By Ben Henry

In a landmark study - described in their book Corporate Culture and Performance - John Kotter and James Heskett found that: 

"Firms with cultures that emphasized all constituencies (customers, stockholders and employees) and leadership from all managers outperformed firms that do not have those cultural traits by a huge margin. Over an 11-year period, the former increased revenues by 166 percent versus 68.2 percent for the latter; expanded their workforces by 282 percent versus 36 percent; grew their stock price by 901 percent versus 74 percent; and improved their net incomes by 756 percent versus 1 percent."

For years, I have been preaching that happy employees make happy customers. According to an old Chinese Proverb, "If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain ... If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees ... If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people." It is critically important for organizations to enhance employee value. This is done by training them well, motivating them and then rewarding them. The end result of this is as follows: 

Employees don't really want much, you know. What they want is what managers and supervisors also want - to be treated with respect; to be trusted; to have a say in things. They want to learn and grow; to be recognized when they perform well; appreciation; enough money to take care of themselves and their families. They want to have self-esteem, to feel good about themselves, to feel good about their company, to feel good about their job. They want to be treated in such a way that there is no cause for complaint. They want to have the tools to carry out their work in the most efficient manner. They want to know how they are doing. According to one writer, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." They want to know their strengths and weaknesses. They want to get the training to enable them to be the best they can be.

They want to be given a friendly greeting by their supervisor/manager every day. They want to be listened to. They want to be treated fairly and consistently. They want to own their jobs and do not appreciate supervisors/managers hovering over them. They do not want managers discussing their performance with other employees. They want a performance appraisal meeting to be a developmental tool rather than a Spanish Inquisition.

They want up-to-date and accurate job descriptions. They want an orientation when they are hired. They want managers to catch them doing something right, and not only visit their work stations to chew them out when something goes wrong. They don't mind being criticized, but they want it done behind closed doors. They want their managers to help them see the end result of their work. They want their managers to let them make as many of their own decisions as possible. That's called empowerment - "letting go so that others can get going."

They want intra-departmental and inter-departmental cross-training opportunities. They want their organization to subscribe to an aggressive internal promotion programme. They want to be informed of how well the organization is doing.

The following are some of the characteristics of a good boss:

Someone who cares about his/her employees and their progress.
Someone employees can trust to teach and develop them.
Someone who supports them.
Someone who corrects them when they need it.
Someone who shows them how to do a better job.
Someone who recognizes and rewards their achievement.
Someone who keeps them informed about what's going on.
Someone who consults with them on decisions affecting their job.
Someone who trusts them by delegating real responsibility.

Just as customers have expectations, employees also have expectations. If organizations can recognize and deliver on the expectations of their employees outlined above, they will have created an organizational climate that will make the employees want to get out of bed in the morning, come to work on time and do the work right first time. The above is the stuff that creates significant emotional events for employees.

According to Ken Blanchard, "profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people". According to the landmark study done by Kotter and Heskett, "organizations that take care of their employees rather than only customers and shareholders do extraordinarily better than those organizations which leave employees out of the loop".