Don’t leave your employees out of the profitability equation
After reading the article “The New Customer: Our Greatest Assets” from Staffing Industry Analysts, it made me think about my own experience in corporate America and the staffing industry specifically. And how making an employee feel like a person and not just a number has impacted my perception.
The article puts emphasis on being personable and relatable as an employer. And suggests focusing more on the true “employee experience” and less on key performance indicators (KPIs). In staffing, we love our KPIs – fill rate, number of starts per week, interview to hire ratio, gross margin, etc. I could keep going, but I won’t. It’s what drives the business, but should it?
Research has shown time and time again that great customer experience leads to revenue growth. And many leaders only see the connection between KPIs and profitability, leaving the employee out of the equation entirely. But with the changing attitudes of today’s workforce, we need to rethink the employee experience and how it impacts the bottom line.
Debunking the KPI myth
Being personable and relatable are qualities that many companies strive for but tend to fall short of. Why? Because at the end of the day, high performance is viewed as what makes companies profitable, leading many employers to treat their employees like commodities.
But that’s not necessarily true. Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently conducted a study with 1,000 brick-and-mortar retail stores across the United States to test this theory. They asked the question: do the customer-facing employees — all else equal — affect revenue and profits?
The results were telling. HBR said, “Not only were we able to establish a clear link between employees and revenue, but the impact was substantial. In fact, if an average store could move from the bottom quartile to the top quartile in each of the employee experience metrics we studied, they would increase their revenue by more than 50%, and profits by nearly as much.”
This goes to show companies that perform well on employee experience metrics also tend to perform well on customer experience metrics and revenue follows.
How Covid changed the employee experience
When Covid hit, it caused almost all of America to work remotely. And during that time, many people felt like they were being overworked and undervalued. There are many benefits to working remotely, but at the same time, it allowed managers to cross boundaries and have their employees work longer hours and demand more.
In my jobs prior to Synergis, I can honestly say, I felt overworked most days. I felt like if I wasn’t online 10 hours a day that my boss would think I wasn’t working. Or that I wasn’t working hard enough.
According to a recent study by Ernst & Young, 54% of workers left their job because their boss wasn’t empathetic to their struggles at work, and 49% said employers were unsympathetic to their personal lives during the pandemic. This employer attitude of putting the work first contributed to the “Great Resignation” as people re-evaluated their lives and many times simply got burned out.
A 2021 McKinsey report of 5,770 employees surveyed also found that 40% of respondents who quit their jobs in the previous six months left without having a new job. That’s telling. Employees have just had enough.
As an employer, what can you do?
Focus on your employees first. A job is no longer a means to an end. You spend most of your time working, so people are realizing – after dealing with a deadly pandemic for 2+ years – that they want to actually enjoy their work. And a big part of being happy at work is the environment created by leadership. Some areas to start in:
- Mental health benefits
- Work-life balance through hybrid or remote work
- Flexible work arrangements
- Ample paid time off
- Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
At Synergis, I can honestly say the culture is extremely different than my past employers. The managers I work directly with have a true understanding of that work-life balance that most companies like to preach about but don’t practice. They have boundaries, still put emphasis on KPIs but are realistic and understanding. Being at this company and working with my colleagues has made me feel like I am a person again and not just a number. And isn’t that what we all want?
About the author
Sara Yousif serves as Talent Acquisition Manager for Synergis, working out of her home office in Charlotte, North Carolina. In her role, she’s responsible for developing talent acquisition strategies and hiring plans for our East and West coast hiring efforts. She is a builder of strong relationships having served in both sales and recruiting roles in her career. Sara graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys tennis, being on the water and organizing!
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