I have a specific focus today that I want us to try to focus on. I thought it would be a good idea now that we’re winding down on 2010 for you to reflect on this year. I wanted to ask your thoughts, as you look back on 2010 in particular, what would you say are some of the more interesting issues that you found leaders and managers dealing with this year?
It’s a super question. Although there has been a wide spectrum of things I’ve been working on there are two things that come to mind right now that seem to be sort of a pattern emerging that I see over and over again.
The first one is, in the last 8 or 10 conferences I’ve spoken at and been at, I’ve heard manager and leader after leader after leader talk about the fact that they are very afraid that once the economy turns around, that they’re going to lose their best people. They’ve treated them poorly. They’ve pushed them too hard. They haven’t given them a raise. They haven’t motivated them.
They’re afraid that at the first opportunity to go someplace else, that they’re going to have talent running out the door which is unbelievably surprising to me because now more than ever is when you should be treating your best people even better.
It’s shocking to me to hear leaders admit, we haven’t been taking very good care of our people. We hope they don’t leave. My answer to that is you better start taking much better care of your people right now.
That’s why I’ve been spending a ton of time on employee engagement, on winning cultures, on levels of accountability. These have been topics that people have wanted to talk about over and over again. Number 1 is this big fear, I’m going to lose my best people when the economy turns around. That sort of dovetails well into number 2 which is we’re not going back to normal.
I did a video, a brief podcast in early 2009 when the recession first really sort of started to kick in about the new normal and that we weren’t going to go back to business as usual. I just pulled that up the other day and looked at it and it’s nearly two years old and it still is relevant today.
So I think a lot of businesses are realizing they’re going to have to change the way they play the game. There are new rules to the game and they’re going to have to figure out how to do that if they want to win in the game of business.
Obviously what’s surprising to you when this whole talent issue has come up specifically because it kind of leads off of what we’re going to talk about here. I’m actually pretty mesmerized to hear that. When you consider what’s happening in the world, I would think that it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that my most precious resource of any company large or small are my people.
You would think not. That’s why it was so shocking. When you ask me it was such a big thing for me because I’ve been doing a lot of work on employee engagement this last year. I’ve been doing a ton of research on it. Research study after study after study clearly shows the number one factor that drives highly engaged and highly satisfied customers is highly engaged to highly satisfied employees.
That if your people are happy, if they’re excited, if they’re motivated, if they enjoy the work, if they’re engaged in their work and they’re engaged in the organization what they do is they create great customer relationships and those customer relationships is what drives higher market share, higher revenues and higher profitability.
So it makes sense that taking care of my people that take care of customers which is why it’s so shocking to me when I see companies saying you know we realize we have not been taking very good care of our people for this last year. We’ve been beating them up pretty hard. Part of me says, that’s probably the reason that your revenues, profitability and market share are all plummeting.