The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

How the People Lead Role Drives Company Strategy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If you love wearing many hats — and it can truly be energizing — then a people lead might well be the role for you. From the entire employee journey to actioning the strategy behind the growth of the entire company, people lead is a position that enables a company’s scalability through a focus on building fantastic teams.

In this episode, I interview Alya Dikouchine, People Lead at 3S Money, about scaling a company by listening to and understanding people.

Join us as we discuss:

- Alya’s joy in the classic many-hat scenario

- Creating an at-work support network of people

- Actionable ways to demonstrate listening to your employees

- The importance of feedback in people lead success

- Culture, retention, and facilitating individual growth

Check out this resource we mentioned during the podcast:

- The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast.This podcast is brought to you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach welldoes outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record timeafter virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runsaccount based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own salesengagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as theydo. Head to outreach that io on outreach to see what they have goingon. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello all to the sales engagement podcast. You have your host here today, Caitlin Kelly, senior manager of salesdevelopment at outreach for the Amia region, also co founder of steers anonymous.For today's episode, I have Alia did cushion people lead over at threes money, and today we're going to be talking a little bit more aboutwhat is the people lead and how do you navigate this change? Either Companycontinues to grow in a hypergrowth environment. Oh Yeah, I'm going to toossit over to you to tell us a little bit about your career path andwhat exactly people lead means to you school. So I think that, in termsof when this all kicked off for me, which was about eight monthstime, it just felt very much like the right point in three US moneystory to create the people function. We were at about twenty twenty five people. We were based across lots of locations. It was time for this sort ofscaling piece and to really bring on more fantastic talent to join our existingtalent, to really be able to work with more clients, bring on moreproducts, explore New Territories, communities, verticals, and so that's where Icame in. And the kind of people lead role is, you know,that classic many hats situation. It's the employee journey from the very start,soft hard skills and really, if supporting our existing team, but also actioningthe strategy behind the growth of the company. So really thinking about how do wegrow in a balanced way that isn't just inflating our sales team and thenour other teams can't handle that sort of level of growth. So really aboutthinking about how to be as strategic as possible and to really make sure thatwe're supporting our existing team, because I think growth can be quite scary andit happens very quickly. Yeah, I think that's a key point there.You know, especially into these environment, I think on the back end ofit is a lot of people are felt. We see more other people and howdo we support and, you know,...

...really minigate that risk of turnover andmake sure that they are successful in this new environment? So, asyou kind of came in here, you would mention hypergrowth company, wearing multiplehats. We are some ways that you're able to help people can of navigatethis, especially as you're especially for your teams. So I think this isa really crucial point for us in terms of that exact point. So it'sreally about starting to silo within department. So, for example, and compliance, we are now having transaction monitoring teams, on boarding teams and really starting togrow out in a more structured way. With regards to the many hats,I think that we don't want to do a disservice to the really excitingnature of being in a startup or scale up, because sometimes it's really amazingto wear many hats. So getting involved projects and supporting different teams and thefact that we have these overlaps. It's what means that you don't have thatcorporate nine hundred and twenty five. So you don't want to lose that entirely, but we do really need the structures because it's essential for the scalability.Yeah, it's all about really sitting down, taking the time to make sure thatpeople understand what their roles are, to understand how to manage and reallysupport on new managers as they or board new team members. It's really kindof looking for the experts within that area and how can you really develop thatskill set within a person so then you can scial your teams are rapidly inan efficient way. What are some ways that three us has really been ableto build a internal support network to Intrin at, you know, retention anddevelopment is happening. So our USP isn't that we've, you know, reinventedthe wheel Ian. Obviously what we've done is amazing in terms of our product, but our main focus, of why people love us is our people,and so as people lead, that is basically a real focus for me.I'm not perfect, but I care and it's all about taking the time tocare, really trying to listen, really trying to understand and really trying tosee what you can do to support your team and support those around you,whether it be from, you know, things like training or taking the timeto put a chocolate in a thing that you're sending to someone or things likethat. I think showing that we care about each other and that it's anus as opposed to, you know, a company full of just people,that it feels like a family very helps for that, because then you havethe support network that isn't just okay, I have my work and then Ihave my family and friends. It can all be things that lift you upand make you feel supported, that you can go to when you're struggling orwhen you know things are tough, and to be able to be transparent witheach other, and I think that helps the retention, because when you havea healthy dynamic at work, you really...

