Loyal employees should be valued

Long term staff are company assets

By Miawling Lam

Employees are no longer dispensable and should instead be treated as new customers.

This bold assertion has been put forward by Naomi Simson, founder and CEO of online gift retailer RedBalloon Days, who believes workers can almost wholly determine the success of a business.

The entrepreneur said it was vital that bosses changed their workplace attitudes and encouraged a deeper level of employee engagement if they wanted to be market leaders.

"Given the challenging economic climate, we have to start investing in our people because they are the ones who will carry us through for the upturn of the market," she said.

"Clever companies are investing in their employees and putting in place exciting incentive and reward and recognition programs (while) small businesses are capturing the hearts and minds of employees so they know what they are here to do and what they are good at."

In view of this, Ms Simson added that businesses should not overlook the benefits of continued investment in their employees.

She said while worker-centric programs were usually the first to go when businesses felt the financial pinch; abandoning such initiatives could affect employee morale and spark resignations.

"Employees are thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’ If you can ensure you have an employee-experience strategy in place, then you can leverage an understanding of what makes your employees want to stay or leave," she said.

"Engaged employees who feel passionate about their work and committed to their employer brand are less likely to leave an organisation."

Ms Simson cited recent US findings which revealed that one in two current employees were not completely satisfied with their jobs and an alarmingly 71 per cent were "poised" for another opportunity if it came along.

According to data collection agency The Gallup Institute, disengaged employees cost Australian businesses more than $32 billion each year.

As a result, Ms Simson said businesses needed to focus on building the employee experience.

She believed bosses needed to meet their workers’ expectations and foster emotional and rational attachments if they wanted to reduce the likelihood of having disengaged employees.

If they failed to do so however, companies would place themselves at risk of losing workers to rival businesses and the wider talent pool.

"There is enough evidence to prove that organisations that look after their people have great competitive advantage and market value," Ms Simson said.

In doing so, the self-proclaimed chief experience officer believed workers would not only take more pride in their work but, but would also become living, breathing advocates for the company and its ethics.

"Ultimately, loyalty will come from people who believe in what you believe," she said.

"This is true of employees too – we must employ people who believe what we believe and why we do what we do."

"If people inside your company don’t believe what you believe, then how could you get people outside the business to believe?"

The Sunday Telegraph.

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