“Customers do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers.”
Richard Branson; speaking over 25 years ago
We have come a long way in the last quarter century. As we neared the Millennium there wasn’t a much-needed focus on equality, diversity and inclusivity at work. Mental health in the workplace wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. The prevailing business operating models were hierarchical; many still firmly traditional command-and-control – a hangover from the Industrial Age and the influence of two world wars. It was the time of the dot-com boom… and bust. A time when businesses were rushing to the internet, rushing to scale, rushing to sell. Some succeeded. Many didn’t.
Richard Branson has built many successful businesses on a simple truth – look after your people and they will look after your customers and your profits. 25 years later, and some businesses have still to wake up to this truth.
We all live and work in ecosystems of trust and value most of us simply couldn’t have imagined 25 years ago. When we book a taxi on an app on our phones, we expect it to turn up on time, to be clean, to know the way, to be safe. And we also expect the taxi driver to be paid a fair wage for what they are doing. Uber has lost brand reputation, market share and market value because (according to its drivers) it paid poorly and is refusing to classify them as employees. Short-sighted. It doesn’t matter that they are independent contractors. They are delivering Uber’s brand…and its purpose (“We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.”)
Look after all the people who work for you and they will look after your customers and your profits. That is because kindness builds and bonds relationships with employees, partners, suppliers, and customers.
And that is why, in forward-thinking businesses, kindness is an ever-present vibration that becomes embedded within a company’s architecture. It is a default position, not an optional add-on. The entire inner-workings of a business ought to be infused with kindness. It is what the company stands for and stands on. It’s not just about doing kind things, it’s about being inherently kind.
Kindness should be seen as a foundation. Cementing it within the strategic framework of the business is the key to a solid, sustainable business.
Distilling the research, the evidence is clear: good people will be attracted to and want to stay working with a company that represents kindness. And customers will want to do business with it. Those are two of the most fundamental elements of any successful business, in any sector.
Looking at people & partners across employees, contractors, partners, suppliers, customers, stakeholders and shareholders we audit how kind your business is and make recommendations in three areas:
- Are you a kind place to work?
- Do you operate using The Kindness Code?
- Does your kindness extend across all people and partners?