With the growth of social media came the increased power of the customer voice. Everyone is now focusing on establishing strong, loyal relationships with their customers in order to create “brand evangelists.” Employees’ voices have enjoyed the same increase in power and should not be disregarded.
My good friend was recently fired from Lids in a less than respectable manner. Without getting into too many details, he was brought in as a store manager of a location that was experiencing very high rates of theft to try to reduce those rates. After a few months, the store was audited, and he was able to reduce theft by 30% which apparently was not enough. This store had no cameras, no sensors, and my friend worked on his own over 50% of the time.
They told him he was fired, searched his belongings before he left the store, and sent him on his way. The way my friend was treated was unfair. His story left a bitter taste in my mouth and got me to thinking about how important it is to treat your employees well in the age of social media.
One of the the hardest parts of establishing a presence online is the time commitment it takes to build strong and meaningful relationships. Once you have established a good amount of legitimate relationships, it becomes easier to build more, because customers trust their community members. Starting off however, this can prove to be a bit more difficult unless you already have strong, established relationships with community members. Your employees provide exactly that.
Your employees can be brand evangelists too and although some customers might assume a bias in their viewpoint, in an age of transparency they will be more inclined to trust their opinion.
If your employees are loyal, enjoy working for your organization and believe in the value of the services or products that your company offers, they will represent you well in online communities or they can help you establish your own communities. Well treated employees are employees that care and are willing to speak up for your company. If you treat your employees like crap on the other hand, you better hope they don’t have the internet.
What are your thoughts as employees / managers?