Canadian Pizza Magazine

Treat your employees like rock stars

By Shep Hyken   

Features Business and Operations Customer Service customer service

When you treat employees like rock stars, they will treat your customers like rock stars, writes customer service expert Shep Hyken. That is what employee engagement is all about.

Great leaders have preached that when you treat your employees well, they treat their customers – and fellow employees well. My friend and fellow customer experience expert, James Dodkins, has a great way of saying it:

If you want to put your customers first, you need to put your employees first, first.

Dodkins is the author of 136 Ideas for Rockstar Employee Engagement, and he knows a thing or two (or 136) about how employee morale and fulfillment impact the customer experience. He also knows about being a rock star, as in his “past life” he toured the world as a guitarist in a heavy metal band. Like rock stars connect with their audiences, leadership must connect with their employees. The goal is engaged employees who never want to leave.


I had a chance to interview Dodkins for Amazing Business Radio, and he shared several ideas on how to just that.

Meet and Greets: If you want your employees to feel like rock stars, have them meet their “fans,” also known as customers. It will help them understand the impact they have on their customers. Seeing the customers they affect can be transformative. Let your employees know that what they do on a day-to-day basis is positively affecting other people’s lives.

Fan Mail: Send a letter to the employee’s family, explaining how they contribute to the team and how important and valuable that person is to the organization. This is a great way to show your appreciation.

Give Them Their Solo: At some point in a rock concert, all the musicians are given recognition and their chance to solo. Dodkins’ twist on this is to have internal TED Talks. You may have seen a TED Talk on YouTube – or even in person. Dodkins suggests an internal companywide Ted Talk type of event for employees to share what they do in the company. These don’t have to be 15 or 20 minutes, like typical Ted Talks. They can be short three or four-minute presentations. And, this isn’t just for the leadership. This is an opportunity for everyone. And, beyond sharing what they do for the company, let them share something they think will benefit everyone else.

One of my favorite lines Dodkins shared in our interview really sums up his feelings about creating the rockstar culture, where people love working for their company: “If you engage with your employees rationally, they’ll take the job. But if you engage with them emotionally, they’ll stay for life.”

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, visit For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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