Propel Your Business Into Action by Being ‘Hooked On Customers’

Propel Your Business Into Action by Being ‘Hooked On Customers’

What does it mean to be ‘hooked on customers’, and what are practical ways to create enduring customer relationships?

 I recently interviewed Bob Thompson, CEO of Customer Think Corp, about these topics on my Doing CX Right podcast (episode 54) to help you understand the importance of being “hooked on customers, based on Bob’s best-selling book.

During the podcast episode, we explore customer-centric businesses, examine the ways they implement strategies, and provide actionable advice for you to outperform your competitors. CX success does not occur overnight or automatically but rather happens when individuals and teams intentionally put customers first and on a consistent basis.

Bob explains that “learning to let your actions do the talking can be revolutionary to a company that struggles to create enduring customer relationships. People who own, operate, manage, or otherwise lead a company always look for ways to improve productivity, beat the competition, and ensure long-term success.”

Talking is cheap. Leading legendary customer-centric business leaders do not just sit around the decision-making table and discuss ideas. Best-in-class brands are what I call Doing CX Right®. And implementing key actions that Bob outlines as follows:

  • LISTEN to customers’ values and feedback.
  • THINK about the implications of fact-based decisions on customers
  • EMPOWER employees with the freedom they need to please customers
  • CREATE new value for customers without being asked
  • DELIGHT customers by exceeding their expectations

There are no quick fixes.  Customer-centricity takes time, determination, and company-wide commitment.

It must be maintained and constantly pursued to ensure that CX becomes part of the fabric of a business. You can have an altruistic company that’s profitable too. One doesn’t replace the other.

In fact, Wendy Smith, a professor at the University of Delaware Business School, educates about the power of “Both/And” thinking. Our brains love to make either-or choices, we choose one option over the other. Yet, there’s a better way through Both/And thinking. We can express our individuality and be a team player. We can manage the core business while also innovating for the future. These competing and interwoven demands don’t need to be a source of conflict.

Check out Wendy’s extensive research on strategic paradoxes and how leaders and senior teams can effectively respond to contradictory yet interdependent demands >here.

I hope you’ll listen to my interview with Bob Thompson, which is also available to watch on YouTube too. There are a lot of valuable gems discussed to help you gain a competitive advantage, so take notes. 

Kudos to brands transforming customer experiences mentioned in my podcast, including Trader Joe’s, Southwest Airlines and others.

More places you can listen and subscribe for updates:  SpotifyAudible. Apple. Stitcher

Bob and I welcome your feedback.

Tell us if you do anything differently as a result of our information shared. Curious to know which companies you think are hooked on customers and customers are hooked on those brands? My immediate answer is Trader Joes, a national chain of neighborhood grocery stores who has been transforming grocery shopping since 1967. Trader Joes motto is “simply put, every time a customer shops with us, we want them to be able to say, “Wow! That was enjoyable, and I got a great deal. I look forward to coming back!”

That is precisely how I feel every time I visit the store. I’m forever hooked!

Check out my interview with Trader Joes staff member, and learn what it’s like from the inside as an employee who are hooked on customers.

5 Ways To Gain CX Buy-In From The Top-Down

5 Ways To Gain CX Buy-In From The Top-Down

In order to truly have a customer-centric culture, you need champions at the top who advocate and invest in customer experience (CX) resources, tools, and platforms. Likewise, customer satisfaction metrics need to be part of everyones’ objectives. Gaining buy-in from those who will impact the success of your efforts is not so easy. It takes patience, resilience, supporting data, and passion to stand up for what you believe in.

