We spend so much time focused on customers, we forget that there’s another key group we need to serve…our employees. In fact, it may be more important to know, understand, and please your employees than your customers.

If you’re not keeping your employees happy, it is difficult to get them to keep your customers happy.

Our LSM-Expert John Moore recommends putting the needs of Employees above those of Customers. Here are a few articles – posted on his Brand Autopsy site – which explain this point of view.

  • Kip Tindell Thinks Outside the Box – Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, states “Take care of employees better than anyone else and they will take care of customers better than anyone else.”
  • Great Employees Only – John opens his article about the book Great Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire & De-Hire Their Way To Success with something he learned from a former boss, “You’ve got to have the right people hiring the right people.” There is so much truth to that. The book Great Employees Only by Dale Dauten is chock full of great advice. John points out a few in his SlideShare Presentation. A great quote that stood out for me was “Competitors can steal your ideas, your processes, and even your employees, but they can’t steal the magnetic environment that you create.”
  • The Starbucks “Employee First” Philosophy – Summarize this article here.

Customer first? Employee first? Both are equally important. If your employees aren’t happy and satisfied, they are going to have a difficult – if not impossible time – keeping your customers happy and satisfied.

So, what are the things you can do to make sure you know and understand your employees?

Just Ask

The easiest, most efficient way to understand your employees is simply to ask.

You have full-time access to your employees. You are not bugging or annoying them by asking. In fact, they want to provide you with feedback.

Can you think of any job you’ve ever had where you did not want your boss to know what you thought?

With that said, sometimes employees won’t be honest or candid with their thoughts and feedback. So that’s when surveys are helpful.

Employee Surveys

Surveys offer a great tool for gathering feedback. You can also allow employees to be anonymous in providing feedback if you are afraid (or they are afraid) to provide honest and candid feedback.

You can use paper-based surveys, or web-based tools that are fast and efficient.


An excellent web-based tool for gathering feedback (from anyone) is Survey Monkey. We’ve used this in the past with great results. They have a range of plans from free to under $800 per year depending on the features you need, number of surveys, and size of the survey population.

Survey Monkey has partnered with the Society of Human Resources Management Foundation and has several ready to go surveys you could use today with your employees. [Survey Link]

Here are some specific surveys you may find helpful: