You may think that the quality of employees and products at any given company is related to a mix of hiring the right people, company culture, management, etc. But have you considered that great employees and great products might go hand-in-hand? It’s rare to have one without the other, and having poor performance in either category can be a death knell for your ecommerce business.
Here’s why having a great product leads to great employees, and vice versa:
When employees care about the product, they work harder and better.
Robert Pirsig, author of the cultural icon “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” has said that care and quality are intrinsically linked. This means that truly quality work will only be possible when people care about what they’re doing. He says, “Caring about what you are doing is considered either unimportant or taken for granted,” but in reality it’s the most important aspect of quality work.
You would be hard-pressed to find an employee at a company who truly cares about an inferior product. It’s hard to care about something that hasn’t had care put into it. Quality products, however, are easy to care about and will encourage quality work in return.
Companies with great products attract the best employees.
Let’s take a quick look at just a few of Forbes’ top 50 companies to work for:
- Walt Disney Company
Do you notice anything in common? They are all industry leaders for their products. They’re the best of the best in their category. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective employee. Would you rather work for a company with a sub-par product, or for a company that’s at the top of its game? Having a poor product tells prospective employees that you only care about the bottom line, and not the quality of what you’re putting out to the world. This, in turn, can tell prospects that you have only one concern: money. If that’s a company’s priority, you can bet it doesn’t take great care of its employees, either. Quality products, on the other hand, tell prospects that you’re a company that really cares about what you’re doing, and therefore probably also care about employee welfare.
A recent survey by Monster.com said that employees would rather work for a company that focuses on its employees’ well-being, even if it means less money and benefits. What’s one of the best ways to show you care about your employees? Show them that you care more about the quality of your product than just the bottom line.
Conversely, great employees can turn so-so products into industry leaders.
Now let’s look at the flipside. While a great product can attract great employees, great employees can also lead to great products. One of the hardest lessons that business owners learn, especially in early times of growth, is that taking the time to hire the right candidate is well worth the extra time and expense versus trying to do it as quickly as possible. Hiring is actually one of the most important things a company does. When you have the right people at your company, in the right positions, it can turn into a well-run and well-oiled machine that consistently puts out great products and services.
One great employee can truly turn a company around, and one bad employee can lead to its downfall. Take Apple design great Jonathan Ive. He was first hired as a consultant in 1992, then hired full-time. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Ive was promoted to head designer. His role was basically to lead all product design for the company. His iconic design innovations include the iPod, iPad, iPhone, MacBook and iOS. It’s fair to say that Apple would not be the world’s most successful company without standout employee Jonathan Ive.
When business gets crazy, it can be tempting to just hire the first person that comes in your door with remotely desirous qualifications. But, if you can, wait until that absolute right person for the job comes along. He or she may bring your company places you never could have imagined.
This idea that great products and great companies go hand-in-hand is really a cyclical concept. When you hire great employees, they can change the face of a company and create products that define its legacy. When you have great products, you then attract the best employees. It’s a self-replicating cycle.