The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 5 months ago

How the People Lead Role Drives Company Strategy


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, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement 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 they do. Head to outreach that io on outreach to see what they have going on. 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 sales development 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 three s money, and today we're going to be talking a little bit more about what is the people lead and how do you navigate this change? Either Company continues to grow in a hypergrowth environment. Oh Yeah, I'm going to tooss it over to you to tell us a little bit about your career path and what exactly people lead means to you school. So I think that, in terms of when this all kicked off for me, which was about eight months time, it just felt very much like the right point in three US money story 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 of scaling piece and to really bring on more fantastic talent to join our existing talent, to really be able to work with more clients, bring on more products, explore New Territories, communities, verticals, and so that's where I came 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 actioning the strategy behind the growth of the company. So really thinking about how do we grow in a balanced way that isn't just inflating our sales team and then our other teams can't handle that sort of level of growth. So really about thinking about how to be as strategic as possible and to really make sure that we're supporting our existing team, because I think growth can be quite scary and it happens very quickly. Yeah, I think that's a key point there. You know, especially into these environment, I think on the back end of it is a lot of people are felt. We see more other people and how do we support and, you know,...

...really minigate that risk of turnover and make sure that they are successful in this new environment? So, as you kind of came in here, you would mention hypergrowth company, wearing multiple hats. We are some ways that you're able to help people can of navigate this, especially as you're especially for your teams. So I think this is a really crucial point for us in terms of that exact point. So it's really about starting to silo within department. So, for example, and compliance, we are now having transaction monitoring teams, on boarding teams and really starting to grow 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 exciting nature of being in a startup or scale up, because sometimes it's really amazing to wear many hats. So getting involved projects and supporting different teams and the fact that we have these overlaps. It's what means that you don't have that corporate 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 that people understand what their roles are, to understand how to manage and really support on new managers as they or board new team members. It's really kind of looking for the experts within that area and how can you really develop that skill set within a person so then you can scial your teams are rapidly in an efficient way. What are some ways that three us has really been able to build a internal support network to Intrin at, you know, retention and development is happening. So our USP isn't that we've, you know, reinvented the 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 to care, really trying to listen, really trying to understand and really trying to see 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 time to put a chocolate in a thing that you're sending to someone or things like that. I think showing that we care about each other and that it's an us as opposed to, you know, a company full of just people, that it feels like a family very helps for that, because then you have the support network that isn't just okay, I have my work and then I have my family and friends. It can all be things that lift you up and make you feel supported, that you can go to when you're struggling or when you know things are tough, and to be able to be transparent with each other, and I think that helps the retention, because when you have a healthy dynamic at work, you really...

