In the book Good to Great, Tom Peters talks about having the right people in the right seats in the bus. To have a high performance organization where the gears (employees) are moving in synchronous harmony is the desire of many companies.
Additionally, retention and development of human capital talent are part of the equation to build customer loyalty. Ferdinand Peich realized the importance of employees as a primary competitive strategy when he said: "if you fire people, you fire customers."
Maybe that is part of the reason for Toyota's recent decision to retain and not fire existing employees. The other part was rehiring and retraining was more expensive than retaining. With the economy slowing, this proactive response was truly innovative.
To create a high performance culture, it must be reflected on those pesky financials that are read each week, month and year. Somewhere, human capital talent must be shown as an investment and not a liability. The first step would be having a Chief People Officer sitting at the senior executive and management team with the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Technology Officer, the Chief Operations Officer and The Chief Executive Officer.
The failure to efficiently and effectively manage internal customers will probably be the quickest way for any company to find itself lagging far behind their competition. As goes the rule, those who truly wish to stay ahead of their competitors will do what they have never done before because they understand that the world is in a state of constant change now more than ever before.
Nationally, companies like Southwest Airlines set the example for maximizing their employees or their internal customers. Southwest Airlines continues to thrive in an industry where others are just surviving.
When many national to local Northwest Indiana companies are ignoring their greatest asset, Family Express of Valparaiso, IN understands the importance and value their employees bring to the bottom line. At Family Express, each new hire goes through an internal Family Express learning and development university.
Gus Olympidis, CEO, also understands that employees are responsible for those moments of truth (interactions between internal customers and external paying customers) that help to create customer loyalty. In a recent press release, Olympidis said "Family Express is about 'building relationships' with our customers."
Without highly trained and developed employees, building relationships becomes an arduous task and ultimately drains the bottom line. By investing up front, this company is saving fixed costs, increasing sales and improving profitability. His actions reaffirm the importance of human capital talent development and management.
So if you think that your firm is too small or is not "prestigious" enough such as Southwest Airlines, then look Family Express, a regional fuel and convenience store, where exceeding the customers' needs are first and foremost. All you are required to do is to change the way you think about your greatest asset – your employees.