“I like to talk to my people and make sure that they’re on the right track. I also insist that everyone in the team treat each other with respect and be as close to family as possible — after all, disputes can lead to increased stress and the risk of burnout.” – David Seruya
Today, we ask David Seruya, the CEO of ServicePlus Home Warranty, about how he runs his business and maintains a healthy environment from which his employees can thrive:
David, Hey! How have you been these days?
David Seruya: Doing well, thank you for asking! Business is moving forward as per usual, although, of course, there were quite a few bumps in the road as a result of the instability in the business environment this past couple of years.
That’s right, 2021 and 2022 have not been easy at all, hasn’t it? Can you give us an example of an issue you faced recently that you managed to recover from successfully?
David Seruya: I think most businesses faced a setback after the pandemic. Even those who weren’t directly affected were indirectly affected because of their relationship with other businesses. And, well, ServicePlus was no different.
After all, in order to provide excellent service, we consciously only work with the best technicians available. And, it probably needn’t be said, but that network suffered severely because of COVID-19.
We had to completely rethink our business model to make up for it, as well as come up with temporary solutions to allow our customers to continue to receive their much-needed support. If I had to describe what helped us most during this time, it’s definitely innovation and perseverance. If we didn’t continue to innovate, we would have undoubtedly been left behind.
Employee retention rates have been worse than ever, what have you done in order to help the situation?
David Seruya: In my eyes, it’s all about creating a stronger sense of community. A better work environment will make employees feel more comfortable and hesitant to leave, which I believe is of the utmost importance. Of course, financial incentives are a must as well — if you don’t show them how much you value them, it is only to be expected that they jump the nest.
How do you keep your employees motivated?
David Seruya: On a smaller scale, I like to talk to my people individually and share my experiences and resources to give them a chance to develop on their own. On a larger scale, I can only refer back to my previous answer about building a stronger sense of community and offering financial incentives.
On that end, do you have any advice to share for helping especially motivated employees from burning out?
David Seruya: As an outside party, all I can do is check on them occasionally. As I said, I like to talk to my people and make sure that they’re on the right track. I also insist that everyone in the team treat each other with respect and be as close to family as possible — after all, disputes can lead to increased stress and the risk of burnout.
Outside of these things, just making sure that everyone is staying healthy both mentally and physically through company benefits is the most basic thing that should be provided.
Is there a secret to how you hand out tasks to your employees? Do you rely more on data or instincts?
David Seruya: I’m of the opinion that data is important, but not foolproof. So, when it comes to delegating tasks to my team members, I don’t just judge based on their past data but also on my own perception of who would be better for a task.
This was actually something I had an issue with when I was younger, though that was more about my perfectionist side wanting to participate in every single aspect of the business — and thus messing up our processes incidentally.
When it comes to making big decisions in the company, do you have specific rituals that you like to attend to?
David Seruya: Nothing too special. I, of course, consider every dilemma carefully, no matter how big or small. If there’s anything noteworthy at all about my process, I guess it would be the fact that, even after considering something for a long time and finding holes in the big picture, so long as it’s a gamble I believe I can afford to make, I will do it. After all, rewards are for those who are willing to take risks.
Thanks so much for answering our questions! To finish us off, given the opportunity to talk to your past self, before you ever founded your first company, what would you say?
David Seruya: Back then, I went into the home warranty industry a bit haphazardly. And, as a result, my company ended up having to be closed after only a handful of years. I don’t regret that decision, however, so I wouldn’t tell my past self to quit. Instead, I’d reaffirm to myself that it was the right decision, since I know I would have only regretted not doing it.
Of course, if given the chance, I’d be cheeky and share all the tricks I learned along the way so that I can hopefully avoid some of the more painful mistakes I made.