Your business is humming along and you’re gaining new customers daily. Your customers are what keeps the lights on. But who delights your customers? Your employees.

A recent study showed that happy employees are 12% more productive. If you delight your customers, shouldn’t you delight your employees as well? Here are three steps to get you started:

1. Maintain a Reasonable Span of Control

The span of control is the number of employees that report to a manager. Depending on your industry and your level, the span of control can vary greatly.

A 2014 Harvard Business School study found that the average span of control for CEOs was 7.4 positions reporting directly, with a median of 6. An older study by the California Research Bureau saw similar results for state, federal, and private workplaces.


How does this relate to employees as customers? Think about a salesperson’s relationship with her leads. If you assign too many leads per sales rep, you’ll likely close fewer deals, see a drop in your average sales per customer, and have poor customer service. If you have too many reps for customer, though, you’ll see a meaningful drop in profit per customer.

Just like you want to balance your rep:lead ratio, it’s important you don’t overload your manager (or yourself) with too many direct reports.

2. Focus on Employee Success

If we have concepts like customer success, then we should also have employee success. Employee success maximizes your current employees’ productivity, which can be more cost-effective than hiring. A study by SHRM showed that turnover-related costs represent more than 12% of pre-tax income for the average company.

Start your path to employee success by making sure your employees understand their roles and your expectations, from their hire date to their last day. Keep a transparent and open communication channel between managers and their direct reports.

As your employee grows in the organization,  give the employee an opportunity for more responsibility (and compensation to match). Like customers going down the sales & marketing funnel, your employee’s continued engagement makes them more valuable.

Finally, once your employees are truly successful, give them an opportunity to be your advocate. Support an employee referral program and watch your best employees recruit on your behalf.

3. Automate with Software

You use software to track customer success; shouldn’t you do the same with your employees? Human Resource Information System (HRIS) software can help your business manage different aspects of employee management, including:

With HRIS software, you can quickly see who’s taking time off or what this month’s business trips cost, for example. HRIS can also be empowering for employees too. HRIS software lets employees track their own vacation days or manage their benefits.

David Cheng
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