C-Suite Agenda

The Missing Link: Business, Employees, Clients, And Success

Business team meeting

No, I don’t believe in a mythical 7’ tall hairy creature wandering the forests of the Pacific Northwest! The link I’m referring to is between your business, employees, clients, and success!

In a word – Culture. It’s a word that’s been overused as of late, but I believe it’s because everybody knows how important it is, but nobody truly knows what it is or how to get it. However, when a business does find it and get it right, positive workplace culture will not only create a company that the best and most talented candidates will be beating down your door to want to work for, but will also produce the successful and sustainable results for your business we all seek.

Legendary Quality Engineer/Statistician, W. Edward Deming boiled most of his teachings down to 14 Points for Total Quality Management. All 14 are designed to improve and transform a business in an effort to remove the status quo in some way. However, they all focus on one main topic, take care of your teams and employees first and they will take care of you, your business and ultimately, your clients. AKA – Culture.

Build From Within

Every business owner, CEO, Executive Leader wants to do it – build a stronger, more profitable and sustainable business while attracting the best talent. When the ‘rubber meets the road’, most struggle to get it, or don’t know how to do it. HR is typically relied upon to build a talent acquisition strategy that typically falls flat and when it does, management scratches their heads without looking internally for the real answers.

If honest internal reflection takes place, the realization can begin – it all starts from the inside and works outward, through a people-first, emotionally intelligent management and leadership style. And…it starts with you! When you build quality internal relationships and put your employees first, before all else, no questions asked, the improvement process begins in earnest, and makes HR’s job much easier!

A company’s employees are the heart and soul of the business. Step 1 is recognizing, trusting, rewarding and empowering those who are getting you there each and every day. It’s not a one-and-done thing though. It is a process that lives and evolves as your business does. As mentioned, it starts at the top, and everyone has to buyin… everyone!

The Culture Shift

Something interesting happens when you begin focusing on your employees. You significantly improve morale, culture (there’s that word again!), and productivity. Why, you ask? Maybe for the first time, your teams or individuals feel as if they are valued or being listened to. That feeling of value, that sense of belonging, that hard work is being recognized. Feeling as though you are making a difference, better yet, being told that you are, is not only an essential human need but is at the essence of a positive workplace culture.

And there it is! That’s culture! It’s not ping-pong tables and Ms. Pac-Man in the lunchroom. It might be fun and turn a 60-minute lunch-break into a 90-minute lunch break, but those things are simply window dressing for HR to parade candidates through and pretend to have culture, “Look, see? We have culture!!” Culture is knowing someone is listening, valuing, recognizing your efforts and rewarding you for producing. Meeting with leadership that believes in ‘open-door policies’, total transparency, knowing where the company is going. What part you teams/individuals are playing in the business, knowing you are not just on the team, but an integral part of it. Culture is not tangible, it is not a thing, it’s a belief in what you are doing is worthy.

The Reward

When employees are happy, recognized, rewarded and asked to go the extra mile, guess what happens…they do! This is the payoff. The point where your clients notice the change and return the favor. People do business with people and your clients want to do business with positive, happy people and organization that ‘get it’.

Can you can tell when someone is smiling on the other end of the phone? Of course you can. When you improve your employee’s workplace situation, the natural process for the employee is to become or become even more motivated. Motivated to do more and ensure that the business continues to do the right thing for them, ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’. When employees are motivated to go the extra mile, this results in operational efficiencies, happier clients, overall improved customer satisfaction, repeatable and sustainable business, increased
revenue…improved bottom line! Still need a reason to focus on your employees?


This process never stops, it’s cyclical. Never allow it to stop. It’s a living, breathing, perpetual process. Picture a wheel that never stops turning and each spoke of that wheel is a piece of your culture improvement initiative. Of course, there is a significant level of detail that goes into much of this, the devil is in the details. Positive leadership, mentorship, coaching, encouragement, financial and listening to the needs of your teams and employees all in addition to organizational behavior-based strategies. Simply put, employee satisfaction creates client satisfaction. It’s a WIN-WIN!

The Secret

When employees are valued, have a sense of belonging, love their companies, their colleagues, the workplace environment, their management, what the company stands for, the mission, there is little they will NOT do for your organization and…your clients!

Happy employees Increased production/Improved service Happy Clients Increased Profits Repeat Going the extra mile, doing what the competition won’t, all with a smile on their face and because they WANT to is culture, it is the secret to all successful organizations. But is it really a secret?

There needs to be a willingness to make it happen and see it through. The benefits are real, and they are significant. It doesn’t happen by accident and it won’t happen overnight. Concerted effort needs to be placed on this to make it real. You may ask yourself if it’s worth it?

Is client retention worth it? Is attracting the best talent worth it? Is reducing significant employee turnover worth it?

I could go on, but all these things can be translated to dollars and cents on your P&L, and it’s usually not good.

Is it worth it? Let me answer that one for you, it’s absolutely worth it.

Written by Ryan Waters. Have you read?

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Ryan Waters
Ryan Waters is a business management consultant at Seen It All Consulting. Ryan specialises in topics including business transformation, executive leadership, change management, talent and performance management. Ryan Waters is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.