Researchers at The Norwegian Business School BI have made a link between motivated employees and satisfied customers. Their research shows that employee job satisfaction leads to a good service climate, which in turn leads to better performance and higher customer loyalty.
This is a link that has been famously made by the John Lewis Partnership. Executive Chairman Charlie Mayfield has been quoted as saying: “We are based on the notion that if we treat our partners (i.e. employees) well, it will lead to good customer service”.
Lead researcher at BI Professor Anders Dysvik says that “The most important customer could be the company’s own employees. If you manage to keep them committed, this will be noticed by the customers”.
He argues that whilst financial compensation is an important means of motivating staff, it should primarily be given as a fixed salary.
For employees required to complete complex tasks, financial incentives such as bonuses and commissions can be counterproductive. Dysvik says: “Performance-based pay does not seem to work for complex tasks, because it is difficult for employees to see the connection between effort and result”.
Intrinsic motivators; motivators that come from the pleasure of doing the task rather than from external rewards or punishments, are far superior. Employees with intrinsic motivation simply outperform others.
According to Dysvik they also feel a much stronger commitment to the company, tend to take on several optional roles, and rarely have plans to quit: “Recruiting employees who experience genuine inner joy when performing business tasks is very important”.
Other researchers have also made this link between ‘inner joy’ and productiveness. Employees with higher levels of positive emotion have been shown to score more highly across all performance indicators.
Dysvik concludes: “Recruitment should be more targeted. If you can find an employee who is genuinely concerned with the work and can get on well with other people, you have made a killing”.
See here for more information on the BI research