In his new book The Commitment Engine, author John Jantsch makes a notable point. He writes, “Generating commitment is the new currency of American business. The most important task of a leader is to guide passion and purpose in a way that encourages staff and customers alike to find, nurture, and grow commitment around the things big and small that make a business worth joining.” Thinking about this statement can create several different lines of thought, but to me it reiterated the point that if you do not treat your employees well, they will not be enticed to treat your customers or clients well. If you think about it, this is really common sense. Treating an employee well makes that employee happy. Going above and beyond to make sure your employees are happy indicates to them that they are valued. Your employees will feel loyalty to you, and they will be happy to give as good as they get. That includes making sure that customers are treated well. After all, if you’re having a good experience, it’s not hard to invite others to join in the fun, right?

A lot of companies are creating programs with this idea in mind. In fact, Stan Phelps, author of The Purple Goldfish Project, is currently curating stories about companies working for their employees in his Green Goldfish project. Scrolling through his posts, you see a story about how Best Buy is no longer forcing employees to keep strict schedules. You can read about how Rackspace is paying 100% health insurance premiums for employees. And then of course, there’s Zappos, the online shoe store turned business darling that offers employees money to leave as a test of their dedication.

If you’re a CEO, a president of a company, or a department head, you might think companies like these are crazy. You might think, “Well, they’re huge so they have more flexibility monetarily to be able to offer benefits like this.” The fact is any company can do little things to make employees know they are valued. It doesn’t even have to be tied to salary or insurance or anything else financial. Allowing flexible hours for new parents, allowing employees to work from home when the weather is terrible, or even the simple act of naming an “employee of the month” are all great ways to show your employees you care.

If this is still not sounding like a good business investment to you, it’s important to remember that your employees are, increasingly, the public face of your company, and not just during working hours. Your employees may have personal Facebook accounts or personal Twitter accounts, and if you don’t treat them right, they could be complaining about you. You could have a reputation problem without even realizing it. Your employees interface with your customers. Your employees interact with potential customers. What do you want those conversations to be like?

Investing in your employees is the same thing as investing in your customers. It’s the same thing as investing in your company as a corporate entity.

You are only as strong as your least happy employee. So, how strong are you?

Note: This is our fourth post in our series inspired by John Jantsch’s book The Commitment Engine. You can check out the rest of the series here, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a post!

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