“…I believe that any approach to communication can be used to some success. The most important thing is that one approaches their employees in the first place.”
We interviewed the CEO of ServicePlus Home Warranty, David Seruya, and asked a couple of burning questions about his methods for encouraging his employees. A full transcript of the interview has been provided below:
Today, we’re going to be asking a couple of key questions regarding important business processes. But, to keep the first question simple, let’s start with an introduction!
David Seruya: Of course, of course! Ask away. As for the introduction… My friends call me David or Dave, I’ve lived in the US all my life, and I was raised by a family who paid very close attention to my growth and development as a child.
It’s thanks to that attention that I was able to start my own business when I was in my mid-20s. And, later on, become the founder and CEO of ServicePlus Home Warranty.
There are some people that prefer to work individually for the sake of increasing their productivity. While others thrive more in group settings. Are you a part of the former or latter group?
David Seruya: I’m the type to thrive in group settings. I like talking to people. And, as a leader, it gives me a clear sense of who they are and what seats they should be placed in. This type of mentoring just so happens to also be good for encouraging their development and refining my own skills, so it’s something I’m uncomfortable letting go of.
As for the matter of working alone… As a CEO, I of course have my own responsibilities to work on in my own time, but from the start, I’ve preferred to work with or along with people.
What’s one issue that you recently dealt with while working in a team and how did you deal with it? (Bonus question: What lesson did you learn from this experience?)
David Seruya: Recently, I hired new staff that I had high expectations of. Things were a bit busy, so I wasn’t able to do my usual mentoring, but I saw that they worked efficiently and so focused on other things for a while.
But, the next time I looked, I found out that their efficiency dropped down a lot! When looking at such a situation, I think it’s fair that I became frustrated and confused, especially when they had been working so well before!
In any case, while some people might just push that person aside as a procrastinator of dubious worth, I brought the person in for a chat to solve the situation. And, to my surprise, the reason for the delay was because they didn’t know how to ask how to perform a new task that had been handed to them. Suffice to say, this was easy enough to resolve, but I was once again reminded of the importance of open communication.
Nowadays, businesses lend a lot of credibility to hard data. Are you the kind of person who remains consistently meticulous about results or someone to act on your instincts?
David Seruya: It’s a bit of both for me. To give you an example, when we’re hiring new employees, I’m the type of person that will actually go digging through the candidate’s references in order to learn all that I can about said candidate’s abilities. This type of action is my first approach, and I do prefer it. However, when doing interviews, there are times when I’ll act on my gut instincts and hire someone straightaway.
A balance of both data and instinct is best, I think. After all, there are some things that data doesn’t show you. And, sometimes, you have to take a gamble in order to move forward.
What kind of feedback do you prefer to give to your employees? Do you take the hard or soft approach?
David Seruya: Just like with my previous answer, I do a bit of both. It really depends on the situation. But, I believe that any approach to communication can be used to some success. The most important thing is that one approaches their employees in the first place.
What do you do to encourage your employees to be more productive?
David Seruya: There are plenty of things that can encourage employees. For example, I like to talk to my people on a regular basis in order to work things out and help them slowly develop as individuals. I also believe in financial incentives — if they work hard, it’s only right that they are rewarded for it so that they can know their value.
One must also remember to keep a healthy work environment. Otherwise, it can seriously damage the employee’s relationship with their company.
You’ve answered some tough questions today! So, for our last question, let’s keep it light! Given the opportunity to work on a project with limitless resources and no budget cap, what would it be?
David Seruya: Oh that’s a tricky question! Since I have ServicePlus already, that project would have to be outside of the home warranty industry. If I was being completely selfish, then perhaps something related to architecture since that’s always been a hobby of mine.
Otherwise, I’d of course want to work on something that can help us move forward as a society. Whatever that may be. There are lots of things going on in the world right now, and if given the opportunity, I’d of course like to work on those issues for the sake of the future generations, which my children and grandchildren will be a part of.