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October 4, 2013

Why Your Employees Can Be Your Best Customers

Posted by Puneet Gupta (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:23 AM

Consumerization of the Enterprise [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7ZfvAQSOB4]

The customer is always right.

For decades we've heard retail establishments proudly proclaim their commitment to placing customers first and making them the cornerstone of their business models. Today many large enterprises are waking up to the realization that their employees might be their most loyal customers. If that's the case, they should be listening to what the various members of their workforce have to say.
Doing so, of course, is a bit of a leadership conundrum for many C-suite executives. Everyone in the organization, from the twenty-something at the reception all the way up to the chairman of the board, has a voice in expressing what they think about corporate life. And employee thought about the organization carries more weight in the digital age. With the "bring your own" device trend gaining acceptance, employees are accomplishing the many facets of their jobs on computing platforms that might or might not be property of the company, and there's less control over the workforce. Therein lies the triumph of the consumerization of the modern workforce.

The influence of consumerization over just about everything in modern-day society has been growing for years. Companies found that digital consumers can provide them with lots of information about their buying habits. Now that phenomenon is an undeniable part of most businesses. Consumerization is happening within the walls of your company.

The advantage, of course, is that the overhead companies had to face regarding items such as real estate, equipment, and technology has decreased considerably because of the preference of their employees to use their own computing platforms - wherever they might be. They can also communicate a lot more efficiently over company Intranets and external social media. So what used to take days to get a team into a boardroom, to discuss a project, now takes minutes.
The disadvantage is management's loss of a certain level of control over the entire company. Consumerization of the workforce translates into more power and independence to employees. If not monitored properly, a company that relies on proprietary technology, products, and information can suffer from leaks over devices and networks it doesn't own or control.

I think a way for leaders to deal with the challenges that come with the consumerization of the workforce is to build an organization that takes many of these new elements into account. I admire Google, for instance, for its employee-friendly (read: consumer-friendly) headquarters. It's a campus that many other companies have studied because it exerts a level of friendly, upbeat control over employees that they don't seem to mind. I'm talking about the daycare center, coffee shops, and casual meeting spaces. Maybe their workforce doesn't even perceive it as a control function.

Nevertheless, companies are beginning to do with employees what they've successfully done with their external customers: use the fact that they've embraced their own mobile, digital platforms as an enormous opportunity to learn more about them. Savvy companies have seized on Big Data and behavioral analytics to tap into the minds of their external customers. Now they're seeing a similar opportunity to do so with their consumerized workforce. Consumerization is power. But so is knowledge.


Hi Everybody,

Well,the best means to get along professional closeness & longevity,is being best at data collection & management in favor to everyone,in a way or other.[ Be it external or Internal ] - Nice.

Exhibiting Control is no longer a restive phenomenon,as long as,genuine effective addressing of the concerns is put to practice.

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