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  • What Does Love Have To Do With Workplace Productivity?

    I’ll never forget my first marketing class in graduate school. My professor asked the class for the definition of marketing and we all attempted to give astute answers. I recall confidently answering with one of the most well-known, conventional definitions for marketing described as the four P’s (product, price, promotion and place) and was quickly knocked down for a more concise one: “Love your customers.”

    Admittedly, of all the lessons I learned in my MBA program, loving your customer is the one that has stuck with me most. Its wisdom is in its simplicity. It may sound corny, but “loving”  the source of your business and those who help make it happen is a secret to many businesses’ success.

    When you treat your employees and your customers with respect and make them a priority, they tend to reciprocate by being loyal and committed to your business. The most loving partner puts his loved ones needs first, speaks and thinks highly of that person, values her opinions, actively seeks out her approval and in every respect is extremely loyal.

    To quote my professor, “Without your customers you have no business so you need to know everything about them and consider all their needs as you would in a loving relationship.” The most important thing in making your business successful is to fill the needs of your customers and care about their feedback.”  A business is essentially reaching out to build relationships with its customers and the process is ongoing. Once a customer feels they’ve been neglected, ignored or even worse, mistreated, you may hurt the loyalty you’ve built and could risk losing the relationship altogether.  Business owners and managers need to stay abreast of their customers’ outlook and never take their loyal customers for granted. Nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business.

    Maintaining loyal customers by “loving” them also holds true for maintaining loyal employees. If you want to improve productivity and increase employee retention, get your employees to love you!  Yes, I said love you. Love in the sense that they are dedicated to your cause and mission, thinking of how they can pitch in so they earn your respect, and desirous of spending time at their workplace.

    Glassdoor’s recent study, A Guide to Retaining Employees: The CLIMB Method, found that:

    Employees want to climb the corporate ladder in order to gain greater success, and employers should help. They suggested these five easy steps in what they call the CLIMB method so that new heights of performance and value are achieved.






    1. Challenge. One of the top reasons employees quit is due to dissatisfaction with their job duties. If the employee starts a job that is different from that which was described during the interview process, or if a long-time employee becomes dissatisfied because they are not busy, the end result can mean leaving the company. One of the easiest and least used tactics is delegation. As a leader, it is often faster and more efficient to handle something yourself. This behavior is the worst option, though, especially when you have an employee who needs and wants greater challenges. By taking time to teach and demonstrate what you need from the employee, you are building a challenging work environment for the employee to show their skills. Research shows that Millenials crave job enrichment. Offering employees more learning opportunities will decrease the likelihood of losing them to another firm who offers more stimulating work and job enrichment.

    2. Loyalty. One thing you may have heard is that human resources took the “human” out of work relationships. While I don’t believe this is true, what is true is that employment laws that have been written and passed over the last forty years sometimes make people fearful of how much they can share at work. This often creates leaders who are cold and impersonal with their staff. One of the best ways to engage a staff member is to show your human side. Be sincere and honest as you share information with them. Additionally, provide feedback and recognition in a way that is meaningful to that individual. By being more personal with your staff, you will build the loyal relationship that is needed to increase the odds the employee will stay with your company.

    3. Investment. Does your company invest in your employees? Do you provide training for all employees? Do you enhance their benefit options or lead the competition in providing matching funds for 401K plans? A key way to retain your talented employees is by showing that you are willing to give time and money to build their skills or personal wealth.

    4. Measurement. H.R. analytics is top of mind for many HR professionals and business leaders today. Why? HR holds all the data on employees, and yet it is one of the hardest to obtain data due to lack of analytic tools. Whether it’s performance feedback, employee opinions, medical benefit usage or other data-based questions, employers need a way to collect this data in a timely and efficient manner if they are ever going to be able to analyze and use the results. As an employer, you need to do all you can to provide experiences that are not only based on measurement, but also provide opportunities so that people can be measured.

    5. Building. This may be the single most important step in retaining your top employees. Building is the way you not only look at their performance and value today, but it’s also the way you demonstrate your commitment to growing the team so that the existing superstar has opportunities to lead in the future.

    Many employers fail to recognize that it pays to develop strategies for retaining top talent as they invest a huge amount of time and resources recruiting employees.

    That seems to be the consensus according to a new survey by the American Management Association. They surveyed nearly 1,000 companies and discovered that most aren’t concerned about losing their employees. Here’s what they found:

    Many employees have expressed their intention to seek a new position. How do you regard such sentiments?

    69 percent: It’s nothing new for employees to keep an eye out for new opportunities, and I don’t regard the present situation as something unusual.  

    24 percent: This is a growing mind-set among our employees, and I expect many to seek a new job as soon as they’re able. 

