A key piece in developing our employee-centric working culture
Exceptional organizations build and sustain a culture that engages and motivates all team members. We don’t take the word “motivation” lightly, as you will see later in this post. But first, a few quick stats.
Nurturing this can feel daunting to leaders, especially if the organization is growing rapidly. However, Deloitte recently found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees agree that an organization’s success depends on a strong, distinct workplace culture in order to enable:
Higher Levels of Engagement
Improved customer experience & retention
For us, one key component that makes this all possible is . . .
MEET Infinityn’s Happiness Manager
“We need to be problem-solvers”
This is how Éva Eperjesi describes the role and she wears a lot of different hats as Infinityn’s happiness manager. Her work here blends logistical responsibilities, public relations, coaching and overseeing the professional development amongst staff.
She trained in andragogy - the study of adult learning - and she emphasizes that optimal team performance hinges on the power of community. Her professional and personal interests center around understanding how people learn, making sure they’re empowered to take responsibility for their responsibilities and challenging them to grow. Since lifelong learning is a key attribute of an effective seller, this makes her an ideal person to perform these duties, where the ultimate goal is maximizing employee engagement.
It’s a difficult task to oversee our company’s internal culture development, what with reps hailing from nearly 20 different countries. As our ranks expand, making sure that each employee feels like their voice is heard is no small feat. In her own estimation, much of what an effective happiness manager does to increase workplace engagement is in employee relations. This includes putting an emphasis on continuous learning; being open to new ideas from the various teams; learning the personal/professional interests of individuals; and keeping the channels of communication between leadership and the rest of the staff clear.
For example, when our Head of Research suggested that one of the SDR teams visit a large industrial site, it was Éva who made this a reality. She listened to his idea - which was that the SDR team would benefit from getting an in-depth view of their prospects’ industrial conditions - and then discussed with Infinityn’s leadership and communicated the value-add of this proposition.
Within days after they all agreed, she coordinated with the site managers on a date and details of the visit, arranged transportation and the SDR team was getting a full rundown of the facility and meeting ideal buyer personas in person. What started as a suggestion from one thoughtful staff member soon became a team-building experience that gave everyone valuable insight into their prospecting.
A key and unique component of Infinityn’s culture is the conscious creation or nurturing of beast mode in our every-day work - and Éva has no small role in the enablement of this mindset. We’re using the term beast mode for a special state of flow that is peculiar to our SDR’s. When in this state, people are in flow, uninterruptible, breezing by obstacles and hitting targets. It’s when growth happens and it’s one of the most fulfilling states.
Needless to say, this mode of operating is how we get our clients significant results. This is how our team can discharge 110% effort in crucial times, when deadlines are tight and goals seem insurmountable.
For an SDR who is in the state of beast mode, motivation is not a question. At Infinityn, “motivating people” seldom happens directly - it evolves indirectly through culture, the right challenge, team support and dozens of everyday tweaks and perks, that our happiness manager overlooks. These subtleties include things like the right office equipment.
When Éva joined Infinityn she campaigned for a workstation re-design, which included ergonomic chairs and upgrades to the computer screens. “You’ll thank me when you get older,” she quipped wryly when remembering unloading the numerous packages that arrived at the office doorstep.
Leveraging the power of human connection
“Building trust . . . making sure that this trust extends to everyone from the SDRs to the researchers to the operational team members, is one of my main priorities” Éva responds when asked about what an effective happiness manager can do to optimize workplace performance.
Trust in the workplace is an essential element for high performance culture, echoes Paul J Zak, the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies notes. Employees at high-trust workplaces enjoy their jobs more when they share the company’s vision and feel empowered to act with autonomy.
For a team that prides itself on its flexibility and ability to operate remotely, part of what Éva is responsible for is team cohesion. It’s important that a team feels united, even when they’re spread out across multiple locations. Communication is crucial so she regularly holds formal and informal conversations with team members, whether they’re in the office, working from home or even in another country. Her goals are either to check in on the status of their mental health, learn about how they’re working towards their own professional goals or just be a friendly voice to talk to. When any teammate mentions additional training, coursework or external consultation that they’d like to receive, she is the first to bring it to the attention of the leadership.
"She makes the office a place where we want to be even when it's not compulsory", comments Morne, who oversees Infinityn’s sales enablement toolkit like Hubspot, Aircall and Zoominfo.
With a team that operates remotely in the wake of the coronavirus, a few members have been stranded in their respective home countries of Canada and India. Infinityn’s happiness manager is sure to keep them in the HQ loop, reaching out to them to have informal hour-long conversations that drift between professional and personal topics.
As happiness manager, Éva also insists that relationship-building is another key function. She goes out of her way to make sure that our staff is in the right mental space to perform at their best. When 2 of Infinityn’s colleagues from Brazil had to change apartments in our Budapest location, it was Éva who coordinated with the company’s lawyer and local governmental authorities to ensure that the process went smoothly.
“She’s nice and helpful. She has been solving many issues.” Rebeca, who also wears many hats at Infinityn herself from research to business development, describes the experience, “She guided us on how to solve our problems” .
A Final Note
According to her, today’s employees need to feel that they have
someone who cares about their success and well-being,
greater opportunities to grow and develop professionally,
a platform for their opinions to be heard.
Having a manager who is personally invested in the success of the sales team, beyond the data analysis of output and performance measurement, has a powerful impact on employee engagement. For modern sales teams, this needs to be a high priority. When successfully implemented, reps feel free to collaborate with one another, share knowledge and best practices, focus on continuous learning and deliver their best work.
The role of happiness manager should be part life-coach, part psychologist, part administrator all in one. It’s a tall order, to be sure, but companies and teams that put in the legwork to focus on building an employee-centric culture are proven to deliver more success.
To learn more about how we build positive working cultures for our remote SDR teams, reach out to us and we’ll help you strategize on how you can implement one for your organization too!