Articles and studies by business experts normally inspire me and get me thinking. Such was the case after I read an article by Professor Vicente Falconi.
This important industry figure has worked on numerous issues related to the earnings and permanence of major companies, and it caused me to consider how people develop personally and professionally at ClearSale.
When I founded the company with partner Bernardo Lustosa 16 years ago, I had no idea the size to which we would grow today. By 2016, we had more than 800 employees and analyzed more than 100 million transactions. Who would imagine that an idea we had in 1999 to develop fraud-prevention software -- using solid statistical models and data taken from a unique industry database built by our team and the market -- would achieve such a sustainable level of granular business analyses?
But our successes weren't only in business. We also managed to pick up a few very important awards in the personnel department, like being named a "Great Place to Work" by the Great Places to Work Institute seven years in a row and by Love Mondays.
Blending the Personal and Professional for Success
I believe the reason for our success is simple: When employees can develop their personal and professional lives together, their life goals make more sense and they can deliver excellent, natural results. Clearly, our professional side is an important component of each of us as people, but looking only at the professional side can seriously (and negatively) impact results and quality of life.
Some companies address the personal side through such disruptive business environments as ping-pong tables, decompression rooms, flex time, or benefits like taking your pet or child to work. Some thought leaders criticize this format because they believe their employees lose working time by enjoying these activities.
Relaxing the Brain Leads to Innovation
But evaluating the success of these alternative activities requires a far more granular analysis. Employers should first look at how a tired and pressured mind returns to work after using some of these facilities, services or benefits.
Think back to when you had creative insights or good ideas to solve a problem in your professional life. In many cases, the solution arose when your mind was relaxed -- perhaps you were sitting at a bar with friends or relaxing in some other way.
Why does this happen? It's a phenomenon similar to what Sigmund Freud described in his theory of the division of the human psyche, or relaxation of the superego (the unconscious in action). That part of our brain operates as an internal moral compass, but when that area of the brain is more relaxed, it can combine elements that we had -- but were not consciously aware of -- to produce new ideas based on our brain's database.
Offering these opportunities for relaxation and decompression in the workplace helps them deliver all-around better results. And when people view their professional success as a part of themselves, their ability to deliver excellence increases because of their excitement for the job, not because they feel obligated to.
Helping Employees Find Their Passion
Consider the ClearSale employee who worked on events for a year. She did well, but it wasn't an area in which she shined. So management helped her define her personal and professional goal. It turns out she wanted to work as a journalist, which was her training, translating what the company does into content. Once we identified this goal and modified her job to reflect her strengths, her career took off and her eyes were shining again. The improvement is perceptible in the quality of her deliveries, her planning and her ideas.
It's this mindset that lets ClearSale and other companies deliver significant results and surpass its targets even in crisis years, such as in 2016. We value the human side of our team, making sure we offer education and management that helps extract individual growth from each and every one of us to ensure the collective victory.
Because of our dedication to well-rounded employee development, we believe we can ask a lot of people in the work environment. We suggest aggressive targets and demand accountability and high-level results, but we are conscious to never exclude or harm people's personal lives. We understand that if you don't understand a person's life context, you may lose the opportunity to explore a more refined and dedicated side of their talent.
There's a thin line between freedom and accountability. A company must respect this if they want to pursue their path and create a history as a company that's here to stay. Issues like having a clear mission; establishing vision and values; managing from the inside out; and creating not only value, but also people with values may be the perfect combination to make your company more than just a source of financial revenue.