GeneralHr Library

Do Employees Matter Anymore?

Source | .Linkedincom  |  BY:Bryce Maddock, CEO, TaskUs

Shareholders Are Still Top-of-Mind for Many

As Jaspar said in the intro to this series, every business has different, and often competing, interests. Each business, whether consciously or by default, ends up prioritizing the following three interests:

  1. Shareholders
  2. Customers
  3. Employees

Looking for examples of shareholder-focused companies is easy. This is exactly where you find companies like Walmart and United Airlines. These companies focus almost exclusively on delivering financial returns to their investors, with herculean efforts being spent to beat analysts projections every quarter. They aren’t concerned with the complexity of the product or service, nor are they concerned with employee happiness. They have lost sight of their employees and see them as cogs in the machine, easily replaced or, even better, automated.

Customer Delight Is Increasingly Important

Customer-focused companies, like Amazon and Nordstrom, while less common, are still out there. Jeff Bezos is famous for creating customer obsession which is evident in 2-day free shipping and low prices. Nordstrom invests heavily in customer service training and hassle-free returns. They judiciously implement technology to deliver a better customer experience but still rely on employees to drive customer satisfaction. These companies look at employee satisfaction from a lens of how it impacts the end customer’s happiness. Whether or not their employees are actually happy is secondary to the customer.

Looking at companies that focus on shareholders and customers, it is easy to ask if employees really have much of a role in the Age of Automation, let alone if it is a sound business strategy to be employee-centric. Every day, there is another article about how computers are automating jobs and rendering employees obsolete. In fact, a 2013 study by Oxford University that made a lasting impression posited that about half of all jobs in the U.S. today are likely to be automated in the next two decades. That study seems more likely every day, and it raises several questions. Is automation making employees increasingly irrelevant? Does a strategy of employee obsession make sense in the age of automation? Fortunately for us, the answer is yes.


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