Employees First, Customers Second (Nayar, 2010)

Employees First, Customers Second: Turning conventional management upside down (Nayar, 2010)

“Usually business books focus on the what,” says Stacey Randall. “This book is focused on the how – the process.” Employees First, Customers Second is a vehicle for transparency in an organization. Nayar describes the process utilized by his company, HCL, to create a successful business practice across four steps:

  • Mirror, Mirror: Defining where we are as a group of employees and building desire for change.
  • Trust Through Transparency: The organization builds internal credibility through open communication with employees.
  • Inverting the Organizational Pyramid: accountability is no longer hierarchical, but rather systemic.
  • Recasting the Role of CEO: creating sustainable change at the top.

Nayar inverted the “knowledge is power” model, says Randall, by providing financial data to all employees, utilizing internal social media platforms to answer questions about the company, and giving frank answers with full information to any employee who requested it. Employees in the organization flourished. Customers responded.

One criticism of this book is that it is a case study of  successful organizational change, absent of the pitfalls of a failed attempt. The communication structures in an organization have unique issues that could be informed by this model.

  • Overall response: A practical book by and for change agents in management. Can flipping the model work for every organization? Yet to be determined.

About Digital Media Book Club: In the growing field of strategic communication, social media rockstars, academics, and digital thinkers are investing time and energy to share their learning with others. In my Strategic Communication classes, students in the Master of Arts in Organizational and Strategic Communication program in the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte are sifting through a variety of texts to discover the embedded wisdom. These are their thoughts and reactions.

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