16 leaders across different industries share advice about developing a sustainability plan in a recent Forbes article.  Many of the actionable tips apply to building and keeping a customer-first culture. The following are some of my favorites from the list:

5 Ways To Gain CX Buy-In & Support from Top-Down:

1. Start With A Data-Driven Pilot Program

Company leaders are more likely to embrace new ideas when there is data behind the plan. Start with a pilot program, gather the facts, and then present the results to the decision-makers. If the initiatives prove to be valuable, executives will likely support and invest in the ideas. The “crawl, walk, run” approach always works for me. I believe it will for you too. – Stacy Sherman

2. Don’t Overpromise

It is better to have a realistic yet scalable plan than to start off with one that goes beyond your existing capabilities. Solid sustainability planning takes all prongs of environmental, social and governance (ESG) into consideration as avenues to improve and establish a plan that you can grow into sustainably. – Boaz Santiago, energyware

3. Align Operationally Across The Business

It’s important to align operationally across the business, especially when it comes to sales and marketing. This starts at the individual key performance indicator level and extends to forecasts, targets, and goals. Understanding how each KPI maps to the goals ensure that everyone is driving toward the same outcomes. Finally, clarity around roles and responsibilities is paramount in order to scale as efficiently as possible. – Jenny Coupe, ActiveCampaign

4. Listen To Employee Concerns And Needs

Listening to their employees about their key concerns, needs, and wants. Executing on those concerns—or even some of them—can help achieve greater buy-in if folks feel as if their concerns were considered, even if they weren’t fully realized at the end of the day. Organizations and leaders need to think in terms of community to achieve support. – Nina Mehta, VIACOM

5. Articulate Individual Roles And Incentives

To gain support, the purpose must be articulated in an impactful way. Each individual’s role in accomplishing the purpose must be articulated, and incentives must be aligned with the intended outcome. People need to feel a sense of connection to the mission and the organization, which must be reinforced through an incentive structure that reflects individual buy-in. – Kyle Scott, Lone Star College

Read the full Forbes article here. Tell me what you would add to the list.

Read more about getting CX Buy-In and support in my other Forbes article:


Remember: Life is a journey. You cannot go from 0% to 100% goal attainment automatically or overnight. 

10 Impactful Ways To Authentically Thank Employees

10 Impactful Ways To Authentically Thank Employees

It’s no secret that happy employees yield better business results. There’s a lot of research indicating customer satisfaction and loyalty rise when employees enjoy their jobs and workplace. They go hand-in-hand. As leadership expert Simon Sinek says, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.

Research shows (

“69% of employees work harder when they feel appreciated.
79% feel motivated when recognized.”
“51% of workers are recognized once a quarter.” I’ve been in organizations where it’s more like once per year. 

I know that creating a great company culture does not happen automatically or overnight. It requires intentional design and ongoing focus. As Thanksgiving approaches (and beyond), take time to express gratitude. It’s in your control!   


10 Authentic Ways To Thank Employees:

  1. Send personalized thank-you notes. Recognize your staff for delighting customers.
  2. Do something that shows your team they matter. If you don’t know what that is, simply ask.
  3. Invite teams to an Executive meal (virtual works) based on results & positive customer feedback. 
  4. Publicize awesome work. Compliment individuals & teams on the company website.
  5. Enable people to recognize each other. Gamify experiences. Tie prizes to customer value.
  6. Send small gift or balloons to top performers & those with Y/Y improvements.
  7. Buy lunch for people resolving customer issues daily i.ecustomer service reps. survey team, etc. 
  8. Create a CEO video message thanking employees for creating customer promoters.
  9. Offer a bonus or day off to those who routinely demonstrate customer excellence.
  10. Feed employees and show up. I’ve seen Executives literally serve happiness at employee Thanksgiving lunch.

For more inspiration and actionable ideas, watch my interview with Ryan Estis. His true stories will touch the core of your heart as he beautifully portrays a Starbuck barista, Lily, who “pours happiness” every day.

You’ll appreciate my interview even more by watching I’ll never forget that cup of coffee. Play it at your workplace and discuss it as a team as you’ll get people engaged and motivated to show up as their best selves.

