“We don’t even have to do a whole lot of recruiting,” says Perritano, vice president of field operations.
It’s an instant edge: Perritano spends no money on classified ads, doesn’t spend hours rifling through résumés from a giant job board, and doesn’t have to prescreen candidates quite so strenuously. She figures she saves $1,500 per hire.
But the real advantage isn’t the savings; it’s her edge in the marketplace.
Customers simply make better employees. Studies show that they’re less likely to be fired, they stay longer and they out sell employees who were never customers. Most of all, they serve as evangelists for the products they use and enjoy.
Potential pitfalls: 1. Losing a loyal customer if the process goes south; and 2. failing to let customers know what they’re getting into. (The employee experience isn’t as dazzling as the customer experience.)
Even so, it’s worth the risk to find those truly devoted employee customers. You still have to train them, says Perritano, “but you can’t train passion.”
— Adapted from “Shop Our Store! Or Better Yet, Why Not Work Here?" Alison Stein Wellner, Workforce Online, www.workforce.com.
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