We deal in very different kinds of businesses and notice that especially in the digital age, the thought patterns and expectations concerning the structure of the work itself are in transition.
Money gets almost a side issue, opportunities for development, a good atmosphere among the colleagues, participation, flat hierarchies and flexible models are getting more and more important. The art is to create forms of cooperation, where everybody meets at eye level and exchanges ideas.
In Hamburg, there are some companies that are – respect to this- on a right trip. Some of them have just been awarded with the seal of approval “Hamburg’s best employers”.
This year, 15 companies coming from many different industries received this award. Collectively, the “Best Employers” don’t have actually much in common, only one thing: they are all successful, thanks to an approach, apparently copied from Vineet Nayar: “Employees first, customers second” is the motto of the chief of the Indian technology company HCL – which does not mean that customers are neglected. On the contrary, the employees who are the main interface to the customers, treat them excellently and get obstacles out of the way so they can do their job as good as possible.
One of the “Best Employers”, which is acting like this is Hamburg’s largest drugstore chain Budnikowsi. There is hardly a shopping street in the Hanseatic city you can go for a walk without seeing the blue lettering.
In an earlier interview with the Handelsblatt Cord Wöhlke, who runs the family business Budnikowski since 1979, explained the staff philosophy: “The whole family is traveling for example to wish everyone of the 1500 employees a Merry Christmas. We congratulate personally for birthdays, marriage and the baptism of children.
Jubilarians, I invite at my place, where my wife cooks. It is important to have time so that employees can present their ideas, suggestions or problems directly.” This is familiar to us -. Shallow hierarchies and proximity to the employees allow managers to facilitate their employees work directly.
Happy employees can satisfy customer’s needs better than unhappy ones. The executive at Budni also knows how well this works. “We have to offer more services than others. Therefore we need enthusiastic employees, “said Cord Wöhlke.
This concept works: Happy employees are motivated to work more efficiently and represent the company positively. However, at Budni there is not just sunshine and roses, currently there is a public controversy about the alleged dress code. But face it: Schlecker women would have been happy if they had to discuss just such trifles.
But dress code or not, you realize that Budnikowski nevertheless takes care of its employees. Our experience at doubleYUU: We think Budni is great. We like going there because you can just experience this spirit (and clearly feel when visiting the competitors that it is led there otherwise).
It is no coincidence that Budni is successful with this approach. The U.S. company Zappos, effectively the U.S. version and the predecessor of Zalando, is famous for his “company culture” – and extremely successful with this approach. Cohesion is considered as the most important value, and this includes manager. The employees treat each other – like a big family – at eye level, the executives as well.
“At Zappos colleagues have become my family. I can always count on each individual, and get support in professional and personal concerns, “writes, for example, G. Alesha in Zappos Culture Book 2009.
It is unlikely at Zappos that officers make their decisions aloof and don’t take their employees along. “Business in the Front – Party in the Back” is big on the poster in the office. “The Zappos culture means to start work every day with a smile,” writes Jackie M. and J. Jane explains what this means: “It’s real and it’s inspiring. I believe that this positive attitude is extended to all with whom I have contact. ” To the customers as well. More on Zappos philosophy you can find here.
Zappos concept is proofed by success: Between 2004 and 2007, sales have doubled, on $ 840 million. HCL raises its sales consistently too, from 2011 to 2012 there was an increase of about 15 percent. Happy employees yield the company demonstrable monetary benefits.
No matter how you look at it – In the end of the day for everybody it’s the same. Beeing treated with respect and decency and taken seriously, no matter if you are a customer or an employee.