Doing CX Right Reminders:

  • Small acts of kindness go a long way. “People may forget what you said or did, but never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
  • Employees are your heroes. If they don’t feel important, your customers will feel it.
  • Don’t wait for formal end of year reviews. If you’re not appreciating employees throughout the year, your competitors will. They’re searching for great talent.
  • Don’t overthink it. Thank people everywhere i.e. meetings, LinkedIn “kudos” posts, etc.
  • Be empathetic and sincere. Employees know when managers are “checking a box.” 

Employee Satisfaction and DoingCXRight Source: Ashley Johnson


What do YOU do show appreciation in authentic and meaningful ways?  

Check out >Doing CX Right®‬ podcasts for more inspiration and actionable tips about Doing Customer & Employee Experiences Right.

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman

How To Create & Lead A Customer-Centric Workplace

How To Create & Lead A Customer-Centric Workplace

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman

Stacy Sherman interviews Ashok RamachandranCEO and President at Schindler Elevator Corporation-India , known for leading organizations to achieve profitable success while building and maintaining a customer-centric workplace.



During the episode, you’ll hear and learn:

  • How to get employees to deliver customer excellence even when no one is watching
  • Proven tactics and skills to achieve revenue growth while leading with a heart
  • Examples of brands doing experiences right  that you can do too
  • How different generations (Gen X, Gen Z, etc) and cultures can better work together
  • What he’d tell his younger self if he could go back in time 

About Ashok Ramachandran

Highly passionate, customer-centric, and result-driven top talent general management professional with varied experience from leading business in mature markets to fast-growing developing markets. His achievements include developing and coaching talents, creating and driving strategy, sales management, end to end successful P & L Management, and achieving results in varied markets and environments

Linkedin here.
Twitter + Instagram  @ramachandran


Watch 1-minute preview

Transcript- Creating a & Leading a Customer-Centric Workplace

Stacy Sherman 00:04

Welcome to Doing CX Right a podcast where we discuss how to differentiate brands by doing customer experience right, and that’s fueled by happy, valued employees. I’m your host, Stacy Sherman, an author award-winning blogger and keynote speaker, passionate to help you humanize business to achieve real results.

On today’s episode, you’ll hear my guest, who is the president and CEO of Schindler, India, who Ibelieve is a great example of doing leadership right, not just checking boxes and saying what to do. He’s walking the talk and shares actionable tips to support your success no matter what country you reside or company you work for, let’s get on with the show.

Hello, Ash. I’m so happy to have you on my show today. Good morning. Good night to you and good morning to me.

Ashok Ramachandran 00:59

Yes, Good morning, Stacy. And wherever people are watching from. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. I hope everyone is healthy and safe.

Stacy Sherman 01:06

Exactly. Yes, that’s most important. I’m really happy to be talking to you today because you are a true, inspiring leader, both in the corporate world.

And also as a human being, who’s on a mission to inspire people. And I want to get to that because it’s all about experiences, employee experiences, customer experiences, and also we’reall working with different generations, gen Z, gen X, millennials, and so how do we all work together? So let’s dive deep and start with who are you? Tell listeners who you are and a fun fact.

Ashok Ramachandran 01:45

Sure. So, you know, I know when people asked me to introduce myself, I always say that my name is Ashok Ramachandran,, and I am here to create an army of leaders. And by the way, I happen to be the head of the Schindler operation in India, which for me is more of what I do more than why I do what I do.

So what I do is being running a company, but why do I do it to create an army of leaders? So that’s in a very brief nutshell, but just to give us a little bit more perspective, I was born and raised in India. And then I went to Australia to do my highest studies masters and then migrated to Australia.

So now I’m an Australian citizen expat rating in India with my family here. And, I’m, I’m enjoying running the organization here. A fun fact, a recent fun fact. I can call it that. About two months ago, I became a content sharing person. I don’t want to call myself content creator because I don’t have to create content.

