Employee Interaction

Why You Should Speak to Employees Like They are Customers

The other day I sat across from a CEO who during our meeting, called their employee in to bring them some paperwork. When the employee arrived the CEO (who has worked with this employee for more than a decade), made a snide remark to the employee about how the paperwork should have already been available for her to reference.

As I observed the employee’s face it was clear that the comment, although meant as harmless, was not taken as it was intended.

What do you think will happen now when the employee leaves the office? How will they interact with other employees? How will they speak to customers?

You see, although the employee may be used to the CEO making these kinds of comments and remarks, the influence they have colors what the employee believes to be acceptable ways of speaking to and interacting with others while at work. Although they may seem significant, these beliefs can be further exacerbated by the mood of the employee.

Picture for a moment that in the situation I described above the employee has just left home following a disagreement with their spouse or partner. How will this interaction shape their attitude for the remainder of the day?

Unfortunately for any CEO or executive, getting comfortable with employees and believing that you can speak to them in a manner that feels appropriate. The reasoning is quite simple. As an effective CEO or executive you are always on camera, and the image you portray (which includes how you speak to and interact with others) sets the tone for the rest of employees as to what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

So how can you make this shift, particularly with long-term employees around whom you might believe that you can “be yourself?” Treat them as if they are customers.

By staying on your toes when it comes to interacting with employees, you constantly demonstrate the positive, can-do attitude that you expect employees to have.

We’ve discussed in previous posts how employees across the organization can contribute to the customer’s experience. Consider that in order to ensure this experience is positive, you must constantly demonstrate these types of behaviours and attitudes that you expect them to use when interacting with customers.

If you are seeking more ideas on how to be a more effective CEO, grab a copy of my latest book Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition, now available on Amazon.

© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.

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