Leadership Soup
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Leadership Soup

Why You Need to Make Employee Happiness Your #1 Priority

In Under New Management, David Burkus explains that we’ve all been taught that the customer is king, but the reality is that your employees are just as important to running a vibrant business. In fact, one can argue that employees should be your main concern. And don’t worry about your clients, they won’t mind if you focus on the people who work for you.

In fact, happy employees lead to happy and loyal customers. For instance, if you, as a manager, make certain that your employees love their jobs, they’ll be more motivated and therefore more likely to be friendly and engaging with customers.

Don’t believe this?

Well, it’s actually supported by research.

Stephen Brown and Son Lam of the University of Houston published a 2008 study that found that employee job satisfaction is closely tied to happy customers. Their research showed that the clients of happy employees perceived the quality of their service to be much higher and, interestingly enough, the correlation holds up even for customers who have little employee contact.

So it makes good financial sense to put your employees first. Because if you take care of them, they’ll do the same for your customers.


Well, the key to happy, committed, and creative workers is trust. That means you need to cut loose your rigid rules and avoid constantly checking up on your employees. After all, nobody likes being micromanaged.

Instead, set a few simple rules that allow your employees to use their common sense, and trust them to excel with this freedom. For example, Netflix has no standard working times and no vacation policy. This means their employees set their own schedules according to their workloads and are free to take time off at their own discretion.

And the same goes for travel expenses. The only rule there is to act in Netflix’s best interest. Amazingly, the result of this policy was actually a reduction in costs!

Not just that, but it produced more engaged employees who wanted to invest in “their” company and who were less likely to move on.

Related Video:

Wolter Smit passionately discusses the importance of how you hire great staff. But then also asks; what do you do once you have found them? How do you really bring to life company principles like freedom, trust and responsibility? How do you make sure your company is empowering your employees and providing a work environment where they feel cared about?



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Pushing 50. Survivor of 3 wars, child abuse, divorce, parenthood, several near death experiences, endless meetings, and one too many Saints heartbreak seasons.