I have a lot of content. I just need to share it with people. With the goal of helping, especially the 18 to 35 year olds who are impacted by pandemic severely. I was talking with one of my colleagues overseas in France. And she was in fact telling me that one of her neighbors daughtercommitted suicide in France because of COVID anxiety and stuff.

So I got a lot of people messaging me and asking me to share my wisdom, my experience, my knowledge to help them achieve success, become more stronger. So a recent fun fact is that I’m active on social media, sharing my experience and content to people to consume.

Stacy Sherman 03:42

So let’s break that apart for a second, cause that’s really powerful.

So one, you really know your, why. And so many people go through life, not really knowing why they do what they do. And so I love your sense of purpose and you’re a tremendous leader in a very important company. We happen to share that in common, the company, but it’s the fact thatyou, as a leader, are bringing your whole self to work.

Yeah. And that’s so important for leaders, anyone listening, and whether you have a leader in your title or not, you need to bring your whole self to work. So when you and I talked not long ago, you were on your way, or actually you had just finished going to some local offices. Talk about that because it’s a beautiful story about driving the employee culture.

Ashok Ramachandran 04:46

You know, I’m Stacy I’m sure you’ll agree that action in any organization doesn’t happen in a corner c-suite office. It doesn’t happen in that 46 floor overlooking Manhattan, you know, looking at the beautiful high-rises and maybe the water beyond that, I often believe that this is ivory tower that we can get stuck in.

So I’m a firm believer of being out there, talking to people. In fact, as the head of the company, I spend 70% of my time with people on people, topics, or along with people, because I firmly believe that, you know, when you drive people engagement or employee experience automatically you get customer experience, financial freedom, all kinds of results that you are trying to drive as an organization has achieved.

So of course, because the pandemic, I’m not able to do it too often, these days physically, but I happen to between some breaks of the COVID waves, I call it, when the wave took a break, I just need to do the break of the COVID wave and visit the nearest office, I could go and spend time with the team.

And usually we are used to doing business reviews. That’s what leaders do right? When you go to a branch. But this time my local regional head and myself decided to do something different. And what we did was we started the morning meeting 15 of his newly recruited talents who had just joined Schindler in the last three to six months.

And I got a chance to spend time with them, understanding their aspirations and goals and how can Schindler help them achieve their objectives. And after my team had arranged a workshop on the future of service business of elevators in India. And it was again, a group of experienced and young talents who were split into three teams and they had to present futuristic abilities of the service business. So it was again spent on talent discussions, innovation discussions. So I really enjoy it. And that’s all I did, you know, the whole day was spent on meeting them and then having lunch with the team. So my goal was to inspire them, to make them excited so that they can run the rest of the year chasing targets and numbers without feeling stress.

Stacy Sherman 07:11

Do you believe that culture starts at the top?

Ashok Ramachandran 07:14

All the time. There’s in fact, you know, a lot of people say, for example, Schindler is a great company. Or Schindler is a lousy company, whatever use objectives they use, what is Schindler? Schindler is not a person, right? It is not even a building.

In fact, if you think about it, it’s a paper registration, right? Schindler is a registered company under the companies act in various countries. So Schindler in US would be registered in the U S companies act or whatever is a local regulations as you call it. I often tell people what is Schindler? When you come and say, Schindler is so difficult or Schindler is so good. I said, it’s us. We are Schindler. You know, it is not an entity that we don’t know it. If you say that Schindler is not listening to people, look at yourself, are you listening to people? So that’s where anything has to be driven, whether it is employee culture or any culture, right. Customer culture. It’s always like that.

Right. What the boss wants. Everybody wants to do that.

So it’s that it is about the people. And that’s any listener anywhere you work. Big company or small company, it starts with. And that’s why I always say over and over again to everyone who will listen, you have a customer experience job, whether you realize it or not. And oftentimes people will say, no, I don’t. I’m the back office. I say, yes you do because what you do enables the frontline to be able to do what they do. Without you, they can’t. What are your thoughts?

