You may have heard that Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware, recently sent a company wide email to employees.  To his credit, Freidman does this when he wants to communicate to every member of his organization on important matters.   Communication between leaders and frontline employees can be relatively rare, so kudos to Friedman for trying.  But what struck many about this particular email penned about a month after RH reported dismal FY15, Q4 results, was its tone.  Let’s just say there were a lot of CAPITALS and a clear sense of urgency and ultimatums.  No doubt Friedman was frustrated, and many have weighed in on whether his email displayed effective leadership and/or knowledge of sound customer engagement.
Independent of your POV, let me state the obvious – his communication was an experience and a bad experience at that.  Employees are customers, too, with their own emotional lives that don’t get checked at the door when they arrive at work.  And those emotions influence their performance.  Moreover, an essential way to improve flagging customer experience is to make sure you are not taking your own employees for granted.  Communication is about (and should foster) communion – even when there are difficult things to be said.  Being mindful about the experience you are creating and the emotional factors at play go a long, long way to creating the opportunity for engagement and resolution rather than fear and recrimination.  Good or bad, customer experiences are inevitably affected by the experiences companies create for their employees – and those experiences begin at the top.