The Importance Of Humanizing Your Business

How "human" are you? At work, do you care more about profits or people? In sales, are you and the company more interested in making quota or taking care of customers?

Unfortunately, the typical business today appears to care more about its profits and quotas than the people it serves. So, how do we strike a balance and make companies more human?

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we'll share these tips from John Waid, founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting—a company that offers consultancy-based sales, management and leadership training using the culture-driven framework—on how companies and sales teams, specifically, can balance culture with making profit.

The intense pressure that companies undergo for short-term gains is what leads to a focus on profits over people, he says. This focus also causes people to be hired who will most likely generate greater profits. For instance, if you're interviewing two qualified salespeople and one has an impressive history of customer service, but moderate conversion rates, while the other has decent customer service skills but excellent conversion rates, the latter prospect will likely be hired. This results-driven employee culture is understandable from a profit standpoint, but it can cause managers to constantly pressure their employees to generate profits at any cost, which can lead to the dehumanization of organizations.

Waid offers a key example: Company A was performing well with its employees and profits, and decided it needed to undergo a higher rate of growth. The top decision-makers hired a tyrannical, micro-manager to lead the business, with a finance person as second-in-charge. These leaders immediately started eliminating employee benefits and perks they saw as superfluous, like holiday parties and incentive trips, and began to see people as numbers in a spreadsheet instead of value creators. Expectedly, this change drove the top-performing employees to leave the company. But instead of seeing the turnover as a major red flag, the leaders saw it as a gift—they could replace these people with employees who were younger and less expensive to compensate, allowing them to save money while acquiring fresh talent. The employees were no longer valued; they were expendable.

Company A is now performing at half the capacity as it once was, in terms of profits, earnings and employees, with valued employees departing in droves. This company went from great to mediocre as a result of bleeding out its humanity. If you remove the humanity from a company. the humanity will leave— literally— along with profits.

Here are a few practical ways to balance humanity with profit.

1. Live the people-first mentality. Focus on employees first, customers second and profits third. If your employees are happy, they're more likely to perform better, which influences customer service. And if your customers are happy, you'll have a successful product or service, which, in turn, generates more revenue. Think of this as a three-step domino effect.

2. Focus on the values and behaviors (culture) of your people and hire and fire for it. Select people for attitude and train for aptitude. Become a culture-driven company.

3. Provide a transcendent purpose (other than money) and let this and your culture drive you. Develop a company-wide mission and ensure this is communicated to all staff.

The same approach can be taken with your sales team, specifically. Often salespeople are dehumanized because of the "do what it takes to get the sale" mentality, which can come across as aggressive and not sincere. Here are some tips to help salesforces to become more human while growing profits.

1. Sales managers, who are already skilled at holding people accountable, should also focus on leading and coaching. Strive to create a sales culture instead of merely a sales process.

2. Focus on coaching your salespeople and encouraging them with specific praise. Dramatically minimize the urge to just talk quotas. Discuss strategies geared toward achieving desired results.

3. Salespeople are still people. Treat them this way and encourage them to treat their customers that way. Customers want to buy from salespeople they like. Respect, trust and support should be emphasized and practiced.

Start focusing on culture as much as you do on strategy, structure and processes for better results with people and profits.

Source: John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a company that offers consultancy-based sales, management and leadership training through the culture-driven framework. Waid is also a keynote speaker and the author of the book, Reinventing Ralph. With a specialty and passion for corporate culture, sales and global business, he believes culture is the engine that drives companies to better results, higher morale and increased profitability.

filed under December 2018
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