You know, it reminds me Stacy of the good old story of NASA. I’m sure you know, this, you know, the guy who was sweeping the floors and NASA, when he was asked, what’s your job.

He said, I’m helping NASA to put a man on the moon.

Right. And, and that’s what it is. You know, if he can sweep the floors, clean people can come and have a good experience of working in Nasa. And then, it motivates them to get the technology required to put a man on the moon and that’s what the Americans did, like Neil Armstrong. So that’s what I’ve been.

I often talk about it, even in my intellect in India, for example, you know, we have people, we havehelpers, right? We have helpers at work who come and serve coffee and tea. You know, they arrange the rooms and which we don’t have the luxury in developed countries, so I often tell the person serving tea.

I said, you are as important as me. If you don’t serve tea and coffee to people on time, they’re not energized to continue working with full concentration so they can achieve the company’s objectives.

Stacy Sherman 10:03

I write and talk a lot about doing customer experience right, otherwise known as CX right. What does that mean to you? What best practices are you doing and leading others to do for customers? What does it mean to you?

Ashok Ramachandran 10:21

Doing CX Right starts with just listening to customers. If we can really and when I’m talking about listening, it’s not listening to reply, it’s listening to understand and you know, even yesterday, this happened. We were pitching to a new customer and this was a very big project coming up in Southern part of India. And my team started for the first 30 minutes, we were just going on and on and on about how good Schindler is. I would have liked the first half hour be thatwe started talking to them about the project, about questioning them, asking them to share. What are they looking for? What are their troubles? What are their past troubles? Then we go and pitch what we can do. Right? So we don’t do that enough. It’s about listening to understand what the customer needs. If you want to buy a digital screen, let’s say for example, you have a choice of iPhone, iPad, iMac. Now I can sell you an iMac because I will get a lot of money from you, but maybe you don’t need iMac.

Maybe you, all you need is an iPhone. So why do we not listen and understand what really the client wants? It starts from that. Right? And I think when you talk about doing CX right, 15 years ago, and now it’s completely changed, customer expectations are very, very different. So you need to understand what agenda we call as common core, but what I call as basics, you know, just do the basics, right? And a lot of people don’t even understand what is basic. We need to get that to understand, right? I mean, a customer calling you, for example, if you haven’t delivered a benchmark that you have said, they will call you to follow up. And a lot of times what we tend to do is to deflect the blame to them and blame it on something else rather than saying Yes, I’m doing it. And a lot of times it is as simple as communication, which we don’t like to do. Right. Bad news. So for example, you’ve called the plumber’s home. If he or she can’t make it at 10 o’clock, at least can they call you and tell you at 9 45 that they can’t make it, you know, maybe the car broke down, whatever.

I’ve heard these excuses people. Saying that, oh, you know, but I didn’t realize the petrol was going to be over. I didn’t realize my daughter had to be dropped in school. I’m like all that is fine, but just let me know, communicate with me. Talk to me, tell me what’s going on because I’m waiting for you. So for me, that’s the basic

Stacy Sherman 13:06

Yes.. And what I love doing is speaking to people in different roles and actually having them walk in the customer’s shoes and paint a picture and then say, how would you feel? How would you feel if your washing machine is broken and mechanic comes, walks right through your door, doesn’t say, hello, dressed inappropriately, drags mud on your floor. Does the job. Doesn’t tell you what was done, sends you a bill. How do you feel? It’s amazing when you put it in that context, people then get it, and like you said, and myself, you don’t need many degrees and academics to know that we must get the basics right.

Ashok Ramachandran 13:58

Is it the same in the US, like in India, you know, we have this corner shops. It’s now extinct getting extinct very quick, right? It’s not, I mean, there’s not a lot of them left anymore, but theseare, I think I’ve heard in Australia, for example, the good old bread and milk shops that used to be in your neighborhood, your neighborhood stores, the small stores, not the Walmarts and the, the big chain.

