Happy employees, happy customers - This is what we keep discussing with managers and students, not only in the context of human resources, but also regarding internal marketing. As its name suggests, internal marketing focuses on the interior of the company, treating the employees as customers. Keeping employees well-informed, involved, and motivated has been proven to help them promote the company’s products and goals. It has also been shown that satisfied and happy employees are able to ultimately offer better customer value. It is not for charitable purposes that major companies, such as Google, ensure not only a great working environment for their employees, but also treat them as if they are the most important employees in the world, and with all the benefits and personal perks offered on the job.

In this context, it is surprising how many companies have been aggressively criticizing the regulations regarding the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. While it is expected for businesses to avoid and fight any additional taxes and expenses, this is related directly not only to the welfare of their employees, but also to the performance of business. Surprisingly, even some major companies from the food industry, including a well-known pizza chain, where employee health could be considered essential, have come forward complaining about the obligation to offer health care to their employees. While many managers might perceive employees with health issues as not being a major problem, especially if the company does not offer any paid sick days, they are, unfortunately, overlooking the importance of internal marketing and of treating employees as customers if we want them to perform their best. Moreover, if a company publicly shows disinterest in the welfare of their employees, why would I believe, as consumer, that they would care in any greater measure about their customers?

We obviously do not live in a socialist society that offers free universal healthcare or other similar social benefits. However, offering employees the opportunity to benefit from health insurance and other perks, even on their own dime, can improve their health, job performance and motivation.

Healthy employees, happy customers!

Maria Petrescu, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at mpetresc@nova.edu