“When we think about how people work, the naive intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze” -Dan Airely
In the last ten years it’s become clear to larger companies and big brands that you can no longer communicate top down to your consumers. Whilst twisting your advertising in a way that will get people to hand over the cash may have worked in the 60s, it just doesn’t anymore.
The internet has evened the playing ground, and now there’s nowhere for the big companies (who used to get away with ripping customers off) to hide. As thousands of review sites gather millions of real and sometimes fake reviews (depending on your competitors) we find ourselves as businesses at the mercy of the consumer. Our products and services around the globe are under the spotlight, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
The result of this has been that larger companies have began to communicate on a deeper level with the consumer through a multitude of digital channels to ensure full transparency. Using brand storytelling, interesting content and engaging education, these big brands are starting to build REAL relationships with their customers. They are even going so far as to get consumers to generate the content they push out to other consumers and involve them in important company decisions like product creation.
Now, this is all fantastic- but it seems that some businesses still don’t understand that your employees are your consumers too. Without these employees you have no one to converse with your customers or carry out the work that in actual fact takes your “board-level business strategy” from theory to reality.
When you look at most businesses that are larger than 1000 people, each employee has an extremely specific role. Everyone is so compartmentalised down to their role titles that you can tell what an employees daily schedule is by reading their email signature.
What happens here is that these employees become so focused on the mundane everyday task (that they’ve most probably completed in the same way for the past 5 years) they have lost sight of the overall business goals. Or, even worse, they don’t lose sight because they never had the “right” to know these goals in the first place.
This high level corporate view that in order to get things done, your employees must work only to strict number-focused KPIs and deadlines and know only about the happenings in their department is outdated.
This approach is a huge detriment to the core of your business itself.
In a time where (thanks to the proliferation of information online) consumers and employees are much smarter and therefore more intuitive than ever, there’s no more room for secrets and closed doors.
Whilst you might think it’s of the utmost importance to maintain secrecy at a board level, there’s nothing more demotivating to a member of staff than the words “it’s above your pay grade”.
If you want your company to work- you need your employees to work as hard as they can, to get you to where you want to be. Unfortunately it seems that although companies are on the side of consumers, they seem to be missing the fact that your employees are people to, that need not only monetary compensation – but genuine gratification.
They are not numbers. They are living, breathing human beings. It is not just money to buy a new house or car that brings employees into the office everyday. As humans, everyone needs some kind of moral motivation to enable them to continue repeating the same tasks day in and day out.
In business there is an assumption the main motivation is money and we forget to ensure that employees also want to add meaning to their lives. I mean, who is going to work hard towards something when they can’t see or don’t know the end result?
The simple answer is- they’re not. This is why large companies are struggling. Focusing on how to increase their profits in the easiest way possible, they’re forgetting about the people who bring in the bacon.