Village Green is committed to putting people into housing that meets their needs, desires, and budget. They are also dedicated to environmental and social responsibility. Their use of innovation reflects this dedication. How does Village Green juggle Innovative business processes with social responsibility and customer service? I sought out Diane Batayeh, CEO of Village Green, to get her feedback on the subject.
Innovation and new ideas often require risk-taking. How do you foster ideas inside an organization while providing employees with a fail-safe environment?
Village Green is a People Company disguised as an apartment business. Our mission statement, guiding principles, and standards are built to empower all employees. The goal is to deliver exceptional experiences to our stakeholders.
We consider every employee to be an integral part of the company’s success. We encourage our people to submit ideas through our intranet portal. Each year, we choose the best idea and reward the associate a $5,000 prize.
I think all innovation should address a problem that needs solving. We are in a world where our imaginations can be brought to life so we simply need to identify the problem we are solving and imagine the solution.
Innovation isn’t a coincidence at Village Green. From the first day of the job, every employee hears that people come first, right from the top. The leadership at Village Green recognizes that their people are the source of innovation.
What role should executive leaders play in understanding technology?
Executive leaders must understand new technologies that impact our industry. We must assess and adopt technologies to pursue greater efficiencies for our business. This lets us get out from behind the desk and focus on human interaction and relationship building.
Every executive at Village Green must understand the new technologies that could impact the business. Working efficiently gives them more time for human interaction.
How do you bring technology into an organization without the products running flat?
We once introduced a new technology that changed how we perform one of our key tasks. It became clear that we pushed it out too quickly. Now, we have a Change Management Department to oversee every technology roll-out. We will not force change but encourage, listen to feedback, possibly tweak and then slowly roll it out to ensure it sticks.
Before they commit to new technology, the Change Management Team fully vets and tests the technology. Then they seek buy-in from every part of the organization.
What are some strategies leaders can implement to give their company the best opportunity to attract the most innovative talent?
I’ve always believed that A-Players want to work with and attract A Players. So the more we empower our high potential, talented people the more we attract like-kind talent.
We encourage our young and technologically savvy leaders to get involved in industry organizations. Many of them have been guest speakers or on panels discussing industry technologies and innovations. That visibility helps us attract more innovative and talented people.
Getting good people starts with having good people. Natural talent is just the starting point. The Village Green Team is expected to work hard to gain industry experience and influence.
Through my conversation with Diane, I gained three key takeaways:
- Business Is Important, but People Come First
Village Green exists to earn a profit and excel, but not at the expense of people. They understand that people are the source of innovation.
- Technology Exists to Serve People
Too many businesses buy technology indiscriminately, then hire people to manage it. At Village Green, they don’t invest in any technology unless it serves a clear purpose.
- Sowing the Field with Hard Work Leads to an Abundant Harvest
The best people want to work with like-minded individuals. If you want your business to attract the best employees, making your current employees the best they can be is the first step.
Village Green has been in business for over 100 years. Though they have seen a lot of technology come and go, they have made responsibly serving people their priority. Every business would do well to learn this lesson.