parts." This quote, referring to the eco-system on which the growth of nature depends, is also a sound basis for the growth of any business enterprise.

Who are the people in a business system? Basically it incorporates:

  • all of the people working in the organisation and
  • the customers - actual and potential - for whom the organisation exists to serve.
Most managers think of the people in their organization in terms of what those people do and produce at work. I see staff in the workplace very much as whole people - human beings who see work as important but not as important as their private lives. Clearly then, if you want to keep good staff, you need to think of them in terms of their personal lives and wants as well as what they do at work.

You might say, it's a bit much to expect managers to worry about what staff do in their private lives…and anyway, its none of management's business. Well…yes and no. Prying into staff's private matters is certainly not on. But everything affecting staff performance at work is very much a concern of management. Life outside of work very definitely has an impact on the level and quality of work performance.It follows, therefore, that what people do in their private life is an important part of the whole on which the success of the business system absolutely depends.

So what should a manager do? Let's take a look at the needs of the other vital part of the whole system - the customers for whom the business exists. We know customers buy according to their emotions, before they consider price. In terms of the quotation that opened this article, the whole on which the success of your business depends includes the co-operation of the customer. Without totally and absolutely incorporating the customer's wants into the development of the organisation's products and services, there is no business to run. In researching your customer's needs you will be concerned with their human emotional needs and wants. The customer's work-related circumstances will usually have little bearing on the sale.

When you think about it, everybody is at some time a seller and sometimes a buyer. Irrespective of whether your people are selling goods in their working life or buying goods in their personal life, they tend to put their emotional needs ahead of price. This latter point is becoming increasingly evident in negotiations to attract good staff.

If you want to attract and keep the best people, look at the way you treat your best customers. Do your market research on the emotional needs of your staff, their personal aims and goals and how best the organization can integrate those needs into the workplace culture, or ‘the way we do things here'. Treat them as human beings and not as workplace commodities. Sell the emotional benefits of working for you. It'll be the best sale you ever made. 

About Author:

Peter Nicholls, Director of Work Leisure International, www.workleisure.com  Peter has long passionately believed that the work ethic has a lot to answer for, not because it emphasised the importance of work but because it demeaned leisure as being unimportant and even wasteful. His 30 years of professional work in recreation/leisure development proved to him many times over that a passionate personal interest adds mightily to a person's personal growth and development, generating a ripple effect into all areas of their life, including their work.
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