The 21st Century Consumer is Also Your Employee

Before I was old enough to drive I owned a TI-81 calculator. It was the size of a ladies wallet, and about as thick, and was encased in a slate blue cover. I used that calculator all through high school and undergrad never imagining that more than a decade later I would work in the calculator division of Texas Instruments as a Marketing Communications Project Manager.

Only seven years into the 21st century and I was working with educators and marketing professionals and product development teams to launch the first ever color graphing calculator. Why do I share this story? Because before I was ever employed by TI, I was their consumer. I knew the product, how it worked, and used it on a myriad of exams. I was the target customer, their demographic, the student, and later the employee.

What companies fail to realize is that long before we join an organization we are consumers of their products. NIKE, adidas, Nordstrom, Intel. We know their commitment to customer service, product quality, technical innovation, and product accessibility. Why then do organizations forget that as a Great American Nordstrom Girl or a NIKE Running Club member that I expect the same commitment of service to me as an employee? That I didn’t forgo my consumer status when I received a blue badge, in fact, at that moment I earned another badge, that of employee ambassador.

When an organization treats their employees like they treat their best customers, they earn loyalty points with that employee. Those points can be cashed in for employee referrals, deeper engagement, a commitment to organizational values, and a customer for life. Let’s face it, talent attracts talent. By investing in what the employees cares about, just as you do with consumers and clients, they will reinvest in the organization. These talented individuals will be your best recruiters because they want only the best people from their network working alongside them.

The supposed “struggle” to find diverse talent is over. They are sitting in the manufacturing plant, the warehouse, manning the phone lines pitching new products, and saving top accounts from exiting your firm. They are wearing your sneakers, carrying your phone, sending messages via a laptop powered by your chip, and driving an automobile connected to their iPhone. The innovations your consumers demand, that your clients expect, are shared by your employees. This is intersectionality. And this is the 21st Century Consumer.

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