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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Connecting your People to Their Impact on Customers

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Motivating employees is an essential part of leadership. When we think of workplace motivational tools, things like celebratory kickoffs, bonuses, generous PTO policies, or plush work environments come to mind.

However, one of the most powerful motivational tools turns out to be something much more direct and personal. According to Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and best-selling author, “A growing body of research shows that end users—customers, clients, patients, and others who benefit from a company’s products and services—are surprisingly effective in motivating people to work harder, smarter, and more productively.”

In fact, end users more effectively motivate employees than the managers that lead them.

Employees view consumers as more credible sources of inspiration. When a leader gives one of those talks designed to light an energizing fire (think Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck strutting across a stage) it can be viewed with skepticism. There is a complexity to the relationship between employer and employee which may make the employee feel that the primary purpose of the talk is to make them work harder.

When staff are connected to the end user they directly experience the impact of their products and services on customers. The insights clients provide have an inspirational impact on employees that cannot be achieved in any other way.

Adam Grant shared some of the examples from his research:

  • A 5 minute visit from a student who had received a scholarship motivated phone bank fundraisers. One month after this visit, the callers showed average increases of 142% in weekly time spent on the phone and 171% in money raised.

  • Simply showing a photograph of a patient they had never met to radiologists inspired them to read X-rays more accurately.

  • At Wells Fargo, managers showed bankers videos of people describing how low-interest loans rescued them from severe debt. This propelled the managers to provide better customer service.

It is believed that this type of employee - customer connection enhances the meaning of the work and for the past 30 years surveys have consistently shown that meaningful work is the single most important feature in a job.

In our next blog, we will delve into the specific elements that make this connection so powerful.

In the meantime, give this question some thought:

How can I create opportunities for my customers to directly share their experiences with my employees?

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