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Understanding a People-First Company Culture – What is it?

In the grand theatre of the modern workplace, employee retention is one of the most formidable foes businesses grapple with. Picture this: a third of millennials, the generation currently dominating the workforce, are contemplating a career switch once the dust of the pandemic settles.

Is the pandemic the sole catalyst for this wave of change? Or is it a case of new generations harbouring different career aspirations compared to their predecessors, with the pandemic merely illuminating these differences?

The jury’s still out on that one. However, it’s clear that while the pandemic may have accelerated some decisions to jump ship or switch careers, the real root of the issue often lies in perceived shortcomings in company culture.

Time and time again, workers voice that their desires extend beyond a heftier pay packet. They’re yearning for the option to work from home, the freedom of flexible work schedules, and the promise of career advancement opportunities. Interestingly, when millennials climb the corporate ladder, particularly to management positions, the employee turnover rate slashes by two-thirds compared to non-millennials.

Cultivating a people-first culture is one potent strategy to boost employee satisfaction and retention. This approach prioritises the needs of employees and acknowledges the seismic shifts occurring in the workplace. Let’s delve deeper into the essence of a people-first culture and its potential impact on employee retention and your business.

Decoding a People-First Culture

A people-first culture is rooted in the understanding that the workplace is a dynamic entity, constantly evolving. The way workers perceive their roles has transformed dramatically in recent years, and the modern workplace must mirror this shift. Adopting a people-first approach involves crafting a work environment that not only considers but also caters to the needs of your most valuable asset: your employees, or as we like to call them, your ‘people.’

So, what’s on the wish list for employees these days? While a hefty salary was once the main lure for talent, the focus has now shifted to the nature of the job itself, being part of a larger mission, and the ability to strike a balance between work and life.

Employees seek meaningful work that feels effective, where they can make a tangible difference in the organisation. They’re also looking for a clear progression path, with opportunities to develop, grow, and advance their career within the company. And let’s not forget flexibility. With increasingly busy and complex lives, employees can’t always confine their responsibilities to the traditional 9-5 workday. The pandemic has proven that remote, flexible work is not only possible but, in many cases, necessary. For many, the prospect of reverting to rigid schedules and office cubicles is less appealing and perhaps even less productive.

A people-first culture starts at the top. When an organisation’s leadership recognises and responds to the needs and wants of today’s workers and dares to implement meaningful change, they cultivate the kind of company culture that is the need of the hour. And they can meet the expectations of the moment and align with the modern world of work.

The Ripple Effect of Prioritising People

One of the perks of nurturing your people is that content employees are more likely to go the extra mile for customers. When employees aren’t grappling with job-related stress and feel their basic needs are being met, they can channel their energy into delivering top-notch customer service, a necessity in today’s fiercely competitive market.

Your recruitment and hiring practices also stand to gain. You can attract a more diverse array of talent by demonstrating to potential candidates that you’re committed to putting your people first. These individuals bring a wealth of skills, perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds to the table, enhancing your entire organisation by fostering greater innovation, adaptability, and even business performance.

Moreover, adopting a people-first mindset can positively impact employee retention. After all, content employees are less likely to abandon ship in search of greener pastures. Experts suggest that companies with the highest retention rates offer more than just an attractive salary and benefits package. They also provide perks like personalised development plans, ongoing education and skills training, and mentorship programmes, all of which signal to employees that they’re valued and appreciated. In fact, companies with a robust learning culture boast employee retention rates that are 30-50% higher than those that don’t.

Embracing a people-first culture is a testament to your belief in your employees and your desire for their success. It also makes your organisation far more appealing to those who find your work compelling and the culture stimulating and supportive.

Embracing a People-First Culture is The Ultimate Business Strategy

The benefits of prioritising your people are manifold. Employees are more inclined to go above and beyond for customers when they are content. If they’re not wrestling with job-related stress and feel their basic needs are being met, they can focus on delivering the stellar customer service that’s a prerequisite in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Your recruitment and hiring practices also stand to gain. Demonstrating to job candidates that you’re serious about putting your people first can attract a more diverse pool of potential employees. These individuals bring a wealth of skills, perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds to the table, enhancing your entire organisation by fostering greater innovation, adaptability, and even business performance.

Finally, adopting a people-first mindset positively impacts employee retention. Happy employees are less likely to leave the company in search of greener pastures. Experts suggest that companies with the highest retention rates offer more than just a good salary and benefits. They also provide perks like personalised development plans, ongoing education and skills training, and mentorship programmes, all of which signal to employees that they’re valued and appreciated. In fact, companies with a robust learning culture boast employee retention rates that are 30-50% higher than those that don’t.

Creating a people-first culture is a testament to your belief in your employees and your desire for their success. It also makes your organisation far more appealing to those who find your work compelling and the culture both stimulating and supportive.

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