Wednesday, June 15

Valuing the Customers, Shareholders and Employees

There are 3 main groups of people associated with any business, namely the customers, shareholders and employees.

However, the order of importance in most companies are
Shareholders > Customers > Employees
And rightfully so.

Shareholders are the owners of the business, and why do they start a business? To make INSANE amount of money, of course. So they naturally want (and need) to take their own interest in the first place.

And what better way to make the shareholders happier by being customer oriented? Companies come up with tailored solutions and products for the customers, regardless of how much effort it takes.

And that's where the problem lies. Employees are treated as the bottom of the company hierachy (never mind how much companies keep emphasizing that employees matter). And they are forced in most cases, to do the stuffs to satisfy the customers' needs, even if they don't sound logical.

Flexibility is offered is keep the customers, but often not offered to employees, despite all the work-life balance that the Human Resource Department will preach.

In contrast, Richard Branson (my idol), owner of the Virgin Group reverses the cycle.
Employees > Customers > Shareholders

Employees's needs are addressed first. After all, these are the guys who are giving up a huge portion of their lives (no doubt in exchange for the company's salary) to help the company grow. Happier employees are more likely to be better workers, stay around longer, and be able to treat the organisation like a family, than just purely a workplace.

As employees are empowered to make decisions, they become smarter and more adaptable with addressing the customer's needs. They don't have to consult their superior for every single thing - they may make mistakes, but they become better with each mistake made.

With happy, empowered and smart employees, the customers are better served. Satisfied customers lead to better sales and thus reaping more value to the company, and thus shareholders, the "least important" people in the company, are laughing all the way to the bank!

About the Author: Shingo T never fails to get amazed at how the Virgin Group pays lesser salary than its competitors, and yet so many people want to work for it.


Twilight said...

They have a smarter boss who gives out hidden perks.

HappySurfer said...

Reminds me of Zappos.

Bananazą®‡ said...

Heard my ex-CEO said instead of a win-win situation he coined it win-win-win. Employees win, Customers win, Shareholders win.

autumnresonance said...

we were at the level of satisfying every customer's needs (AND whims!) previously, now SLOWLY moving towards less of that and more of not-sure-what =.= at least we don't get 'nagged' for going back on time now =.=

wenn said...

it's so true..employees first!

Mei Teng said...

"....Virgin Group pays lesser salary than its competitors, and yet so many people want to work for it".

That's why I always believe no one is irreplaceable or indispensable. Companies can always scout for new talent and possibly at a fraction of the cost! ;)

7-8 said...

Yeh, so would you want to work for Virgin? I think not right?

MKL said...

Great post, bro! Wish my company would be treating the employees as well as Mr. Branson. In Taiwan employee is sometimes seen as just a placeholder you can always exchange. And many companies go downwards, who do that too often. It's sad, especially in the IT industry.

Netster said...

Great post bro! I am having a company like this... my own company.

hahahaha :)

people first

Shingo T said...

Hi Friends, really appreciate all your comments. Every comment gets delivered to my email, so I read through every single one of it.

But I will not reply every single one out of obligation, just those that I have something to add on, or if you are asking me something. Hope you understand. ^_^

Virgin remains my dream company, the other being Google. Chasing endlessly for better paying jobs have never excite me.

Taiwan companies have alot of similarities as Singapore companies. After all, why do people start businesses? To make money of course. =p

Your guys are lucky to have you as the boss. Which email do I send my resume to? Haha.

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