...want to yeah, that is so important. There you as you can talk about, you know, leading with the people first and kind of leading with empathy. There for our listeners who are 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 with empathy, what would you see? You're like three simple ways to kind of start to kind of do that so that you are keeping your your team or your people top on mine for you. Okay, so I think the check ins 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 football match or you know whatever, and then sometimes they just want someone to have a chat to. Sometimes people want to actually discuss something further, and I think that in itself is really important and seems really simple. But taking the time in your day to speak to that many people in other way, up to sixty from that twenty five that initially mentioned, yeah, it's quite a lot 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 the celebrating of winds, not just in the classical, okay, we're just going to 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 that have done this. I think that makes people feel proud of themselves and I think feeling proud of your achievements reinforces that as well. And I think just little things, you know, the bells and whistles of receiving flowers or congratulation things, when someone is taking the time to remember the out of work things that are happening to you, it makes you feel like someone really is looking after you and taking the time to know that you know you're about to go on Matt leave or to know that you're engaged. Things like that, because it just shows that people are listening. It's not just listening for five minutes and then out the other rear. You know, one thing you had mentioned, like the natural check INS. One thing that I had heard from other leaders that they were doing ours. He's like walking check in its like get away from the desk. Yeah, go for a while, like it doesn't always have to be numbers and business. It's like how many build that connection with your team? Yeah, a hundred percent, especially because we have a lot of well, now we do travel between our various offices, as that's becoming the new norm, thankfully, and so it's really nice to be able to see people that you've only really met in teams before, or I have because I started at the start of this year. So it's so interesting to be able to read a person not just through a screen anymore, and I think that that's has so much value because you might think all that person's replied a little bit of abruptly over teams, but then as soon as you meet face to face you understand that it's completely different. They just it is not a 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 of her 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 a non essential drinking of kind of a pub type thing over teams. This worked in 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 that we have things like whole company updates to reinforce transparency of what's happening across the business to make sure that people don't feel lost in what's going on because we're we're based across the five locations, which is actually pretty widespread. You don't want anyone to feel like they're out of the loop. Right about constantly trying to think of ways to make sure that that engagement is kept up, so things like the company meetings, the Department meetings happen and the departments are spread out across as well. So I think it's just making sure that that conversation and commune a Cati it is upheld wherever possible. Yeah, I think that's so true. Just having that consistent the clarity for the team, but also communicating with him and giving them complete visibility into where are we going, what is the next how can you know? How can we manage this change together so 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 then we shifted to remote as we all kind of went into quarantine and as we're kind of navigating it back forward. I'd love to know what are as you look ahead, what would you say are like three things you're hoping to implement in the, you know, the next six months or so, that you would like to see change in the way that people are like running there or as then prior in compassion to prior to Covid, or during covid? I think it could be either or. I'd say, what are three things you're looking to you know, in issues that you're looking to drive for that you're like, you know, more people need to be doing this. This would make a big impact. I think for us what's really amazing is the face to face interaction. HMM, and we're now at a point where we will be 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 can have the meetings, you can have that kind of bounce of idea and clicks with each other and you just it's a springboard. It's really exciting and it's a really fantastic thing to be able to do. So facilitating that as much as possible, I think we'll have a...

...lot of value. I think also for us, we have so many of us now that I think that it's kind 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 that we'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 this okay, this is fifteen of us, twenty of us like this, and then this happens and then there's all these ideas and you have to pull it all together. Yeah, to kind of make it makes sense almost, and it'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 kind of head in the game era for our company. Yeah, I think also what's been really incredible because we were over in Amsterdam last week setting up the AMSDAM office and basically had back to back client meetings and find these things to hear, and this is for existing clients, so hear their thoughts on where we could be better, where we are already, you know, thriving, where they see value in us. I think client meetings is so important because it really gives you perspective and where all winds are and what we could be doing 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 an understanding of where our value add is for existing clients is another thing that I think would be a really great focus point now that facetoface is becoming something we can do again. Yeah, amazing and I love all that. I love the I think you touch play on the you know, how are we're bringing together all this knowledge and leverage in this as a springboard. Definitely speaking from previous experience that. So I'm from Seattle and I came over to London and we kind of went through that scale up and process over here. But it is it is so tame in a virtual world to connect with everyone as you're bringing them in and kind of build those relationships and share we call it tribal knowledge or native knowledge. So having kind of share that information m and then almost up level it with these new ideas of the fresh, fresh mindsets that are coming in. So, yeah, what I would love to know a little bit more about. So over at three ads as you guys went from twenty five to sixty people. Yeah, but does this, like the people journey look like all the way through, from like the hiring process to enabling with the now in building that support network? How does it? How do you guys kind of kick that off from the very beginning within hiring and bringing them in words? So for us, when it comes to the hiring, which I oversee across all departments, it's really I mean, skill set is obviously very important, but it's about cultural click. So I don't particularly love of super formal interview. Instead, obviously...'s important to cover some plumbit, but the interview goes both ways. I like to feel like someone is really getting as much as they can for me to understand about our company, our culture, whether they will enjoy it, because we don't want to set up anyone for failure when they join the companies. So it goes both ways from the get go and then there's a few more interviews department heads and, you know, 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 they would fit in. I think that often at mistake is made where there isn't maybe enough clarity, because often there's so many startups out there, it's so saturated and scale ups and various spaces, and I think that transparency is really crucial because then, because then there are no sort of Oh, what's this down the line, so I think that has a lot of importance, and then just keeping as human about it throughout the whole process. I think he really making a fuel to have check ins where you establish a relationship where you feel like you can be honest with each other, is really important, because then 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 to feel like they have this sort of long journey ahead of them in this amazing career where they can, you know, really have the backing, in the trust of everyone else in the company to just kind of make it their own and run with it and act like an owner. So one kind of values is own it, because the whole purpose of this sort of space, where no 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 can take on projects and this is all you and you know you're obviously working as a team, but there is this space to really make it your own and flourish, and I think they want people that want that. And so that comes 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 to love it. And then it's just all about supporting, you know, retention trainings, things like that, because we're not scared about upskilling our team. Instead, we'd want, you know, the smartest, the best, the coolest, the most fantastic team, over which we do have, yes, amazing when I want any moust is not on there. You guys are constantly abscutely, 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 thing runs all the way through to the founders, all the way through to new starters. So, for example, our CFO and CEO run an investor day yesterday yea and basically round a presentation and...

