Customers come first. Or do they?

In a recent interview, Derrick Hall, president of the Arizona Diamondbacks major league baseball franchise, shared his philosophy on building a strong culture for his organization.

“Culture is a top priority of mine,” Hall said. “The customer does not come first. The employee comes first. If we recognize, reward, promote, develop our employees, they in turn are going to treat our fans the way they should be treated.”

It may sound counter intuitive, but at Harmony Crew we couldn’t agree more. Unhappy, unappreciated, disengaged employees aren’t going to delight their customers.

They may want to delight them. They may try to delight them. But your employees are people first. And people don’t leave their emotions at the door when they come into work. How they feel at work – how they feel about their work – dramatically affects how they perform, which directly and indirectly impacts customer delight at numerous levels.

But what does it look like to put your employees first? Does it mean that you need to turn your break room into a lounge? Buy a ping-pong table? Offer massages and M&Ms.? Not necessarily.

True, sexy perks and incentives can help make you an attractive employer. But let’s face it – Google isn’t a great place to work because of the free lunches and beanbag chairs. It’s the trust and engagement that permeates the culture and puts them at, or near, the top of Fortune’s List of Great Companies to Work year after year.

This ranking, which is largely influenced by employee surveys, is earned because Google has created a work environment that unifies employees around a deeper meaning and supports their holistic needs. Above all, Google’s commitment to transparent and real-time communications is key to their success because it helps nurture that values-based, engaged culture. And engagement is the number-one driver of breakthrough performance.

Why is this good news for you? Because organizations can adopt and embrace values, trust, behavior changes, and effective communications, regardless of their size or industry. You don’t need to be a major league baseball team or a tech giant to rewire your organization for high engagement. You just need long-term commitment to creating and nurturing an enriching, purpose-drive workplace that feels good.

Clearly such commitment pays off. Research shows that organizations with highly engaged cultures generate on average three times the revenue of those with neutral or disengaged cultures. Those employers know that when you put your employees’ needs first, they’ll go above and beyond to delight customers.

If you’d like to learn more about more effectively engaging your employees, we invite you to give us a call. Harmony Crew is here to help!

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