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How Would I Recommend Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

NPS® has popularized the importance of looking at the customers’ willingness to recommend as a key indicator of a positive customer experience that drives business growth.  The thought process has extended to the workplace with many businesses focusing on eNPS or the employees’ willingness to recommend a company as a place to work.

But employees have multiple vantage points.  It can be very instructive for a business to understand how its employees view the business from each of these vantage points.

Recommend as a Place to Work

We can start with the most obvious; employees recommending the business as a place to work.  I will actually spend the least amount of time on this topic since it is already so well researched and discussed.  A wealth of studies has shown the relationships between employee engagement (as evidenced by their willingness to recommend as a place to work) and performance, including delivering quality service to customers, market growth, and customer retention.   In addition, a well-developed reputation as a great employer can serve a business on multiple fronts:

  • It’s easier to recruit top talent when a company has a reputation for being a great place to work. This advantage becomes particularly important when unemployment is low as it currently is making recruitment more competitive.
  • Increasingly, customers are looking at more than the products and services that a company offers and considering the broader social impact of the companies they do business with. Given a crowded marketplace, customers can afford to look beyond quality and price and consider other factors such as how well a company treats its employees.

Recommend as a Place to Do Business

But employees see more than just how the business treats its employees.  They also have a vantage point on how the business treats its customers.  Indeed, in B2C industries, employees are often customers themselves.  But whether or not they actually purchase from the company, they see what goes on in the metaphorical kitchen (or in the hospitality industry, the actual kitchen).  They can see into areas such as research and development, production, marketing, sales, and service.  Employees’ assessment of the value that the company is or is not delivering to the customer can help set priorities and identify weak links in customer experience delivery.  This is not to say that the employee view is a replacement for the customer view, but rather a supplement that can provide unique insights into how to deliver a better customer experience.

Recommend as a Place to Invest

A business may be delivering a great experience to its employees and customers, but that does not necessarily mean it is a well-run business.    Is the business innovating to stay ahead of the competition?  Is it managing costs effectively?  Has it made the right investments in technology, people, or infrastructure?   Again, employees can have unique insights into strategy, production, support, and financials.  From where they sit, is this a business that can compete effectively today and in the future?

By leveraging the insights from employees, businesses can help identify opportunities to improve from a business performance perspective whether it is cost over-run or innovation.

Recommend as Good Partner in the Community

Finally, employees have a perspective on how well their employer actively participates in improving the communities in which they do business.  As mentioned above, in a crowded market, customers are increasingly looking at every aspect of the companies they do business with rather than the just price, goods, and services.  Consumers demand more.  They want a responsible corporate citizen.  Employees who are engaged with their employers in making their communities better are going to feel better about their jobs.  Moreover, they can amplify the message to customers and prospective customers.  It’s also a good test for companies – if you cannot get the message out to your own employees about the difference you are making socially, it’s a safe bet that you are not effectively communicating it to the public at large either.

Conclusion

Your employees have multiple vantage points from which to view the company.  Being seen as a good place to work is critically important but it’s not the only insight your employees have to offer.  It’s not that important how you ask the question – although recommend can be an easy way to ask the question.  Rather it is important to understand how your employees view the company as:

  • A good place to work
  • A good place to buy
  • A good place to invest
  • A good partner in the community

Their insights can be invaluable and succeeding on each of these criteria ultimately drives better business performance.