Any leader can tell you that people are at the heart of organisational success, more than procedures, more than promotion, more than any other element in the strategic mix.
People are the life-blood of strategy
Without people, strategies are no more than empty hieroglyphs on digital screens or, on occasion, also in print.
Interesting is that Amazon’s former CEO (who just stepped down this week), Jeff Bezos, did not seem to rotate his business around the human core. It is astounding, more so as he clearly has been extremely successful.
With what looks like a u-turn or a re-think, Amazon has, in the meantime, vowed to not only make Amazon the ‘Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.’, but also the ‘Earth’s Best Employer’. (https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/company-news/2020-letter-to-shareholders).
The vision, as you would expect from Bezos, is large, especially as ‘Amazon, best employer’ does not really ring-true. Yet, equally, as we consider its success, we will not be surprised – I certainly will not – if his vision becomes reality.
Customers and employees are not distinct
However, here is where I struggle to see how the two, the customer-centricity and employee-focus ended up in two different stages.
From a marketing and communications point of view, both, external customers and internal employees are indeed customers. Separating the two out is counter-productive.
It is simple. The reason lies in the concept of ownable truths.
If those on the ‘inside’ of the organisation experience and practice a customer-focused, customer-friendly, customer-centric approach and see their fellow employees as CUSTOMERS not colleagues, then this will translate on the outside.
What we experience on the inside rings true on the outside. What we say towards the outside rings true on the inside.
As a result, our brand identity experiences a oneness – and carries integrity – which translates into higher internal customer satisfaction and external customer brand delight.
Bezos’ desire to increase internal satisfaction has likely been born out of the fact that Amazon’s brand, if anything, has experienced the most dents around its perceived ‘just enough’ treatment of employees.
The speed of growth and strength of the brand’s competitiveness has somewhat covered up the less than perfect employee-brand relationship.
Stake in the business
Organisations wanting to grow at speed, while also building for the future, must see employees as customers and, to some extent, as partners. And while not all have shares in a business, they have a stake in the business.
Allocating funds towards their well-being, their involvement and their fair pay will, ultimately, pay off.
So the answer to the question, Why does Amazon want to become the Earth’s Best Employer?, is obvious; the realisation of it, potentially too late.
If there is nobody to provide excellent customer service, soon there will be no excellence, no service and no customers.