These guys, they know us so well. You know, they know your family, they know your brother, yoursister, where you’re studying. I mean, you know, I still, when I go back to Chennai where I grew up, the lady who used to sell flowers still is there, you know, she’s not become a grandmother. When I met her, when I was growing up, she was like a young girl.

Now she got married, she’s got a daughter who’s got married and she knows everything about us, right. That is customer service. And she’s not educated. She’s not even going to school.

Stacy Sherman 14:54

Yes. I love that example. So there are becoming less of those. They still exist, and we obviously need to support those local businesses at the same time like you said earlier, it’s about people. So even if it’s Starbucks, which is a corporate chain, but they are customer centric, you do walk in, especially locally they know before I walk in their door. I mean, the app is very intuitive. I walk in the door, they say, hello, if there’s a mistake, they don’t ask questions. They just do it over again. And the whole experience, which is why I pay extra than McDonalds. So the point to this, it’s a great topic because you can be a small local shop or you could be a big corporate brand. People are people, people buy from people they like and trust.

Ashok Ramachandran 15:54

Correct. Well, you mentioned about any best practices. I want to even not share as a best practice, but a very simple thing that I have implemented in my organization here. Every customer deserves a proactive communication at least once a month from us, not when there’s a problem when, when there’s no problem. And yesterday, in fact, one of my branch managers, Chad, shared a customer’s message. It was an angry customer a year ago. You know, he managed to fix the problems. But the funny thing is, after that every month he drops the customer a WhatsApp message. Just taking on the customer. Hey, Mr. Customer, is everything fine? Is there anything that is worrying you about the lifts that I need to be aware of?

So he was doing it every month. The customer is replying. Now two days ago here, again, messaged for this month for July. And the customer sent him leads for about 30, 40 elevators. You know, I mean, like that’s what I tell them, you know, just. Share even a small little message. Hey, Mr. Customer, I’m thinking of you. That’s all. And you saw that other day on LinkedIn. I posted about the salesperson, you know, the small, small things he used to do. Just drop a cake when it’s auntie Suzy’s birthday you know who’s a member of the building society. Small things go a long way. So that’s what I would call. I don’t even want to call it a best practice, but I want tocall it as basics that we can do really well.

Stacy Sherman 17:27

Yes. And I also call it humanizing business. It’s not hard. It doesn’t cost any money to say, thank you. It’s seconds to say thank you. It’s seconds to say. I haven’t forgotten about you. And I believe somebody today listening to this will actually do it and because it’s a low level of effort, as I like to say in customer experience metrics and such.

So, two more questions going back to gen Z, gen X, all these different generations. How do we work together because we are used to email, they don’t read email. They’re about texting and Snapchat and everything. So, what’s your views on how do we all work together because we canlearn from them and they can learn from us.

Ashok Ramachandran 18:22

I think the most important thing, Stacy is not to have any ego, any bias on, I know more than you and you know, more than me those days, you know, whenever you talk to these experienced people, they will start off with, or during my time and, and things like that.

Right? So this can be very irritating for the younger generation. And one of the things I’ve learned, Stacy is no one. Everybody is behaving. The way they are. That’s it. And what I mean by that, you know, the experiences that you have had, the upbringing that you have had, the life thatyou have experienced is molding your personality, you know, Indra, Nooyi the previous CEO of Pepsi worldwide, who lives in. I’m sure you must’ve heard of Nooyi. She speaks about this. That everyone is a victim of our upbringing, which means that. So let’s say that somebody feels that Stacy is, is a very angry person. Now it’s not like you wake up in the morning and decide that I’m going to be angry, right?

No one desides to be the way they are. It’s their life experiences. So if we have to survive and thrive, not only survive, I think we need to appreciate and look at people from a space of non-judgment from a space of acceptance. And then I think this will all close easily.

