When a company thinks of ‘people’, it does not traditionally look at its relationship with its suppliers and investors.
Suppliers are becoming more integral to the operations of a company. A strong, committed relationship between your company and a supplier can actually become a competitive advantage. Look at it from the viewpoint of a supplier:
Who are you more willing to help when times get tough?
Would you want to work with a company that doesn’t pay its bills on time, who are demanding for rush delivery without notice, and are constantly asking for a price decrease?
Or, would you rather work with a company that pays on time, gives you a heads up that something might be required in a rush, and allows you to earn a fair profit?
A strong supplier-customer relationship carries the values of a win-win relationship.
Investors are not normally a group which require the attention of management. Some investors are becoming more involved in the management of companies. Open and frank communication with investors will help build a sense of trust and allow the groups to move forward together. Your investors can be leveraged to get new insight into yourcompany, to mentor staff, and allow you to jump on opportunities that are developing within their own networks. Investors are not just a source of capital, but an important relationship that needs to be constantly managed and monitored.
In looking at the relationship between your company and your suppliers and investors, one common element comes up. Communication. Ask for feedback. Don’t be shy to develop a short 5-question survey to give to your suppliers and investors.
As with other relationships, set up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you manage them. Use your surveys to develop a metric that expresses your relationship strength. You can also manage your suppliers by their on time and delivery fill rates. Investors can have the same relationship strength number, along with a measurement of voting engagement or board meeting attendance.
The relationship that a company has with its suppliers and investors can help improve the companies position, and in fact, become a competitive advantage.
Next week, we will look at the last part of people for a corporate sustainability strategy, government and community.