Employers: Make Hay While the Sun Shines

The news that Chancellor George Osborne has criticised employers who are seeking to offset the cost of the National Living Wage by cutting so-called staff perks comes as no surprise – but it does point to a fundamental failure of many businesses to embrace the opportunity that is in front of them.

And while the news that UK unemployment rose last month – whilst wage growth remains below expectations – tends to reinforce the view that there may be tough times just around the corner for the economy, I’d suggest that this is the very moment that smart employers should be looking to invest in their people.


Because, when the economy turns down, and investment in capital projects is likely to be deferred, the people who deliver your Customer Experience are the one asset you can’t afford to put on the backburner.

The sun is shining – however temporarily – and now is the time to prepare to make hay.

Last week I arrived for a meeting in a smart London hotel. My colleagues had already been there for an hour, having ordered and drunk coffee. In the following hour, not one team member approached us: I wasn’t offered coffee, and my colleagues weren’t offered a refill.

There were four of us – so the hotel missed the opportunity to make a sale of at least £20.

Multiply that missed opportunity by the number of covers in the building, and by the number of hours in the day, and by the number of days in the week…

You get the idea.STARS Customer Experience Model

Every customer-facing business has the opportunity to identify and unlock the latent profit potential in its team – and that’s just the first step. By using my STARS model to analyse the total Customer Experience, I can help you identify latent profit in every customer interaction.

In other words – I can help you turn your “payroll cost” into realised potential.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.

The sun is shining – now’s the time to make hay!

Stephen Spencer is a keynote speaker, business coach and consultant, helping organisations create better Customer Experiences to unlock team and profit potential. He has over 25 years’ experience as a leader, trainer and experience developer with some of the UK’s most prestigious Retail, Tourism and Hospitality brands. Sign up for Stephen’s POSITIVE Customer Experience newsletter here.

6 thoughts on “Employers: Make Hay While the Sun Shines

  1. Our entire business is based on investment in people, Stephen, so, like you, of course employers who miss this opportunity are going to fall behind commercially in some way or another. But then, if one is unaware, or unmotivated by an opportunity of investment in people that equates to returns for the business, then I can’t personally think of any government intervention that will help. Can you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment QJ: It’s strange to me that the government apparently has a productivity agenda; however I’m not sure that they (or indeed, many employers) are clear on what productivity actually means!

      As I’ve posted previously, productivity doesn’t [only] mean doing more with less, it means doing more with what you have. In other words, stop seeing “payroll” as a sunk cost, start seeing it as an investment – and as with any investment, you need to nurture and develop your asset over a sustained period.

      There’s evidence that employees will be motivated by the National Living Wage – i.e. if their basic pay increases – however if their hours, perks and or jobs are cut as a result the beneficial effect to employers will soon be lost.

      I’ve been involved in some discussions with VisitBritain and People 1st around how it might be possible to create a positive buzz around the concept of giving great service, showcasing our great country, and developing sustainable, rewarding careers. You can read about it here: https://issuu.com/tourismsociety/docs/tourism_164_spring_2016_-_final/14

      At the moment though, I think it’s very much a question of individual employers recognising the benefits of investing in and nurturing their people. Persuading them to do so is the mission I’m on, and I believe you are too!


  2. Hi Stephen, Are you suggesting that a) restoring/improving benefits for these hotel employees would somehow improve service because the staff had higher morale, b) better training for the staff on how their behavior ultimately influences their employment would improve service because they would realize the consequence of their behavior, c) a commission/incentive based process paying the service personnel would cause better service because the employees would make more money immediately if they sold something; d) switching to a US model of compensating the service personnel (very low wages but 15% to 20% tipping from the customers based upon cost of the order is expected) because income would be directly dependent upon sales as well as quality of service? Ron


    1. Thanks for your comment Ron: I’d say yes to your (a) and (b)!

      As to financial incentives, studies repeatedly show that there are much more powerful, non-financial incentives such as employees feeling supported, able to do their best work, having opportunities to develop, and being recognised for their contribution.

      So it’s essentially about the culture of the organisation – is it what I call POSITIVE (https://stephenspencerassociates.com/2015/11/30/so-what-would-be-unique-about-a-positive-business-plan/), is it coherent, is it congruent with the organisation’s stated mission, vision and values?

      As to tipping – I”m watching with interest the pioneering initiative by the NYC restaurateur Danny Meyer, who has abolished tipping in his restaurants in favour of an enhanced pay rate so that all employees are able to be rewarded for their individual contribution. You can read about this here: http://www.esquire.com/food-drink/restaurants/news/a40218/danny-meyer-tipping/


      1. Hi Stephen, You have an interesting model. Would enjoy seeing some success stories in future blogs. I am familiar with the NYC pilot project and am also interested in seeing how it works out. Ron

        Liked by 1 person

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