...did a Qa with a bunch of investors who are writing questions and then they were answering them live and they sort of round it up by asking, okay, can you please get back to us with feedback? You know, what do you like about what we're offering? What do you not like? What could we do better? What makes you excited, what makes you think? All Big Question Mall and this sort of vulnerability almost from you know, founders to investors, I think trickles through because then everyone is constantly looking for feedback and saying the clients, saying to piers, you know, what can I be working on? What can I be doing? And then I think that that that really engages people because I think the struggle was tool is feedback, because it just means that you can learn and you can just take it on and the only ways up really. Is that answer your question? Yeah, I know, definitely. I mean what you had said, there is, like you know, it starts from the top and then trickles down you. And with that kind of environment it normalizes 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 tough as because you're so used to constantly getting the feedback there. So I love that. Yeah, it's great reason. So lastly, Oh, yeah, I would like to know, if you had to. You know, you're leading the Oreg over at three ass people leader. You're all about bringing in the top talent making sure they're unable to set up for success, if you were to recommend one book that's really had a big impact on our professional development for our listeners to they you would want to recommend for them to maybe look up. They're interesting. What would that book be? So it's an interesting one with this, because it's not interesting answer, but it actually has quite a serious impact and how I have perceived scale up startups and how hard to kind 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 that it's all about being careful with overinflation of just, you know, bells and whistles parties. Obviously, when I first got started I wanted to throw courts and 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 great from an internal perspective, great from a marketing perspective, but it's all about the 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 from that book. So it's a really great one. I think I'd recommend to anyone who is in any sort of people function or in any sort of startup or scaler, because I think there's a lot of lessons learned there about the 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 is a bit of an empty vehicle. Right. And can you repeat the buck one our time we thin get cut out just the beginning. Oh, it's the call of we, the Elliot Brown one, we work. Okay, yeah, that's it. I love that. I think I am. We get caught 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 because as you scale, it will happen so quickly around you. Yeah, and you don't want to get to a certain point where you sort of step away from it and just think crap, you know. So I think holding onto it and holding onto that integrity is really important. Yeah, definitely, we could. We could talk all day around you know. How do you how do you ensure that those values stay with your company, especially as you are scaling? But for today, I appreciate all your insights on how to not only bring on but also retain top talent for three as and kind of some key 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 how you're developing the teams over there where be the best place for them to reach out to you. Absolutely. Yeah, I mean feel free to hit me up on Linkedin. It's Alia to cushion. I mean I'm sure you probably no one will be able to spell that, but we written down so much that's will 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. Happy to help with anything. All right, fantastic. Thank you so much and everyone have a great day. By thanks, MES I. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at 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 check out outreach, that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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