When I started my small business, I was committed to treating my employees well.
As an employee, I’d worked for bosses who took their employees for granted, and I knew how de-motivating that could be. I knew that I didn’t want to be that kind of boss.
Even more importantly, in a small business, your employees are your business. Companies big and small have learned that when they focus time, attention and resources on their employees, their business thrives. But sometimes that message takes a while to get through.
“When you are growing a business, everybody spends a lot time talking about financial performance but financial performance is just the byproduct of having great people,” said Clint Carnell, CEO of a skin health company based in Long Beach, Calif., called HydraFacial.
Carnell credits much of the growth of his company, which counts celebrities including Taraji P. Henson and Cardi B among its clientele, to focusing on employees and building a vibrant corporate culture.
“Culture has been the thing that we’ve worked hardest to build,” said Carnell, who has also expanded the number of employees from 145 to about 450 since 2016.
HydraFacial teamed up with the business magazine “Fast Company” to launch “Glimpse” — a conference focusing on both employee and customer experience and satisfaction. Held in June in Las Vegas, Glimpse brought together some of the leaders in these areas.
One of them was Zappos, probably best known for their above-and-beyond customer service. But much of that customer-centric treatment actually comes from how they treat their employees.
“Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes and clothes,” is the way the company’s Audrea Hopper puts it. Hopper described Zappos’ core value to “Create Fun and a Little Weirdness” and how that contributes to building a highly dedicated team. According to Hopper, a specially dedicated “Fun-gineering” team supports the personality of the brand by creating experiences for employees and consumers alike with a one-of-a-kind “only Zappos would do that” attitude.
Even if your “employees” are independent workers in a gig economy business, treating them well can pay off big. New-York-based Glamsquad, for example, has grown to nearly 2,000 on-demand beauty professionals in six states who come to patrons’ homes or offices. Having used Glamsquad a number of times myself on business trips to New York, when I’ve had speaking engagements or special outings, I am a huge fan of the company, and I am not alone.
Glamsquad focuses on making careful hires, selecting “only one out of six applicants,” CEO Amy Shecter said.
Then, “We have a big party (for them) when we launch (in a city), monthly groups, master classes. We do focus groups with our beauty pros to see how we can improve. They have a sense of belonging,” Shecter said.
“Customers come second, employees first.” That’s what Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of many businesses has counseled. His huge success in building the “Virgin” brand of businesses attests to the wisdom of that approach. That’s why some of the companies that I, as a customer, try to be the most loyal too regularly earn Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work award.
Happy, motivated employees create loyal customers. And an unhappy employee can ruin the brand experience for many customers. If you want to build your small business, be committed to your employees, and they’ll help build your bottom line.
Rhonda Abrams is the author of “Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies,” the best-selling business plan guide of all time, just released in its seventh edition. Connect with Rhonda on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RhondaAbrams. Register for Rhonda’s free business tips newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com