Employees Are Like Customers – A People Management Framework

Moving into a leadership role is like jumping a canyon because the job’s scope changes, said Reforge.

In my leadership roles, I often view people management through a customer lifecycle lens to ensure that I don’t overlook any of its aspects.

Your employees go through similar stages to customers during their tenure.

1️⃣ Stage 1 – Acquisition

Just like you develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), it’s important to define your Ideal Employee Profile based on your culture and competency needs.

After that, partner closely with your hiring team to build your employer brand and recruit people who are a great fit to assemble your dream team.

Key activities: Competency assessment, Talent roadmap creation, Strategic sourcing, Mentoring and buddy system, etc.

2️⃣ Stage 2 – Activation

After investing significant time and money into hiring the right talent, failing to integrate them into the team and company culture is a complete waste.

As a manager you need to provide necessary resources and transparent expectations they need to succeed during their probationary period.

Key activities: Onboarding, Probation Decisions, 30-60-90 day plans, etc.

3️⃣ Stage 3 – Retention – The most important stage

“Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer”

Just like with customers, retaining employees yields the most value and builds a sustaining business

As employees become more familiar with the company’s dynamics and domain, they generate more value, making them irreplaceable.

Your job as a manager is to understand your team, provide necessary resources, offer growth opportunities, and create a healthy work environment for them to perform at their best.

Key activities: Giving feedback culture, Portfolio management, Performance review, Regular 1:1s, delegation, Task relevant maturity, etc.

4️⃣ Stage 4 – Churn

Like with customers, there sometimes comes a point where an employee is no longer a fit – their skills, work style, or values no longer align with the company’s.

Whether it’s a toxic presence, a low-performing team member, or those seeking new opportunities, a manager has to learn to handle these situations in a mindful and timely manner.

Key activities: Handling terminations and off-boarding, Exit interviews, Emotional Management, etc.

In summary, employees are like customers – they bring value to you, and you, in turn, bring value to them.

Make sure you are aware of these stages and don’t overlook any of them to build a scalable team.

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