How To Humanize Your Business To Drive Growth To ensure our firm's longevity, and to adapt and transform to survive in the marketplace, we need to bring about several strategic and operational changes within the organization.

By Oweis Zahran

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New research suggests that by 2027, we would be living in a world in which the average company is likely to last only 12 years on the S&P 500, an index widely considered to be the best indicator of how the U.S. stock market is performing. To put things in perspective, if you were listed in the S&P 500 in 1935, the life span of a company was 90 years.

There is no doubt that we live today in some of the most interesting economic times. To ensure our firm's longevity, and to adapt and transform to survive in the marketplace, we need to bring about several strategic and operational changes within the organization. A 2017 survey report by North Highland, a global management consulting firm, states that "at the center of successful transformation in today's global business ecosystems are the people."

The traditional approach of business transformation was purely numbers-based or operationally-focused. Hard facts and figures such as profits, year-on-year growth, balance sheet, and cash flow statements were the tools that assessed performance and measured success. This was seen as the tangible measurement of business. However, the North Highland report states that "organizations that get the human experience right, will have the support of their people, who are fully empowered to innovate, collaborate, and generate sustained value, even in states of near constant change."

No matter how far advanced technology may take us, the future will still be human, it states.

In my personal experience as an entrepreneur, building up a service-oriented automotive business from scratch, I have realized that the "experience" of people, be it your consumers, employees, suppliers, or shareholders, both as recipients and activators of change, should not be overlooked, as humans engage and connect to each other in a way that technology cannot.

Related: AI: The New Engine Of HR

So, how do you "humanize" a business? How can you empower and activate people to be at the helm of change?

I strongly believe that just as we strive to create better customer experiences, we should also equally focus on empowering our employees to feel motivated to make improvements, and contribute in a fruitful way toward the success of the business. Employees who embody the mission of an organization, and understand its values are always willing to go one step ahead to ensure that the company succeeds, and customers are happy.

Humanizing the business is all about listening- to the needs of your employees, customers, suppliers, clients, and shareholders, for these are the people who will make your business successful. Mastering the art of listening allows you to analyze and derive insights, and gain a better understanding of how to improve experiences for both customers and employees, far better than any chart or graph that monitors your company's stock value. It is through these human-to-human encounters that allow us to see, feel, and share -and which cannot be measured in numerical terms- that I have followed up on some of the most defining transformative changes in my organization.

When you treat both customers and employees like humans, and not as mere numbers on your database, it leads to the creation of lasting, personal, and positive experiences overall for all parties involved. This emotional investment that we make in our people is the ultimate approach in humanizing a business. Companies that are more data driven tend to lose the human touch, and as such, their individuality.

I am a firm believer that the best investment is always in the people. When an organization gives priority to the needs and wellbeing of its employees, the employees are likely to respond in kind. Empowered and engaging employees, in turn, impact customer perspective. Customers trust brands that take care of their people; it is the mark of an organization that has its values in the right place; it is a sign of honesty and integrity.

As entrepreneurs or leaders of organizations, we should realize that our reputation or perceived market value is only as good as the people we employ. Shifting the focus from profits to people, therefore, works in favor of the business's bottom line, longevity, and its brand image.

So, whether you deal with a basic product like water or tea, or a specialized engineering offering, it is not enough to have just a high-quality product to boost the bottom line. Getting your people metrics right, and empowering your employees will help redefine your growth in the coming years.

Related: The Need To Humanize Technology (In Its True Sense)

Oweis Zahran


As a dynamic entrepreneur in both the automotive industry and in the VC space, Oweis Zahran is a hands-on CEO with expertise in business development, operations, innovation and diversification. Through his strategic foresight, drive and determination, he has built multiple businesses and a strong foundation including his successful multi-million-dollar company OWS Automotive and the ever growing OWS Capital.

As an American, Oweis has been spending his time in the Middle East region since he was a teenager and dabbled early on in the business world. Once he graduated from the University Of Maryland, he moved to the UAE to launch his automotive venture. He has been the force behind launching multiple innovative solutions in the automotive world and as a born leader and visionary, Oweis’s hands-on experience prepared him to seamlessly embrace a leadership role, which helped in the evolution, expansion and success of scaling his business from the MENA region to globally.

From setting up the largest end to end transportation management companies, OWS Automotive, in the UAE and expanding it to seven countries to developing exclusive auto solutions to launching a joint venture with the governments of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, Oweis Zahran achieved a lot before he even celebrated his 30 th birthday. Oweis’s ability to build high-performance teams, including his strategically selected executive management staff, has served as a growth catalyst and infused productive energy to his businesses with massive expansion plans being rolled out for OWS Automotive into Saudi Arabia as well as South East Asia including Brunei, Philippines and Malaysia. In 2020, OWS Capital was launched with a series of partnerships and verticals that came into being under its umbrella.

One of them is MELT ME, a joint partnership with Hollywood icon Steve Harvey, who are already working alongside government bodies such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai tourism to bring unique IPs to the country. In 2021, one such event under MELT ME was the first annual Steve Harvey Golf Tournament which was a resounding success. Primarily focused on bridging the gap between the Middle East and Western cultures, with a mandate to create synergy between the two regions whilst breaking down barriers and showcasing what each region represents, MELT ME will be redefining the celebrity events landscape in the Middle East region. Under OWS Capital, cutting-edge health and wellness gym brand Platform Health Club was launched in 2022 across the UAE with an aim to deliver unique and personalized quality service. From celebrity trainers to high-tech and top-of-range equipment, the gyms will cater to health-conscious audiences in the country. The vision for 2022 and beyond for OWS Capital is to bring unique experiences and cutting-edge businesses in the fitness and entertainment verticals to the region with ambitious expansion plans already in the works.

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