Now more than ever, in a post-pandemic world, companies are realising just how important being able to adapt to their staff's personal lives is.
Being able to cater to different lifestyles, ambitions, values, skills, and individual personalities helps boost employee engagement and company culture, and leads to higher performance overall.
Why a people-first approach?
At the end of the day, "employee" is just a fancy word for "human who works for your business". They're not just numbers on a screen or cogs in a wheel; part of what they bring to work includes factors of their personal lives, emotions, interests, and goals. It's not enough to claim it as a mission statement; you must understand that realigning your company to a people-first mentality will be an ongoing journey in acknowledging your staff's entire value set, not simply an end destination.
When employees recognise the people-first culture coming into play, and they feel as though their input is making a difference, you'll start to see a positive shift in team members' attitudes and the general work environment.
Getting to this point won't happen overnight, and everyone needs to be onboard – especially senior leaders. To ensure a people-first approach is successfully being felt throughout every level and department, adequately train those in leadership positions – be sure they understand the type of work environment that needs to be established for both high happiness and high performance. This way you're leading by example; through elevated trust, employees will feel more comfortable voicing their opinions or concerns; and with a greater sense of support, employees may take more chances or take on more challenges to reach their goals.
So, what is a people-first approach?
Simply put, a people-first approach is one that holds greater value for life satisfaction over job satisfaction and maintains a higher standard of work-life balance.
Implementing this approach could come in the form of bolstering your Personal Development practices, this could be through supplementary classes that directly benefits staff output; management courses, lessons on effective communication, etc.
Or, it could be through a more holistic approach, ways to support staff wellbeing; yoga classes, subsidized healthcare, flexible working hours, etc.
There are also the classic perks to consider, like bonuses, lunches, workplace events, and more. Although, these are more budget dependent.
On a more personal level, it's also about taking the "human" aspect into consideration when making decisions; approving days off for recreation or mental health purposes, taking proactive steps to avoid burnout amongst staff, and celebrating all successes: team-wide, individually, or personally – not just the companies.
Today's talent is a new generation who have grown up around modern businesses that generally take a more people-first stance. And with remote working opportunities becoming more and more available, companies need to step up to meet this generation's expectations if they want to attract the top talent.
Today's employees want:
- A sense of purpose
- The freedom of autonomy
- Support from managers and colleagues
- Room to not only grow, but thrive
Generally speaking, often higher salaries and flashy perks take a back seat to meaningful and impactful work.
What's in it for you?
It's safe to say that by adopting a people-first approach and boosting the overall happiness and wellbeing of your staff, you'll quickly see an improvement to the everyday comings and goings of your company.
According to a research study conducted by Jacob Morgan, companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t.
From engagement and retention to productivity and creativity, encouraging this type of workplace culture should be high up on your list of business strategies. Having the know-how and initiatives in place will get people talking, whether that's through social media channels like LinkedIn, or simply word of mouth – soon, your company will be attracting top talents who are eager and hungry for the overall employee experience your culture provides.
Work with founders/co-founders and your talent management/performance management team to develop employee engagement surveys. This way, you can get to the bottom line of how your staff members are currently feeling and work out a plan to get to where you need to be.
As long as your business has any amount of staff members, taking on people-centric practices will not only benefit your output, but bring a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction to those you employ.