Key stakeholders of a company are its shareholders, customers and its employees. Businesses are organized for the benefit of its shareholders. Nevertheless, the question of corporate priorities and which one should come first, second, or last – is a never ending debate.
From a company board and business order of priority perspective the answer would be shareholder because a company exist on its ability to attract shareholders to invest in their business. So shareholders should come first.
Another point of view remains that at the end of the day it is about customers. A customer is the one who pays both employees and shareholders. And a business that can lead to happy and loyal customers due to its focus on customers – drive the growth of the business. A growing business – lead to happy employees and happy shareholders. So you could say Customers come first.
Another point of view remains that a company need employees first who are motivated to use their skill and knowledge in creating happy (and repeat) customer experience that earn value on behalf of the shareholder. In that context – taking care of employees is more important that lead to happy customers and increase in shareholder value.
Bottom line all 3 stakeholders in a company are interrelated. And in a healthy business these should be aligned. Taking care of employees and having a good people strategy is key to the success of customers; having happy and loyal customers is key for a growing business; and having a growing business is a key for shareholders to seek return they expect on their investment; and having a company that attract investment is key in having financially strong company that can provide safe future to its employees.
What do you say?