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Treat your employees the same as your valued customers

Treat your employees the same as your valued customers

By Anya Tertytsia and Julie Dorin, KPMG in France

Robert Bolton

Head of Global People & Change Center of Excellence, KPMG International; Partner

KPMG in the UK


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We’re always encouraged to see clients we work with today bringing tremendous enthusiasm, focus and drive to shaping a modern customer experience that will consistently deliver unprecedented levels of engagement and convenience. 

It seems that barely a single client conversation goes by without excited queries and suggestions exploring new ways to make the purchasing process increasingly easy and memorable. Clients understand how customer service excellence requires personalization that caters to expectations and ultimately forges strong relationships and ongoing brand loyalty.

Amid the excitement that CX is generating, however, we’re sometimes inclined to suggest that clients step back from the customer experience for a moment to explore another timely question for the digital age: “What about your employee experience?” 

It seems that many businesses, amid strategic initiatives to drive CX excellence, are not paying adequate attention to reshaping the employee experience. And our advice is always the same – your HR function and workplace need to start treating employees like valued customers. That means recognizing and meeting the diverse needs, preferences and expectations of five generations working side-by-side in the workplace today – and  enabling them to work, collaborate and access information in a personalized manner that maximizes productivity and job satisfaction.

We believe that employers and HR leaders would be wise to demonstrate a greater sense of urgency on the inevitable need for change. Create a digital age workplace experience that’s instantly accessible 24/7, intuitive to navigate and convenient to manage. Make the employee experience and entire workplace culture increasingly personalized, engaging and productive. After all, what is your role if not to understand your employees’ needs and expectations, their talents and future opportunities – and your own responsibility as a true advocate for every employee in the organization?  

An intelligent, forward-looking employee experience will ultimately position your business as an employer of choice in today’s competitive global job market. Your goal should be a modern workplace culture that today’s talented workers will be eager to join. In the ongoing ‘war for talent’ among firms seeking critical new digital skills today, I believe your employer brand and reputation are more important than ever.  

To start treating your employees as customers is to change your entire frame of reference regarding the HR function. For example, your marketing department can no doubt tell you specifically what drives customer behaviors, what they expect and value, where they shop, what kind of products they prefer and much, much more. But I believe you’d be hard-pressed today to find many HR teams generating a comparable depth of familiarity, insight, engagement and responsiveness toward their workforce. 

The traditional HR function is still unable to provide any meaningful employee data or insights far beyond numbers employed and the typical staffing breakdowns according to gender, age, salary bracket, current role and performance reports. Approaching employees from a customer perspective provides an entirely new lens to work from – and that’s the key today. You will start to compete for talent more successfully and retain your employees longer within a modern, productive, engaging, people-centric culture. 

Our advice to employers today on the future of HR is to view innovation and transformation as a journey that absolutely must focus on treating employees in entirely new ways: as your valued ‘customers.’


This blog series features consultants from KPMG’s People & Change global network and is part of our 2019 Future of HR global report – In the Know or in the No. Anya Tertytsia is a director and Julie Dorin is a senior consultant in the People & Change practice at KPMG in France.

© 2020 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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