Stacy Sherman 20:00

I also love talking about diversity, inclusion, equity. I also going back to what you said about communication. We need to communicate the way others want to be communicated to. So we have to be mindful when we’re talking to older, younger generations. If we want to make a difference, we have to go and meet them where they want to be met.

So the last question today, cause I could go for hours with you. I love talking to you. If you could go back in time to your younger self, let’s say 20 years old. What would you tell you that you know now?

Ashok Ramachandran  20:42

I would tell myself to get a lot of life experiences, number one, and not try to box myself to do just one thing. And not to be impatient to try and get ahead in life.

I think this generation during at least my time, we were so much about getting a job and moving on today’s generation. I’m so envious. Right? They’re trying different things. They’re dabbling ondifferent things. They’re studying, they’re working, they’re doing a startup stuff. They’re on social media.

That’s the first thing. Right? Try different experiences. Never be shy of that. When you’re doing that, it’s about acquiring more skills, varieties of skills. I would tell my younger self to travel a lot and know the world break barriers of culture and everything else. Right. I mean, we need to be more worldly, I would say than I think the world’s becoming more and more parochial, which is a bit scary.

Right. There’s a lot of nationalistic spirit happening in every country in the world. Now everybodywants to kind of, you know, they say like, be in thereby Indian or be American by American. I think we need to be a bit more accepting of everyone. So that could be one another thing that I would like to tell myself, travel more, accept people, everyone, and try to, I think, try to live happyand not worry about tomorrow all the time.

Stacy Sherman 22:11

That’s beautiful. I would add one more thing, which is to pay attention, but don’t let the naysayers get in the way. The people that tell, you no. Be mindful. Cause there’s a lot out there. There’s more people that tell you no than celebrate your successes. And I’ve seen that over my lifetime. So I think that’s important for listeners because when there’s a will, there’s a way and being fearless yet sensitive to where you live and the political environment is smart.

Well, thank you so much for being with me today. And I know that our listeners are going to get so much value. Where can they find you after this session that they hear?

So they can find me on LinkedIn as , or they can find me on Instagram and Twitter as Ash Ramachandran. And I have a YouTube channel as well.

And, I will add the links in the show notes. So it’s easy. We’ll make it a low level of effort for people to find you. Have a wonderful day.

Ashok Ramachandran 23:26

Thank you so much for inviting me to this session. I hope the viewers are going to enjoy listening to us, and if they have any questions, they can connect with us and ask any followup questions.

Stacy Sherman 23:36

Thank you so much for joining today. I hope you will apply the lessons shared and also requesting if you would leave a review on apple. Head over to Doing CX Right to learn more waysto connect with me and improve your CX until next time. I’m Stacy Sherman, Doing CX Right.

Employee Retention Depends On Inclusion Not Just Diversity

Employee Retention Depends On Inclusion Not Just Diversity

Workplace diversity is VISIBLY on the rise as leaders understand having a diverse workforce is important internally, to customers, and overall business success. Inclusion, however, is NOT something we can always see and affects employee retention & mental health tremendously.

To help elevate employee feelings of inclusion and belonging, I’m taking actions of which YOU can do too. You don’t need the title “leader” in your job description to be one. You already are a champion and have the ability to drive more diversity and inclusion if you choose to use your human power. (Read this point again)  


Workplace Inclusion Best Practices For Managers:

  • Have personal conversations and not just one time. Get to know what’s important to each team member so you can continue to support and include each individual in ways that matter to them (not yourself).
  • Be transparent. Invite people to decision-making meetings & if you can’t for any reason, ‘close the loop’ and inform of outcomes.
  • Offer employees a ‘suggestion box’ to contribute ideas for improvement. Let them know you did something with their feedback.
  • Call out great work when presenting. Say individual names out loud as recognition of unique talents & perspectives feels good. People will do more when recognized and included.

What would YOU add to this list to enhance your employee experiences? Remember: when employees feel valued, appreciated, and included, the customer sees and feels it too. Employee experiences fuel customer experiences.