...want to yeah, that is soimportant. There you as you can talk about, you know, leading withthe people first and kind of leading with empathy. There for our listeners whoare kind of looking at maybe I know a lot. A lot of time, especially in sales and in this environment, we can get lost in the numbers. MMM. So if someone was looking to really kind of lead withempathy, what would you see? You're like three simple ways to kind ofstart to kind of do that so that you are keeping your your team oryour people top on mine for you. Okay, so I think the checkins are really important, the sort of acting, active listening piece. Yeah, really creating a springboard for someone to feel like they have a space,safe space, to really discuss things with you, and that can be anything. Sometimes a person will literally start with a barbecue they had or a footballmatch or you know whatever, and then sometimes they just want someone to havea chat to. Sometimes people want to actually discuss something further, and Ithink that in itself is really important and seems really simple. But taking thetime in your day to speak to that many people in other way, upto sixty from that twenty five that initially mentioned, yeah, it's quite alot of time, but it's so important when you're a people led company.Then I think also celebrating wins and making it, you know, doing thecelebrating of winds, not just in the classical, okay, we're just goingto throw a party sense, but really feeling like we've done this amazing thing. Well done, you, you, and you you know it's us thathave done this. I think that makes people feel proud of themselves and Ithink feeling proud of your achievements reinforces that as well. And I think justlittle things, you know, the bells and whistles of receiving flowers or congratulationthings, when someone is taking the time to remember the out of work thingsthat are happening to you, it makes you feel like someone really is lookingafter you and taking the time to know that you know you're about to goon Matt leave or to know that you're engaged. Things like that, becauseit just shows that people are listening. It's not just listening for five minutesand then out the other rear. You know, one thing you had mentioned, like the natural check INS. One thing that I had heard from otherleaders that they were doing ours. He's like walking check in its like getaway from the desk. Yeah, go for a while, like it doesn'talways have to be numbers and business. It's like how many build that connectionwith your team? Yeah, a hundred percent, especially because we have alot of well, now we do travel between our various offices, as that'sbecoming the new norm, thankfully, and so it's really nice to be ableto see people that you've only really met in teams before, or I havebecause I started at the start of this year. So it's so interesting tobe able to read a person not just through a screen anymore, and Ithink that that's has so much value because you might think all that person's replieda little bit of abruptly over teams, but then as soon as you meetface to face you understand that it's completely different. They just it is nota tug person. So we would don't...

...want to type A type of day, you know, and right, hi, how are you, loads of emojis, etc. That's not that's not everyone's vibe. Yeah, definitely.Have you found her to be? Like any tools that you are leverage ofher at three as to kind of help navigate this building their relationships internally.So we used to have a buzz Thursday initiative which was thought of like anon essential drinking of kind of a pub type thing over teams. This workedin practice when we were half the size. Obviously now we're a lot larger,so it doesn't work as easily, but we try and make sure thatwe have things like whole company updates to reinforce transparency of what's happening across thebusiness to make sure that people don't feel lost in what's going on because we'rewe're based across the five locations, which is actually pretty widespread. You don'twant anyone to feel like they're out of the loop. Right about constantly tryingto think of ways to make sure that that engagement is kept up, sothings like the company meetings, the Department meetings happen and the departments are spreadout across as well. So I think it's just making sure that that conversationand commune a Cati it is upheld wherever possible. Yeah, I think that'sso true. Just having that consistent the clarity for the team, but alsocommunicating with him and giving them complete visibility into where are we going, whatis the next how can you know? How can we manage this change togetherso that there's less of an up and down approach to it having sense.Amazing. So you know, eighteen months ago we all went through the pandemic. We shifted from this normal world where we were typically in the office,some people were remote, but it was pretty much a facetoface environment and thenwe shifted to remote as we all kind of went into quarantine and as we'rekind of navigating it back forward. I'd love to know what are as youlook ahead, what would you say are like three things you're hoping to implementin the, you know, the next six months or so, that youwould like to see change in the way that people are like running there oras then prior in compassion to prior to Covid, or during covid? Ithink it could be either or. I'd say, what are three things you'relooking to you know, in issues that you're looking to drive for that you'relike, you know, more people need to be doing this. This wouldmake a big impact. I think for us what's really amazing is the faceto face interaction. HMM, and we're now at a point where we willbe able to have way more of movement across the various offices. Yeah,and what's great with that is you can share best practices facetoface, you canhave the meetings, you can have that kind of bounce of idea and clickswith each other and you just it's a springboard. It's really exciting and it'sa really fantastic thing to be able to do. So facilitating that as muchas possible, I think we'll have a...

