Why you should treat your employees like customers

staff meeting

It’s an age-old adage that the customer is always right. Everyone has heard someone in management say this at one point in our lives.

It’s a tenet that many businesses follow dogmatically. But why then, do they never extend the same faith to their employees?

Treating your employees like your most loyal customers could prove to be the best thing you ever do. This simple shift in outlook could see productivity, employee retention and general staff wellbeing skyrocket. It could also see your company receive the additional bonus of a better reputation.


Every businessowner wants to be known as someone that treats their employees well. It provides numerous benefits that will enhance the other factors mentioned in this article. Word of mouth spreads quickly. You wouldn’t treat a customer in a way that might cause stress or make them feel undervalued, which is why you absolutely cannot do the same thing for your employees. 

A survey from Transmission Private even noted that the way people treat employees has a bigger effect on their reputations than philanthropy, job creation or environmental concerns. The best part about a good reputation is it acts like a magnet. If you are known as a company that treats its employees fairly, then talented employees will be attracted to you.

If a customer complained of poor service or, even worse, threatened legal action because of your negligence, then you would suffer sleepless nights. Do not let the same happen with employees. Cutting corners with benefits, safety or employee treatment could cause you a serious headache. Think of your employees as though they are your most valued customer and you will never have this issue.


While it’s great that your company attracts talent because of how you treat employees, what’s even more important is that you’re able to keep it. Treat your employees like customers. Always assume there’s some way you can help them, or that you have something to sell to them. That way, they will always feel valued and reward you with loyalty. 

Just as airlines reward customers with air miles for sticking with their service, or your favourite coffee shop might give you a free cappuccino every now and then, you need to show employees that you are grateful for them sticking by you through thick and thin. You can do this with bonuses, payscales based on seniority or even something as simple as a free lunch or team outing.


A huge benefit to the fair treatment of employees, besides it being the right thing to do, is that it makes employees more productive. If your workers are happy, the quality of their work will be higher, and they won’t resent you for having to do it. 

You can also count on happy employees to be present in work. In fact, research from Jessica Pryce-Jones has found that happy employees take 66% less sick days on average per year than those who are unhappy in their job. This seems like obvious, but you should always check in on your staff to make sure they are fulfilled and satisfied in their role. That way they will stay productive and you can always count on them to show up when it matters.


You might consider the customer experience as one long road, from first contact or lead generation to finally becoming a sale. Well, this needs to be the case with your staff as well. Try to think of possible recruits as leads, then sales once they have joined the company. 

But the sale doesn’t stop when you have onboarded them, just as you don’t stop trying to sell to a customer because they have already made a purchase. Think of your employees’ development as a sales funnel that never ends. You are constantly trying to ‘upsell’ them or improve their skills.

Most companies do less than two months of onboarding and call it a day. Without onboarding, it takes around 8 to 12 months for new employees to reach their full productivity levels. You should have a structured onboarding program for your new hires, as well as an equally structured process for them to learn new skills and improve in the work you set out for them to accomplish.

If you take these ideas into consideration, then customer experience will improve as a result of you improving employee experience. Your excellent reputation for how you treat your employees will attract talent to your company, while allowing you to retain it. If you put careful thought into their development, then they will remain productive and only get more so as time goes on. It’s a no-brainer. Always keep your employees’ best interests in mind, just like you would do with your most valued customers.