Katie Brenneman 3m 864 #companyculture
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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For businesses to survive in today’s highly competitive environment, they need a high-performing workforce. This is why creating a people-first culture is so important. This article explores why you need a people-first company culture to foster employee satisfaction and staff retention.
When you put your people first, you are better able to maintain, and grow a stellar team, one that is both highly skilled and deeply loyal. However, such a culture doesn’t just happen. It depends on your willingness and capacity to prioritize employee happiness, satisfaction, and well-being.
To do this, you may well need to make a significant shift in your business model. You may need, in short, to transform from a profits-first culture to a people-first one.
What Is a people-first company culture?
A people-first company culture is exactly what the name suggests. It’s an operating model in which the best interests of clients, partners, and of employees are prioritized above other concerns. It represents a fundamental transformation, a rejection of older models in which the service of the bottom line, the pursuit of growth and profit maximization, were the preeminent concern.
This is not to imply that financial success no longer matters to company leadership. It serves no one if the company goes bankrupt and must shutter its doors.
However, a people-first culture is predicated on the idea that a healthy and happy workforce is also a highly productive and extremely loyal one. This means that when you invest in your employees’ well-being and satisfaction, you’re going to reap the rewards in the form of employee retention, competitive positioning, and overall productivity and profitability.
Instituting a people-first culture from the top down
Every business leader knows that the tenor of an organization is set at the top. This means that if you are in a leadership position, then it’s incumbent on you both to model the people-first ethos and to establish policies and processes that bring this ideal to fruition.
The good news is that you don’t have to rebuild your business from the ground up to achieve this transformation in organizational culture. Even small gestures can have a large impact when it comes to your employees’ satisfaction and staff retention.
For example, if your employees work remotely or they spend a significant proportion of their workday using digital devices, from computers to tablets to smartphones, then gifting them with blue light filtering glasses to help minimize eye strain can serve as tangible proof of your concern for your staff, their health, and their comfort.
When you are working to institute a change in the organizational culture, it’s also important to understand the myriad, and often invisible, factors that have shaped your company’s culture to date. This includes factors such as your employees’ access to higher education and consistent, high-quality healthcare.
If you learn, for instance, that your employees may not have been able to acquire the skills they need to advance in their careers or to obtain the medical care they need to be healthy and productive, then you may be able to formulate solutions to help your staff overcome these challenges.
The benefits of open communication
Whether you are seeking to infuse an existing organization with a people-first ethos or you’re endeavoring to launch a new business with the people-first cultural model in mind, the role of open communication cannot be overestimated. Unless you are clearly, comprehensively, and consistently communicating with your staff, always and in all ways, you simply won’t be able to cultivate or maintain a people-first model. You want even the quiet members of your team to feel comfortable communicating with you.
However, when you make communication the cornerstone of your leadership processes, not only are you going to be better equipped to understand and accommodate your employees’ evolving needs and goals, but you’re also going to be able to leverage their insiders’ perspectives and individual expertise to benefit the company. You will transform your team from voiceless automatons or disempowered drones to empowered, proactive, and insightful stakeholders.
The relationship between employee wellness and productivity
Maximizing employee satisfaction is paramount to both productivity and retention. However, in addition to prioritizing employee happiness, it is also critical to emphasize employee wellness.
This should include offering benefits packages that include physical and mental healthcare coverage, as well as perks that can help promote employee health and overall quality of life. You may even want to provide them with time management tips to ensure that they are taking time for their personal wellness.
You may, for example, provide an on-site fitness center or discounted gym memberships for all employees. You may also offer annual interest as well as generous flex time or paid time off (PTO) packages to support employees in achieving a healthier work/life balance.
A people-first company culture is neither a lofty ideal nor a happy luxury. In today’s highly competitive business environment, prioritizing your employees’ health and happiness is essential to productivity, retention, and performance. A people-first company culture, in other words, can help your company not only survive but thrive.