...lot of value. I think alsofor us, we have so many of us now that I think that it'skind of a pulling together and a rejigging and organize organizational that the world does, the word roof structuring. So basically implement all of these incredible ideas thatwe've had over summer to all be working towards some form of common goal.And I think that this probably is common across scale ups because you have thisokay, this is fifteen of us, twenty of us like this, andthen this happens and then there's all these ideas and you have to pull itall together. Yeah, to kind of make it makes sense almost, andit's so per exciting to have so many ideas. But I think that now, you know, Summers over, schools back and it's very much that kindof head in the game era for our company. Yeah, I think alsowhat's been really incredible because we were over in Amsterdam last week setting up theAMSDAM office and basically had back to back client meetings and find these things tohear, and this is for existing clients, so hear their thoughts on where wecould be better, where we are already, you know, thriving,where they see value in us. I think client meetings is so important becauseit really gives you perspective and where all winds are and what we could bedoing better. Roll and feedback is biggest tool that you could possibly have.So I think rolling that across sort of our various areas to really get anunderstanding of where our value add is for existing clients is another thing that Ithink would be a really great focus point now that facetoface is becoming something wecan do again. Yeah, amazing and I love all that. I lovethe I think you touch play on the you know, how are we're bringingtogether all this knowledge and leverage in this as a springboard. Definitely speaking fromprevious experience that. So I'm from Seattle and I came over to London andwe kind of went through that scale up and process over here. But itis it is so tame in a virtual world to connect with everyone as you'rebringing them in and kind of build those relationships and share we call it tribalknowledge or native knowledge. So having kind of share that information m and thenalmost up level it with these new ideas of the fresh, fresh mindsets thatare coming in. So, yeah, what I would love to know alittle bit more about. So over at three ads as you guys went fromtwenty five to sixty people. Yeah, but does this, like the peoplejourney look like all the way through, from like the hiring process to enablingwith the now in building that support network? How does it? How do youguys kind of kick that off from the very beginning within hiring and bringingthem in words? So for us, when it comes to the hiring,which I oversee across all departments, it's really I mean, skill set isobviously very important, but it's about cultural click. So I don't particularly loveof super formal interview. Instead, obviously...

...it's important to cover some plumbit,but the interview goes both ways. I like to feel like someone is reallygetting as much as they can for me to understand about our company, ourculture, whether they will enjoy it, because we don't want to set upanyone for failure when they join the companies. So it goes both ways from theget go and then there's a few more interviews department heads and, youknow, really so that when they join the company, from that first moment, they already have a really fantastic understanding of what we do and where theywould fit in. I think that often at mistake is made where there isn'tmaybe enough clarity, because often there's so many startups out there, it's sosaturated and scale ups and various spaces, and I think that transparency is reallycrucial because then, because then there are no sort of Oh, what's thisdown the line, so I think that has a lot of importance, andthen just keeping as human about it throughout the whole process. I think hereally making a fuel to have check ins where you establish a relationship where youfeel like you can be honest with each other, is really important, becausethen you are able to foresee any sort of difficulties that someone might have,or least try to foresee and really support them, because we want people tofeel like they have this sort of long journey ahead of them in this amazingcareer where they can, you know, really have the backing, in thetrust of everyone else in the company to just kind of make it their ownand run with it and act like an owner. So one kind of valuesis own it, because the whole purpose of this sort of space, whereno one is stepping into anyone else's shoes or boots or whatever it might be, is that you can come in and you can own it and you cantake on projects and this is all you and you know you're obviously working asa team, but there is this space to really make it your own andflourish, and I think they want people that want that. And so thatcomes from making sure that you really have that conversation from the get go,and then people come in with this real excitement and so people really seem tolove it. And then it's just all about supporting, you know, retentiontrainings, things like that, because we're not scared about upskilling our team.Instead, we'd want, you know, the smartest, the best, thecoolest, the most fantastic team, over which we do have, yes,amazing when I want any moust is not on there. You guys are constantlyabscutely, but kind of put a focus on there around the feedback culture,HMM, and how you've been able to enable this in kind of creed that. Can you tell me a little bit more about about the feedback culture,for your team. So it's really amazing because we this sort of feedback thingruns all the way through to the founders, all the way through to new starters. So, for example, our CFO and CEO run an investor dayyesterday yea and basically round a presentation and...