More Diversity and Inclusion tips from Harvard Business Review.

While published in 2018, the principles still apply.

To retain talent, most organizations offer the typical things: free coffee and tea in the break room, competitive benefits, generous raises and bonuses, and employee recognition programs. But none of that works for an employee who doesn’t feel comfortable in his or her work environment. Picture, for example, a Muslim who prays in his car because he doesn’t want to advertise his religion, a mother who doesn’t put up pictures of her children so that coworkers won’t question her commitment to the job, or a gay executive who is unsure whether he can bring his partner to company functions.

Employees who differ from most of their colleagues in religion, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and generation often hide important parts of themselves at work for fear of negative consequences. We in the diversity and inclusion community call this “identity cover,” and it makes it difficult to know how they feel and what they want, which makes them vulnerable to leaving their organizations.

Most business leaders understand the diversity part of diversity and inclusion. They get that having a diverse workforce is important to customers and critical to succeeding in a global market. It’s the inclusion part that eludes them — creating an environment where people can be who they are, that values their unique talents and perspectives, and makes them want to stay.

The key to inclusion is understanding who your employees really are. Three of the most effective ways to find out are survey assessments, focus groups, and one-on-one conversations. To be effective, however, they must be approached in a way that accounts for the fact that people — particularly those in underrepresented groups — can be more difficult to get to know than we think. Here are some best practices for getting to the heart of who your employees really are:

Segment employee engagement survey results by minority groups.

Many organizations conduct employee engagement surveys, but most neglect to segment the data they collect by criteria such as gender, ethnicity, generation, geography, tenure, and role in the organization. By only looking at the total numbers, employers miss out on opportunities to identify issues among smaller groups that could be leading to attrition, as the views of the majority overpower those of minorities.

In 2015, for example, women constituted 52% of the new associate class at global law firm Baker McKenzie, but only 23% of the firm’s 1,510 partners. To find out what was keeping women from advancing to senior roles, I asked our researchers to segment the results of a firm-wide engagement survey to examine responses from women lawyers. Based on that data, we learned that many of the firm’s women associates didn’t want to be partner nearly as much as their male counterparts.

That prompted us to launch a follow-up survey to find out why, which revealed four things that would make partnership more attractive to women: more flexibility about face time and working hours, better access to high-profile engagements, greater commitment to the firm’s diversity targets, and more women role models. Those four things became the basis for an action plan that included, for example, a firm-wide flexible work program that promoted remote working. By 2018, the percentage of women promoted to partner had risen to 40%, up from 26% in 2015.

Use independent facilitators to conduct focus groups.

Focus groups are another way to gain deeper insight into what employees care about and the issues that may be causing frustration and burnout.

One company-wide employee engagement survey conducted by a $15 billion food company showed that the employees in the Canada office had much lower work-life integration satisfaction scores than those in other countries. After conducting a series of focus groups to find out why, we discovered that many employees were receiving emails from their managers on weekends and feeling obligated to respond even when their managers told them not to until Monday.

We also learned that the leaders in that office were often tied up in meetings all week and used the weekends to catch up on email. When we asked the employees for solutions, they suggested banning emails on weekends and not having any meetings on Fridays so that managers could use that time to catch up on correspondence. After the office implemented these new policies, employees reported being happier and less stressed when the survey was conducted a year later.

These groups are best facilitated by an outside company or trusted diversity and inclusion professionals who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome so that employees can speak freely.

The road to retention

In an ideal world, all leaders would be adept at understanding their employees and making sure they didn’t lose any through neglect or ignorance. In the real world, however, most aren’t tuned into the factors that can get in the way of knowing what’s important to employees both individually and collectively. Tools such as segmented engagement surveys, focus groups, and personal conversations can guide management in taking the actions that will help keep their talent engaged and committed to the organization. The first step in retaining more employees is to use these tools.

My Final Words:


Keep having uncomfortable conversations, and get more educated about Diversity and Inclusion.


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