Everyone knows that Labor Day honors the American Labor Movement and is considered the “unofficial end of summer,” but the actual history behind the holiday isn’t something we talk about at our parties, parades, and picnics. So, I looked to History.com to get back up to speed on the facts. These three points caught my eye:
- The average employee worked seven days a week for 12 hours a day to earn a living during the height of the Industrial Revolution.
- Five- and six-year-old children were working in factories and mines across the US, often doing comparable work to adults but earning wages that were much less.
- After years of riots and strikes organized to protest unsafe and unfair work conditions, Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, signed into law by President Grover Cleveland
Glancing around my own work environment, with its comfortable seating, free coffee, and brightly lit rooms, I can’t help but think about how far we’ve come and how much has changed with work over the years. No, I’m not employed by a factory or a mine, but thinking generally about what work was like in the 1800s, what it’s like now, and what it will be in the future is rather fascinating.
Kronos CEO Aron Ain said this in an interview published by Workforce last year:
“People think having the magic product will make all the difference. The problem is you can’t deliver great products without great people. People say what comes first, the chicken or the egg, and in my world, what comes first is great people. It’s crystal clear.” – Aron Ain
What I can confidently assume was not communicated about openly or emphasized in the 1880s was the idea of creating a positive experience for employees so that they are happy and empowered to pass along a positive experience to the customers they work with. My point is that the way we think about work is changing. Today, it’s first about people, then about products. As Aron’s quote suggests, success will come if you have a happy and engaged workforce made up of great people.
Experience and people have become two of the most important workplace-related words from a Kronos perspective. Keeping customers happy and ensuring they have a positive experience are priorities for any growing business or organization, and in order to achieve that, it all comes back around to your employees and their experience working with you.
However, what you don’t want to do is focus too heavily on one and do a disservice to the other, meaning there must be a balance between employee engagement and customer experience. Earlier this year, I interviewed two strategic advisors in Kronos Advisory Services about labor in relation to experience. Check them out to learn more!
When the Stars Align: Labor Hours & the Retail Customer Experience: Customer experience and employee engagement are both important aspects of your business model, and it's a strategic process to achieve the right balance between them. In this podcast, retail Advisory Services expert Jon Souzis talks about how retailers can deliver employee satisfaction along with outstanding customer service.
Playing Favorites? Balance Customer and Employee Needs: Although many factors contribute to the customer experience, there is one element that is common to all — store labor hours. Kronos retail strategic advisor Steve Strohecker discusses how aligning your labor model with a customer experience strategy helps build customer loyalty.