You probably know that a large part of innovation comes from understanding your customers' behaviors and needs and then designing new solutions for them. Sometimes, however, your most innovative ideas may have nothing to do with customers at all. That is the case with the Hilton Hotels' latest upgrades.

The mission of Hilton Hotels is to be the most hospitable company in the world. The company spends millions of dollars on providing comfortable lobbies, dining rooms, and other guest amenities. However, up until recently, employees, experienced a different Hilton than that of their guests -- kitchens are chaotic and break rooms are furnished with broken chairs and other discards from guest rooms.

The company has realized that in order to realize its customer-driven mission, it first needs to focus on the experience of its employees. "Our mission is to be the most hospitable company in the world, and you can't do that without great people, and you can't get great people without being a great workplace," Hilton's chief human resources officer reported to Quartz. Now focused on internal upgrades like overhauling back-of-house cafeterias and locker rooms, the company is spending as much as $100,000 on improving staff experience at each hotel.

Hilton isn't the only company turning internally to improve its external offering. Costco, Starbucks, JetBlue, Trader Joe's, and Walmart are all part of the growing number of companies who have recognized that investing in employee experience improves the customer experience, while also reducing costs and improving revenue for the business.

Especially for small businesses with limited resources, it is natural to focus your efforts to delivering an excellent product or service to your customers. But as demonstrated by organizations like the Hilton, sometimes the best thing you can do for your customers is to briefly ignore them and focus on your employees.

Published on: Apr 6, 2018
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