    7 percent: This has become a prevalent attitude among our employees and an urgent issue our organization needs to address. 

    In your opinion, how urgent does your senior management regard the potential or actual turnover situation?

    9 percent: Very urgent

    30 percent: Somewhat urgent

    39 percent: Not so urgent

    22 percent: Not at all urgent

    The problem is, if you ignore the turnover situation, it will become urgent, and then you will be severely limited in who you can hire.

    Harvard Business Review examines how to motivate people and discovered that while we pay lip-service to the idea that people may have non-financial motivation for their work — acknowledgement, appreciation, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment and so on — we spend all our time working out how to incentivize our workforce with financial rewards. Charalambos Vlachoutsicos says, “In my experience by far the best way to motivate your employees is to find ways that they can take pride in their skills and their knowledge. When you do this, you very quickly discover that people stop being passive followers and start to share their insights and ideas. Instead of being loyal to their pay checks they become loyal to the company.” Taking an interest in your employees (by showing you are willing to give time and money to build their personal wealth) pays off in terms of building loyal employees who feel valued and therefore don’t want to leave… thereby reducing turnover.

    Great managers recognize that it’s their job to motivate their employees. They understand that the best way to lead, motivate and coach is to build a relationship with them. Communication is a powerful tool that leadership can use to create an environment that generates motivation. Fostering a strong relationship with employees parallels require that both parties believe that the other’s opinion matters, they have  mutual respect, and are committed to assisting the other person achieve success. Communication provides information, makes employees feel important and recognized, and provides the glue that binds a workforce with their leadership and their organization.

    “Communicate with transparency, authenticity, and clarity. Whether you have a scheduled morning meeting each day, make office rounds in the afternoon, or take your team to lunch, make it a priority to make time to talk to each and every member of your team on a regular basis. You may be busy, but, the truth of the matter is that you really can’t afford not to,” Gordon recommends. The most successful coaches and best motivators are those who develop meaningful relationships with their employees.

    Love for your work is obviously not the same as love in a romantic relationship but there are some parallels: A loyal employee is concerned with the business’s reputation and strives to spread good news about the firm. He shows appreciation for what the firm does for him and lets others know about his positive experiences there so the word often gets back to his manager.  The loyal employee works at enhancing the corporate culture, spends his energy seeking ways to better the business and is discreet in how he criticizes the firm. His main objective for criticism is to improve the firm and therefore he does it privately and strategically.

    It’s the opposite of a one night stand

    The firm who “loves”  their employees will provide training and mentorship for new hires and enrichment for those who stay with the firm.  Hiring managers invest their own time in building a good rapport with their new hires and treat them with dignity. They recognize that to get to their sweet spot, where they’ll be motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty, they need to consider their employees needs and find ways to accommodate them.

    Companies who both love their customers and who love their employees are ones who are most likely to be successful and cultivate an atmosphere of creativity, collaboration, innovation and progressiveness.  Here’s twenty examples of companies that excel in the love quotient and who serve as models to all business owners!

    Glassdoor just released its ranking of the 50 best companies to work for in 2013.  20 of these companies are tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Facebook. Glassdoor compiled a bunch of quotes from employees at these firms, explaining why they love working where they work so much.

    1. Facebook reaches about a seventh of the world’s population and gives every employee a chance to make a difference

    Company Rating: 4.7

    CEO approval: Mark Zuckerberg, 99%

    Employee Feedback:

    “The company’s leadership truly believes in Facebook’s mission to make the world more open and connected. Teams are small and have a lot of autonomy, and it’s amazing to see how much of a difference a single person can make at this place.” – Facebook Product Manager (Menlo Park, CA)

    “Everyone there has an opportunity to make an impact. Company moves very fast and prides itself on running lean. This means autonomy and opportunity for almost every employee.” – Facebook Sales Director (Menlo Park, CA)

    “This is the best place in the world to be. Environment is all about engineers. Benefits, management, direction, culture – all very very positive items about the company.” – Facebook Manager, IT (Menlo Park, CA)

    2. Riverbed Technology specializes in networks and networked applications

    Company Rating: 4.5

    CEO Approval: Jeremy Kennelly, 96%

    Employee Feedback:

    “The company is evolving and growing with a cohesive story while capturing market opportunities. Working with a bunch of smart people in an open and collaborative environment is thoroughly challenging, stimulating and enjoyable.” – Riverbed Technology Technical Staff Member (Cambridge, MA)

    “Management maintains the agility and sense of community from when Riverbed was a start-up even as it grows into a billion dollar business.” – Riverbed Technology Senior QA Engineer (Sunnyvale, CA)

    “Exciting place to work with a great culture. It’s great to see so many smart people pulling in one direction to get the job done.” – Riverbed Technology Product Marketing Director (New York, NY