...did a Qa with a bunch ofinvestors who are writing questions and then they were answering them live and they sortof round it up by asking, okay, can you please get back to uswith feedback? You know, what do you like about what we're offering? What do you not like? What could we do better? What makesyou excited, what makes you think? All Big Question Mall and this sortof vulnerability almost from you know, founders to investors, I think trickles throughbecause then everyone is constantly looking for feedback and saying the clients, saying topiers, you know, what can I be working on? What can Ibe doing? And then I think that that that really engages people because Ithink the struggle was tool is feedback, because it just means that you canlearn and you can just take it on and the only ways up really.Is that answer your question? Yeah, I know, definitely. I meanwhat you had said, there is, like you know, it starts fromthe top and then trickles down you. And with that kind of environment itnormalizes the ability to give feedback. So when you when it is a opportunity, you know, to give a constructive feedback, it doesn't feel as toughas because you're so used to constantly getting the feedback there. So I lovethat. Yeah, it's great reason. So lastly, Oh, yeah,I would like to know, if you had to. You know, you'releading the Oreg over at three ass people leader. You're all about bringing inthe top talent making sure they're unable to set up for success, if youwere to recommend one book that's really had a big impact on our professional developmentfor our listeners to they you would want to recommend for them to maybe lookup. They're interesting. What would that book be? So it's an interestingone with this, because it's not interesting answer, but it actually has quitea serious impact and how I have perceived scale up startups and how hard tokind of create or further engage with the people function and the people the company. And it's that Fault of book, a classic, Classic Reference Point.But I think that because the whole nature of the book is you know thatit's all about being careful with overinflation of just, you know, bells andwhistles parties. Obviously, when I first got started I wanted to throw courtsand the socials, I wanted to do all of that and obviously it's really, really important celebrate your wins when you're courts one. I mean it's greatfrom an internal perspective, great from a marketing perspective, but it's all aboutthe actual values. So yes, it's nice to have, you know,a podcast room like I'm in right now and all this, so this stuff. What's super important is, you know, the team themselves, the people,and I think that that's the lesson. Well, that's my lesson learned fromthat book. So it's a really great one. I think I'd recommendto anyone who is in any sort of people function or in any sort ofstartup or scaler, because I think there's a lot of lessons learned there aboutthe fact that just having bells and whistles...

...and not having any subsistence. Yeah, me, once there's that certain level of scale, all you've got isa bit of an empty vehicle. Right. And can you repeat the buck oneour time we thin get cut out just the beginning. Oh, it'sthe call of we, the Elliot Brown one, we work. Okay,yeah, that's it. I love that. I think I am. We getcaught up in, yeah, the celebrations, the rewards, all that, and it's like okay, we let's let's strip it back to why,maybe? Why are we doing this, sort of the values behind it?Yeah, exactly, and I think it's really important to keep those values becauseas you scale, it will happen so quickly around you. Yeah, andyou don't want to get to a certain point where you sort of step awayfrom it and just think crap, you know. So I think holding ontoit and holding onto that integrity is really important. Yeah, definitely, wecould. We could talk all day around you know. How do you howdo you ensure that those values stay with your company, especially as you arescaling? But for today, I appreciate all your insights on how to notonly bring on but also retain top talent for three as and kind of somekey drivers for your team over there. Thank you so much, Aliyah.And if anyone wanted to reach out to your connect to talk more about howyou're developing the teams over there where be the best place for them to reachout to you. Absolutely. Yeah, I mean feel free to hit meup on Linkedin. It's Alia to cushion. I mean I'm sure you probably noone will be able to spell that, but we written down so much that'swill be the best place and then we can connects and set something up. Or I can send you my emant address and go from that. Happyto help with anything. All right, fantastic. Thank you so much andeveryone have a great day. By thanks, MES I. This was another episodeof the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of moreeyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join USat sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement.To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to checkout outreach, that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you onthe next episode.

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