Who should matter more to your organization – the customer or the employee? It is a never-ending question that has troubled many managers and leaders for a long time.

However, the question becomes much easier to answer once you ask yourself, which is more integral to helping your organization reach its mission and achieve its vision. Most leaders end up favoring the customers because, ultimately, they are the ones that bring the money in. At the same time, employees only take it out through their salaries, benefits, and use of assets and resources.

However, it’s not as simple as that, because you know that profits won’t come in unless your employees do their job well. Your bottom line matters, and you rely on your customers’ money to help you stay out of the red. But how do you get your customers to do business with you without employees that help keep your company running? Now, we’re back to the problem at hand, aren’t we?

That’s precisely why it is my firm opinion that a leader shouldn’t ask themselves this question, because both matter. With that in mind, as most already highly appreciate their customers, we should discuss why you should do the same with your employees as well.

 Why Employees Matter as Much as Customers

When customers are unsatisfied with your service, they will spread the word – especially with so many having access to the Internet and social media which allows anyone to have a platform to voice out their opinions. However, companies forget that their employees can do the same. If they are extremely unhappy with their job, they will also complain. And their complaints can be as influential and far-reaching as those of the customers, sometimes even more so.

Customer satisfaction matters, but unless your employees aren’t equally satisfied, they won’t give their best to ensure that same customer satisfaction. When customers don’t like a service or downright hate the brand, it’s rarely because of the product or the service itself. The usual culprit is how your employees treated them. Unless you value your employees, you cannot expect them to value your customers or your company.

Employees matter, and so does their work environment. A toxic environment has far-reaching negative effects on the way your brand and your workplace is perceived. You can lose out on countless top talented professionals if you have a workplace that doesn’t promote collaboration, productivity, transparency, and safety. They’ll simply move to work for your competitors.

Happy and fulfilled employees can serve your company in a myriad of innovative ways. They can create breakthrough solutions that will move your company forward. Unless you value them, they are unlikely to appreciate your organization enough to work on improving it. They will merely work to fulfill their primary tasks, and nothing more.

Employees are the only real connection between leadership and customers. If that link is weak, the whole chain falls apart, and the entire organization suffers.

The Bottom Line

The next time you ask the question of who is more important to your company, just stop. End this way of thinking of who matters more and start to treat your employees the way you treat your customers – with equal respect and appreciation. You’ll quickly realize what a major positive impact this has on your entire organization.

This raise the natural question. How do you ensure your employees are engaged and focused on the right work? The answer may not feel intuitive but it is critically important. Employee engagement begins and ends with the manager of the employee. Good managerial leadership will drive employee engagement. And higher levels of employee engagement are directly related to better performance. Whether you are the owner, and executive, a director or managing at the front line, you need to manage!

And if you need any more help or advice, feel free to reach out to Effective Managers.