The Human Touch Will Decide the Success of Businesses in 2023
On my recent trip going back home to the UK, I witnessed the excellent and the not-so excellent when it comes to interacting with people working in their current employment. I was on the London underground, with my partner and step daughter, with six pieces of heavy luggage. We were on our way to the airport. Admittedly, I got lost, went through the wrong exit and a very rude lady who worked there was visibly frustrated and frustrated with me going through the wrong door. We exchanged words, I tried to apologize but her behavior wasn’t great. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and put it down to her having a bad day. But what I did notice was that her communication was poor and her carefree attitude was highly noticeable. It wasn’t that she wasn’t good at her job – I could clearly see tiredness and a sense of discontent; she was almost ready to give up.
On the other hand, I also witnessed excellence. On our visit to London, we went to the Ritz hotel, which has a world-class reputation for fine dining and overall excellence, for a traditional afternoon tea.
Arriving there, I’d inadvertently forgotten my suit. A suit is compulsory when eating in the restaurant at the Ritz. I was a little horrified that I carelessly forgot. The look on my face must have been obvious. It was no trouble to the fabulous people there at the reception. They took away my fears by communicating with me and solved the problem within a blink of an eye by lending me a suit. That was totally surprising. They led me into the cloakroom, measured me up and before you knew it, I was relaxed, sitting, eating and enjoying my experience. Needless to say, I was extremely grateful to the professionalism and excellence of the entire staff.
What did I learn from this experience, apart from not forgetting my suit? That excellence is a must. But what really stood out was that every single person who worked there had a genuine desire to be great. They were happy, willing, professional and it was plain to see that the company’s focus wasn’t just satisfying its clients, you could see that its people were looked after. The company's focus was to look after its customers and also its people – the human touch.
Their human touch led me to reminisce and to think that businesses must realize that to be successful in 2023 and beyond, we must apply the human touch to our people. We must and should put our people first when it comes to growing our businesses and gaining a world-class reputation. If you look after your people, your business will be taken care of.
It's how we interact and how we take care of people. The question I could ask you is, are you putting your people first?
Most executives know that we must take a holistic approach when running our businesses. We know that in most cases, we have to take a mechanical approach, making sure that our businesses are finely tuned and all in sync. Are our departments working closely together? Is our accounts department working well with our sales department? Is our customer service department working well with our sales agents?
Mostly, it involves our people. The functionality of how well a business performs comes from its people; the quality of a company is a reflection of its CEO, therefore, the focus must be its people.
You don’t have to look too far to read about how we should put people first or how to develop a world- class team and a culture of excellence. But I have to confess: I'm not really seeing it at the moment. In fact, I’m sorry to say, it has gotten worse.
What do I mean?
Well, I see a lot of businesses. From going to a restaurant, to speaking with a member of staff at an airport, to engaging with a bus driver, to interacting with businesses that you and I use every day. And in most cases – I'm seeing many companies that are not as excellent as they could and should be.
I honestly believe that we’ve lost focus on attention to detail when it comes to helping people become world-class and the ability to put people first by engaging with them when it comes to training and trying to put their needs first. A happy person is a productive person and if you repeat this, you are left with a hungry, positive culture that wants to do well, that shines through to clients and customers.
Many of the people I see today lack enthusiasm, are discontented from their work and disengaged. Therefore, I think the success of businesses today will heavily depend on how well a company looks after its people.
We live in a world where there are many choices. And with the labor crisis, many people now are more selective in their career choices. They expect more, want more and feel that they deserve more. Whether a person deserves more is not for me to say;, however, I do think that the present and next generation will require more focus on their well-being and their mental health and companies will need to out-compete their competitors to hire the best people.
The 25-year-old person of the past is way different from the 25-year-old person of today; therefore, it makes sense to fulfill their needs and desires.
People’s expectations have changed so vastly that now, companies must do more to retain and make people more engaged and happier. I believe that in order to do this, their people have to come first. Of course, customers and clients still need to be at the center of everything. But happy employees will make customers happy – it's a two-way thing.
Being excellent isn’t just about showing up on time each day; it’s about a commitment to being excellent. A commitment to stand out from the crowd with distinction. Your business must do everything it can to stand out and be the preferred choice – to do business with but also to work for.