Tips for Successful Operations Leaders: Put People First

By Sean Lewis, Senior Vice President Operations, Harland Clarke Holdings
Published Friday, Aug 12, 2016

Tips for Successful Operations Leaders: Put People First

Today, businesses are competing for customers who have more choice on where to shop and what to buy than ever before. The result: product and service providers must continuously innovate and differentiate themselves and their offerings to attract and retain loyal customers. Loyalty, a measure of a customer's commitment based on their degree of satisfaction, is earned through delivery of reliable, high quality products and services that consistently provide a positive customer experience. Because acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining existing customers, delivering a positive customer experience is a main key to a successful business.

Why is this important? Because reliably delivering a positive customer experience requires leaders to invest in people, processes and technology. A lack of focus in any of these areas can lead to a sub-optimized value stream between you and your customer, resulting in waste, defects, and ultimately, customer attrition.  While people, process and technology are all interdependent, in a rapidly evolving operational environment full of data and technology, people are the critical component for bringing them all together.

As labor market tighten, leaders are faced with the increasing challenge of attracting new people while retaining their existing talent pool. By providing a positive employee experience, leaders can economically retain key talent while simultaneously developing and maintaining a positive work environment. The bottom line: leaders play a unique role within the people, process and technology equation, setting a tone through their actions and words.

Here are a few tips to help leaders retain talent while developing and maintaining a positive workplace culture:

  • Provide an environment that appreciates and promotes diversity and inclusion through open and honest communication
  • Foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration
  • Invest in employees’ skill development
  • Identify and develop employee strengths
  • Promote innovation by inspiring and rewarding creative thought
  • Build trust through ongoing feedback and engagement
  • Provide career growth opportunities

Taking these tips into account will allow leaders and employees to thrive, customer acquisition and loyalty to grow, and a positive workplace culture to emerge- all with people as the focus of a rewarding operational landscape.