Do unhappy companies lose customers?

Monday, 5 february 2018 | Redacción CEU

Is it necessary to go to work with a gray cloud on the head? That is what thousands of people ask themselves while carrying out their workday in companies that neglect the employees motivation, mismanage times, create a hostile climate or, in one way or another, disregard the happiness of the workers who are part of them. Of course, not a single brand wants its employees to suffer from the burnout syndrome or that their best talents emigrate to another company. The job satisfaction of employees has a great impact on the productivity of any organization. In response to this premise, more and more organizations are betting on following strategies based on employees’ experiences or "employer branding". Are the happy companies really more profitable? Are business that do not care about the happiness of their staff losing customers?

 

If my employees' experience is not good, could my customers' experience be good? This is one of the big questions that have to be made by the companies' CEOs and the heads of the Human Resources departments that make them up. The professionals who work in the companies are also brand ambassadors. Nowadays, the image that companies project in their clients is everything. A bad review on Twitter can  become viral in a few minutes and have an effect on a sharp decline in sales. Why would the negative opinion of an employee in social networks or in the workplace not affect? Disciplines like marketing and HR are increasingly tightening their bonds. Both employees and customers are the company base, forgetting about them can lead to a serious problem in the medium or long term.

Why is it worth investing on happy workers?

It is sales season in the center of Madrid, Lidia who works in a small store specialized in accessories knows that this is a period characterized by the great influx of people, sometimes so much that it can be a little bit overwhelming. This saleswoman is angry because for the third time this week her company has changed the schedule without consulting and her manager does not confirm if her contract will be renewed yet. Julio, who comes to the store looking for a gift for her daughter's birthday, may not get the personalized advice that he expects, because although Lidia tries to be a professional, she is concerned about questions like how she will take her daughter to school tomorrow or where she can look for work if they do not renew the contract next week. In the case of physical stores, this personalized advice can make the difference facing the unstoppable growth of electronic commerce. In the same way that a demotivated shop assistant can scare customers, a satisfied worker can also make that Julio's purchase experience is unique, gratifying and satisfying.

There are numerous studies that suggest that there is a close relationship between the worker's happiness and productivity and, therefore, between the happiness and the profitability of the own companies. A Mexican consultancy even sets out that the good mood of workers can increase their performance by 88%. In sectors that are specialized in customer service, such as the retail world, this connection is even more evident because employees are responsible for offering the final product and perform direct sales to customers. If workers are dissatisfied, their commitment to the company and its performance decrease. The employees interact in a continuous and direct way with clients and they can perceive their displeasure, something that does not precisely incite  to purchase a product.

Workers are a great asset of the company, but the most important, not only in the retail sphere, but within any sector. Brands want to attract talent, but in order to achieve this, they have to take into account that they must also take care of the talent that they already have. A pleasant environment and adequate conditions can be a great competitive advantage. When someone talks about happiness at work, many tend to confuse job satisfaction with leisure, but they are two different things, it is not about putting a pool table in an office or organizing a monthly dinner –although it can be part of a program to improve the employee's experience–, neither stopping working. The main goal of the companies continues to be profitability and productivity, not happiness. However, companies can get benefits while employees are happy and be more effective as demonstrated by studies like Happy software developers solve problems better: psychological measurements in empirical software engineering.

Do unhappy companies lose customers?

Being a happy company does not scare customers!

CEO’s: do not throw up your hands! The happiest companies do not have to reach this state through a general rise in salaries. There are several specialists who agree that there are other issues like flexibility, conciliation or professional development that stimulate the good mood of employees. However, this will not be the case if salaries are precarious and are not suitable for the market and the degree of responsibility and risk faced by employees. What differentiates a happy organization from others is its people-oriented culture, the talent impulse and commitment encouragement and the integration of personal and business goals. Success follows happiness. The companies that invest more in human capital are the ones that obtain the highest profitability according to the statistics.

More than a big investment, the management of happiness at work requires a change of general mentality, Scandinavian countries even have a word to refer to this concept: "aberjdsglæde". Experts agree that in this new work philosophy it is important dissipating the uncertainty among employees –as Lidia has about the renewal of her contract–, promoting conciliation and flexibility, determining a clear course, sharing a vision, investing time to explain what it is and why it is important to get it, believing in it, providing a participatory environment where direct communication between employee and superiors can be established, focusing on the achievement recognition and not on the error punishment, encouraging innovative thinking, offering independence,  responsibility, and a fair treatment and getting to know the workers and promoting their development in the workplace.

Big companies are starting to bet on a new model of human capital management where they focus on the worker's experience within their workday. Brands are concerned about the likelihood of whether employees would recommend their organization as a workplace, the level of satisfaction and commitment of employees or what image of the company can employees offer outside their workday. Many also worry about the opinion that customers have about the professionalism of their employees, but what about their perception of their level of satisfaction? Happiness is a great feedback of the health of the company, customers like companies with happy workers.