    3. Google received its highest employee satisfaction ranking ever and has tons of great perks.

    Company Rating: 4.3

    CEO Approval:  Larry Page, 94%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Lots of perks and great work life balance! Google really cares about their employees and their products and it shows. It’s great to be a part of such amazing innovation, and having the opportunity to work with such great minds.” – Google Site Reliability Engineer (San Francisco, CA)

    “Google is very generous to its employees. Everyday it provides healthy and free food, drinks and snacks. There are lot’s of recreation and events inside Google. Employee’s satisfaction rate is also very high.” – Google Software Engineer (Mountain View, CA)

    “The people, the culture, and the constant innovation – makes coming to work everyday a fun routine.” – Google Account Executive (Chicago, IL)

    4. National Instruments has employee perks like on-site cafeterias and fitness centers

    Company Rating: 4.2

    CEO Approval:  James Truchard, 100%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “They put their employees first. When other employers lay off in droves, NI hangs on, relying on cash they have consistently put away for the inevitable economic recession.” – National Instruments Digital Hardware Engineer (Austin, TX)

    “NI provides great feedback to employees in a systematic way so you know that you are doing your job correctly or if you need to improve in any way. Parties and happy hours in the office are common place and it is very easy to become great friends with your coworkers here.” – National Instruments Software Engineer (Austin, TX)

    “A youthful company with large growth and opportunities in a city that is good to start a career in. The vision of the company is unique and the upper management understands the need to invest in people (especially R&D).” – National Instruments Staff Systems Engineer (Austin, TX)

    5. LinkedIn fosters a work-hard, play-hard culture

    Company Rating: 4.1

    CEO Approval: Jeff Weiner, 91%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “The growth has been crazy and things are fast and loose as we figure out new space and continue to execute. I love working with so many people who are also working their dream job. You can feel it when you come to work each day.” – LinkedIn Employee (Mountain View, CA)

    “Great people. Work hard/play hard culture. People care about each other. Nice facilities, free food.”  –LinkedIn Human Resources (Mountain View, CA)

    6. Rackspace management really cares about its employees and offers great perks like an on-site water slide

    Company Rating: 4.1

    CEO Approval: A. Lanham Napier, 98%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Engaging, employee-centric, tech paradise full of energy and taking customer-focused leading edge technology to new places.” – Rackspace Product Manager III (San Antonio, TX)

    “It’s a real joy to work with people that share your passion for service in conjunction with a love for technology. It’s by far the best place I’ve ever worked.” – Rackspace Manager (San Antonio, TX)

    7. Akamai fosters a competitive culture and surrounds its employees with the best talent

    Company Rating: 4.1

    CEO Approval: Paul Sagan, 91%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “People, Management, Technology, and Customers that you cannot beat combined with good pay for performance, work place flexibility, and driven culture for those who like to compete and win.” – Akamai Employee (Cambridge, MA)

    “It’s great seeing a company putting so much effort into getting the best talent. The people here are insanely smart, and the product set gives the company unique leverage to be successful.” – Akamai Senior Solutions Engineer (location n/a)

    8. Workday employees know how to have fun and produce great enterprise tools

    Company Rating: 4.0

    CEO Approval: Aneel Bhusri, N/A

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Workday is a company full of smart and dedicated people that work their butts off. I love coming to work and being around professionals that are willing to help each other and listen to each other.” – Workday, Inc. Principal Consultant (Pleasanton, CA)

    “Great resources, great people, great culture, and free bagels! There are lots of things to do with Workday, both at and outside of work. We have fun, and we produce. That’s the way it should be.” – Workday, Inc. Associate Software Engineer (Pleasanton, CA)

    9. Salesforce pays its employees incredibly well

    Company Rating: 4.0

    CEO Approval: Marc Benioff, 96%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Great compensation, energy and culture. Integrated philanthropy from day one of your job and most managers and teams encourage it throughout your career at the company. Always innovative and usually a safe space to take risks and be creative.” – Salesforce.com Employee (San Francisco, CA)

    “Great compensation, lots of mobility win the company, great coaches among sales leadership. Market leading products and relentless pace of innovation that addresses problems customers didn’t even know they had.” – Salesforce.com Account Executive (San Francisco, CA)

    10. Citrix Systems provides lots of opportunities for growth within the company

    Company Rating: 4.0

    CEO Approval: Mark Templeton, 96%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “The career opportunities are excellent. Citrix promotes from within the company this means that managers know and understand employees.”

    “Very flexible and good work ethic, the people here are super friendly and they actually care about their employees.”

