Nutmeg Investment Management Services and Pizza Hut have more in common then perhaps they know. Two polar opposite industries, investment and restaurant. Two very different actors caught up in decisions that would impact the lives of others. Their actions could impact positively or negatively. Their actions are representative of the companies they represent. Both chose to impact positively.
Trevor Dutson, a Pizza Hut delivery man in Apache Junction, Arizona, was making a routine delivery. When he arrived he found an elderly woman who had taken a nasty fall and was obviously hurt.
Mr. Dutson could have acted in many different ways, but he chose to help. He stayed with Mrs. Couture until her daughter and son-in-law arrived. He was described as being calm and relaxed. He gave this sense of calm to Mrs. Couture and her family.
When her daughter and son-in-law arrived he them the get Mrs. Couture to the car. He was focused on helping.
Mrs. Couture said, “I can’t say enough about him or Pizza Hut.”
Positive Employee Actions
Mr. Dutson was on the clock, his actions could help his employer or hurt. His actions could possibly cause a legal dilemma for his employer. He was alone in someone else’s home with an elderly woman was physically injured. Mr. Dutson decided to help.
Articles abound telling us about delivery drivers who endangered others because they are in a rush to make the delivery. This gives bad press to their employers. When an employer hires for character as well as skill, the employer lessens the chance for problems and increases the chance for good press.
Businesses tend to forget the value of a person’s character. When looking to hire someone HR can write a great job description. They can vet the education and experience necessary to perform the job. HR generally focuses on the job.
It is the human element that creates greatness.
People make choices every minute of every day. To create a successful profitable business, hiring choices are critical. Employers are restricted as to the types questions they can ask. Are you compassionate is not usually a question that comes up.
Recently I encountered a question that asked, “Tell us about a time when you showed empathy.” The question also drilled down on the situation for the outcome. It is a great question and tells a lot about our humanness.
As an employer wouldn’t you want a hire a person who has empathy? An empathetic delivery employee might think twice before cutting off another driver in order to shave a couple of minutes off of their delivery time. They might stop to consider that the other driver has just as important destination as they do.
The Empathy Factor
What is the value of an employee with empathy? “I can’t say enough about him or Pizza Hut,” was what Mrs. Couture said.
As drone delivery becomes more and more probable, the human element will be lost. Life happens. Life evolves. While drone delivery may well alleviate the dangers of delivery drivers who throw caution to the wind in order to shave a few minutes off their delivery time, they won’t have empathy. They won’t be able to respond to the Mrs. Coutures of the world who need someone calm and relaxed.
Data Breach With a Positive Impact
In the same manner of having empathy, Nick Hungerford, CEO and founder of Nutmeg Investment Management Services located in the United Kingdom, tackled a data breach by not turning away.
When investors are looking to invest, they generally focus on projections for ROI. Investors can assess the strength of the investment company’s portfolio. Investors can consider the types of services offered. They can assess competition. But do they ever assess the character of the CEO?
According to Citywire, Nutmeg, which is internet based investing service, had a coding fault in its email. It seems that thirty-two customers were able to see other individual’s investment reports when they logged into their own accounts.
Nutmeg reported itself to the Information Commissioner's Office, which regulates data protection issues in the U.K., and informed the 32 customers affected by the incident.
Mr. Hungerford said, "Due to a technical error on September 1, a small number of customer suitability reports were sent to the wrong people. This was identified and rectified immediately, and all customers affected were contacted directly to inform them of the issue and apologize."
Mr. Hungerford did say “apologize.” In 2004 the Wall Street Journal quoted Rachael Zimmerman, staff reporter, who said, “Nothing is more effective in reducing liability than an authentically offered apology.”
The Self Storage industry printed an article by attorney Jeffrey Greenberger, with Katz, Greenberger & Norton, LLP, stating that in litigated matters plaintiffs’ say “if they had received an apology or some recognition of their claims they never would have filed the lawsuit.” According to The Insurance Journal nearly 90% of corporations are involved in multiple lawsuits.
Mr. Hungerford took a risk when he self-reported AND reached out to clients affected. After all, it was only thirty-two people. How hard could it be to cover up so few affected by a breach?
Mr. Hungerford, tell us about a time when you showed empathy on the job? What was the ultimate outcome of the event?
While it is still too early to tell the ultimate outcome of this particular event, one thing for sure that it has accomplished is good will. A show of humanness, of empathy. It shows a business that is led by a selfless leader.
Character is an Overlooked Asset
As business leaders and/or owners, every day you are faced with challenges in hiring and in your leadership. Talking with those who handle your hiring processes to include the human element in the questions they pose is an overlooked value. “I can’t say enough about him or Pizza Hut.”
As a business leader and/or owner, every day you make critical decisions when something goes wrong. We know that when customers/clients are wronged, or perceive they have been wronged, they are less likely to file a lawsuit if they had received an apology or some recognition of the problem.
Nick Hungerford took control of a bad situation. He did what was right. His character showed strength. There must also have been empathy for those who were affected because Nutmeg reached out to each individual personally to offer an apology. His actions made the news.
For any business, finding a legal team who can help identify quality guidelines upon which to form the basis of their core values, is essential. Working with a legal team who has empathy. Who values the outcome. This is the guidance you want so that you hire the Trevor Dutson employee or the Nick Hungerford CEO.