However, one Melbourne CEO openly admits that in his business the customer comes second, and makes staff satisfaction his number one priority.
His name is Michael Patishman, the CEO of BizTECH Enterprise Solutions.
With clients including Australia’s big four banks, some of Australia and New Zealand’s largest universities, government agencies and telecommunications providers, his strategy is obviously working.
Patishman started out in a training management scheme at Brash’s Electronics where he developed a foundation style and methodology for working with people. Moving up the chain, he started bulk-selling computers and networking devices to industry heads and corporations.
“I’ve always been a keen observer of people. I noticed my colleagues in the IT sector were buckling under their massive workloads. I had a background in martial arts and I knew my training helped me manage stress,” he said.
And he knew it could for others too.
Patishman worked with a business partner to create Azure Training and Development, a training program that used a mix of Eastern philosophies and Western science to combat workplace fatigue and stress management – and with great results. The program proved to increase productivity by 20%.
In terms of his somewhat unconventional business philosophy, and strategy, Patishman reassured that his customers are indeed valued.
“Don’t get me wrong – my customers of course are very important, but I have had a long-held view that the key to a business’s success is its people,” he said.
“So I ask my people: ‘Is this the best job you’ve had?’ – and if they don’t answer ‘yes’, we work out how we can make this happen.”
Patishman pointed out that this sometimes means more flexible working hours, more responsibility, international working opportunities, or something entirely different.
“I value open and honest working relationships with my staff and I find that tailoring workplace benefits to the person is the best way to cultivate a strong team,” he said.
‘If you have an idea, raise it’
Patishman said an important factor in effective L&D is allowing learners to feed into, or raise, learning opportunities themselves.
“Most people are very receptive to learning and development but you see the real results when given the opportunity to feed into or raise the learning opportunity themselves,” he said.
“We have an open policy – if you have an idea, raise it, nine times out of ten, we’ll be completely behind it.”
Patishman said he also highly values learning from within.
“We work with the best of the best, with so much expertise in one office. I encourage our staff to learn from one another as much as they can – be it in a casual setting or something more formal,” he said.
“Finally, ensuring someone is responsible for looking after your people and culture is integral to maintaining a thriving workplace, one of the best things we’ve done is hiring a Head of People and Culture.”
What matters most to your learners?
Organisations not seeing L&D impact
‘Customer Service’ is a term bandied around so often the words have all but lost their meaning. Companies with the highest level of complaints and customer dissatisfaction still claim that ‘customer service’ is their highest priority.