    11. Orbitz Worldwide encourages its employees to do the right thing

    Company Rating: 4.0

    CEO Approval: Barney Harford, 87%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Fast paced environment full of A players. Employees get lots of opportunities to innovate. It’s the best hybrid of technology company and startup with a strong culture of “doing the right thing.” – Orbitz Worldwide Enterprise Architect (Chicago, IL)

    “Orbitz seems to do a lot of promoting from within, so there’s a lot of opportunity to grow and advance on both your team and in other departments in the company. Hard work is rewarded.” – Orbitz Technology Recruiter (Chicago, IL)

    12. Mitre fosters a collaborative work environment

    Company Rating: 4.0

    CEO Approval: Alfred Grasso, 84%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Very smart people, employees work together as opposed to competing against one another, valuable work, excellent work/life balance, great benefits.” – MITRE Lead Communications Engineer (McLean, VA)

    “MITRE has an extremely collegial atmosphere, where most employees are eager to help others. Education is highly touted and reimbursement is nearly unparalleled in this field.” – MITRE Senior International Tech Analyst (McLean, VA)

    13. Agilent Technologies encourages both professional and personal development

    Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Bill Sullivan, 76%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Excellent benefits, a pension plan (!), tremendous work/life balance, and generally very skilled and dedicated colleagues.” – Agilent Technologies Business Process Analyst (Wilmington, DE)

    “Professional and personal development are highly encouraged for all employees, even if beyond the scope of your current job function.” – Agilent Technologies Firmware Development Engineer (Santa Rose, CA)

    14. Intel provides lots of support for its employees

     Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Paul Otellini, 90%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Education and job support is very important at Intel, which is refreshing. People are always hard working and willing to support someone who has questions or new ideas.” – Intel Corporation Safety Engineer (Hillsboro, OR)

    “Great work life Balance. Lots of Freedom to challenge yourself” – Intel Corporation Business Analyst (Folsom, CA)

    15. Red Hat makes its employees feel like they’re making an impact

    Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Jim Whitehurst

    Employee Feedback: 

    “You get to work with the brightest people in the IT industry. Pay is not bad and you get to work with fantastic open source software.” – Red Hat IT Consultant (Phoenix, AZ)

    “I feel like I’m making an impact in the industry, and that my contributions are visible at an individual level.” – Red Hat Senior Software Engineer (location, n/a)

    16. Apple gives it employees great products to work on

    Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Tim Cook, 93%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Really great products to work on, exciting opportunities and smart interesting people to work with. There is a strong culture of focusing on the end-user experience and not irrationally obsessing with features/technology.” – Apple Software Engineer (Cupertino, CA)

    “The work you do changes the world. Love it or hate it, people know about your work. That’s more than most can dream for.” – Apple Software Engineer IV (Cupertino, CA)

    17. MathWorks gives its employees opportunities for professional growth

    Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Jack Little, 82%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “Company core values are demonstrated everyday, it’s not just words on the webpage. One reason I joined was the opportunity for professional growth, not only do they have courses, but the management and employees are knowledgeable and are great examples and mentors for the skills taught.” – MathWorks Manager (Natick, MA)

    “The company has had the same CEO since it was founded in 1984. Jack is building the company for the future and he is someone you want to work for.” – MathWorks Marketing Manager (Natick, MA)

    18. Qualcomm pays its employees well and co-workers feel like family members

     Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Paul Jacobs, 94%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “LIVELY is the word. Your work is well respected. Open door policy helps you to network to everyone in the office. Family like atmosphere. Many new interesting events help you keep energized with work.” – Qualcomm Applications Engineer (San Diego, CA)

    “Great benefits, competitive pay, good people, and a unique company structure and culture that sets things apart from other companies of similar size.” – Qualcomm Software Engineer (San Diego, CA)

    19. SAP rewards its employees for taking initiative

    Company Rating: 3.9

    CEO Approval: Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, 100%

    Employee Feedback: 

    “The communication is a big factor that works for SAP. Teams can collaborate globally and get projects accomplished.” – SAP Sales Support Associate (Newton Square, PA)

    “There is always opportunity to learn at SAP. I also loved the fact that SAP values and rewards initiative. You can make anything you want out of your time there.” – SAP Knowledge Management Employee (Newton Square, PA)

    20. Eaton empowers its employees by supporting them wholeheartedly

    “Management takes care of the employees.” – Eaton Leadership Development Program (Cleveland, OH)

    “This is a great opportunity to really make a difference. I feel empowered and supported by management to make positive changes. The company takes its culture and values seriously. We do business right!” – Eaton Product Planning (Cleveland, OH)

    Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., Executive Leadership and Career transition coach, writes about leadership strategies, career advancement and improving the workplace for Forbes, Huffington Post, Personal Branding blog and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur magazine, Tiny Pulse, U.S. News & World Report. Beth’s weekly career CJN career column was sponsored by Weatherhead School of Management.

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