The Empty Chair

The empty chair mantra has caught on at many companies starting with Amazon. Jeff Bezos alludes to the customer who needs representation, so the idea is to keep an empty chair in every meeting.

What if the empty chair also became a civic lesson for companies to give back. What if the empty chair was kept for disadvantaged youth, for the homeless, or for the stranger who’s terminally ill.

I helped with a recent program focused on customer experience and social impact. I couldn’t help but think about the empty chairs there representing those who may never get the chance to ascend the lofty heights of SF. At the same time, I felt gratitude towards the inspiring speakers and sponsors for shedding light on customer experience, employee experience, and volunteerism.

It’s why corporate social responsibility has become the primary reason younger generations chose an employer in the first place. I believe the more a company aligns social impact to its mission statement, the more likely it is to survive in the long term. Companies like Salesforce, DocuSign, Zendesk, and Medallia clearly understand what’s at stake. The employee who cares about the empty chair is a keeper.