Chris Reimer is an award-winning social media strategist and the marketing director at Kaldi's Coffee. Previously, he was vice-president of social media at Falk Harrison, a design agency in St. Louis that specializes in branding, design, communications, and social media.
I invited Chris to Marketing Smarts to talk about his book, Happywork: A Business Parable About the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose. A champion for cultivating a workplace culture where employees can thrive personally and professionally, Chris explains how happy workers produce better work (and more revenue) for the company.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Management style directly affects costs and productivity (07:56): "I've worked at some extremely high turnover workplaces, and...those were really wacky places to work. People were leaving in droves...for a reason. That was a real challenge for that organization, because there are...real costs and hidden costs to high turnover. Sometimes turnover isn't a bad thing. A healthy amount of turnover can have people leaving that you either should have gotten rid of earlier or it's just time to bring in a different perspective. [When] I worked when I was a CFO...at a distributor, we were interested in driving down our error rate. I can tell you that the way our warehouse person managed people directly impacted the error rate. It wasn't just 'Hey, make sure you don't make any errors, guys and gals.' It was a matter of having them have at least some level of decent morale that would allow them to put a little bit extra into their work, or to have a workplace where someone can come forward and say, 'You know what, I think we should start double-checking orders for the next week to make sure that all outbound shipments are perfect.' And then a higher-level person, not being afraid to hear advice from a lower-level person, saying, 'Great idea, implement it. Make it so.'"
Without happy employees, no marketing tactics will prove effective (09:50): "What I'm interested in seeing is if we can build a workplace that's happy, where we can find fulfillment, all the rest of the tactics that we're always interested in implementing—whether it be open new stores or just-in-time inventory systems, or raise prices, lower prices—anything we can do to improve margins. All those tactics are waiting for us, but if we don't have a mindset that we want to create a workplace where people can find fulfillment, you will struggle to implement all those other tactics."
If you don't believe happiness in the workplace improves the bottom line, measure (11:12): "What I like to do with the organizations I used to work at is, you've got to take a bunch of measurements then implement your changes, then calculate the delta. Just calculate the change in profit, number of orders, average order size, the velocity of orders incoming. There's an infinite number of things that we can measure. Can we necessarily know that a happier group of people is what's creating that? That's a difficult question to answer, but I'd certainly rather work there than in an unhappy place."
If you take care of your employees, they'll take care of your customers (14:56): "It's mindset versus tactics. I like to pay attention to mindset first, because if I can get you into the right mindset, you are ready to go and rock those tactics.... If we take care of our employees, we're not creating some sort of weaker business where we're spending too much time and too much money taking care of them. We are setting them up to go and take care of the customer. We're not going to forget to create great products and have great marketing around it, we're not going to forget to do those things, but if we take care of our employees first, they are going to run through brick walls for you."
Happy employees represent you better online (23:26): "We as employers often ask [employees] to blur the line. We talk to them in social media policies that we write about comporting yourself online in a manner befitting our organization. 'Hey man, I'm sitting in my house at 9 o'clock posting on Facebook. I am not working for you right now.' The flip side is, 'Yes, you're still representing us. You're a walking, talking version of us wherever you go.' If that's the case, employees need to be smart about the types of things that they post online."
To learn more about Chris, visit ChrisReimer.com, or follow him on Twitter: @ChrisReimer. To check out his book, Happywork: A Business Parable About the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose, visit HappyworkBook.com.
Chris and I covered much more ground, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by the MarketingProfs Professional Development Program.
Special thanks to production sponsor Candidio, an efficient, affordable video production platform allowing marketers and communicators to collaborate and curate video content, with help from a team of professional, on-demand video editors for the finishing touches. Check them out!
Show opener music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Chris Reimer, marketing director, at Kaldi's Coffee and author of Happywork: A Business Parable About the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose. Reach Chris on Twitter or his personal website ChrisReimer.com.