ReadingHow to Win the War for Talent by Treating Employees like Customers

How to Win the War for Talent by Treating Employees like Customers


As a tech professional, you understand how valuable top talent is to the success of your organization. With increasing competition for skilled workers, it is essential that businesses provide an environment where talented individuals want to stay and perform at their best.

Treating employees like customers can be one way to ensure that they stay engaged and feel valued—ultimately driving improved performance and productivity. In this blog post, we'll discuss practical ways businesses can create a customer-centric environment in order to win the modern war for talent.

Obsession into Innovation#

Customer obsession is a hallmark of the world’s great companies. Teams in these organizations wake up every day looking for new ways to surprise and delight their product users, seeking unfulfilled needs to address and opportunities to bring proverbial automobiles to the horse-riders.

Many of these same companies also proudly announce to the world claims to the effect that “Our most important assets walk out the door every night on their way home.” These companies clearly recognize the value of their employees, and they wrestle deeply with turnover rates and retention issues (note the widespread concern among employers over the “Great Resignation”).

Companies often pursue customer satisfaction with impressive effectiveness, yet so many fail to deploy that same energy into ensuring their employees' wellbeing. What's the disconnect? Is it possible for businesses to gauge employee success in the same way they can measure a customers', and is doing so integral for staff retention figures?

The Food Pyramid vs. The Michelin Guide#

Part of the problem lies in the fact that many employee-related activities in a company are obligatory, logistical, and demanding.

Areas like onboarding, knowledge management, professional development, and IT infrastructure are treated more like the weighty stones of the food pyramid than the makings of a New Nordic tasting menu.

When looking at the performance of a customer-facing initiative, companies will religiously observe engagement metrics and user satisfaction to assess and improve their performance. If usage trends are going steeply up and to the right, it is a good bet that customers are happy (and that the company is doing well too).

Many internally facing activities, however, rely on mandates to drive usage. First-day onboarding checklists, 360-degree reviews, traditional enterprise software tools, and even many ostensibly fun team social events are often compulsory, masking their underwhelming nature and the dissatisfaction of their users.

A key question in this situation is whom the activities exist to serve - the employee/user or the provider?

Is customer service or scorecard compliance the driving ethos?

A company that asks itself “How can I surprise and delight my employees when reviewing their performance and planning their growth path” will arrive at a very different place from a company that begins with “My KPI is to ensure that every employee participates in a minimum of two hours of professional development each quarter.”

Making Employee Success “Consumer-Grade”#

One of our core beliefs at DevRev is that the time has come for enterprise software to become “consumer-grade.”

Software platforms built for the product-led era earn their growth by providing their users with the same caliber of experience that they expect from apps in their personal lives - whether ordering food, sharing videos with friends, or planning a family’s schedule.

Products like Slack, Notion, and DevRev are designed not merely to satisfy the checklists of top-down procurement processes, but to provide joy to their users by making the complicated and painful into the simple and seamless.

In the same way, start-up founders and people leaders of all stripes can give themselves a tremendous advantage in the war for talent by reframing their relationships with their employees.

Treating employee onboarding, professional development, performance reviews, and each other area of employee success as “products” means optimizing for the user rather than the manager, building a roadmap for continuous feature enhancements, and focusing metrics on usage and satisfaction over mere compliance.

The “vegetables” of company life have the potential to be much more than just vegetables. With a customer-focused mindset, you can turn an obligatory school lunch into the kind of gourmet masterpiece that a critic would deem “worth a special journey.”

Win the War and Grow#

In order to win the modern war for talent, businesses must create a customer-centric environment.

By treating employees like customers, businesses can ensure that they stay engaged and feel valued—ultimately driving improved performance and productivity. If you want to learn more about how to create a customer-centric environment in your business, be sure to read our other blog posts on the topic.

And if you’re looking for ways to create seamless automations for your developers, DevRev is here to help. We specialize in product-led business operations—so contact us today to get started.

Winning this war for talent doesn’t have to be overly complicated or lengthy. Your company can be leagues ahead in talent recruitment by developing a mindset of customer service to both your customers and your employees.