In this episode, Jason talks about building teams & companies that put ‘people first’.
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While mainly a subjective perspective, companies that have a ‘people-first’ often tend to be more productive due to prioritising collaboration over competition in a happy, healthy workplace.
[01:56] Creating a people-first culture
[05:08] How to govern a people-first culture
[09:52] Support mechanisms and policies around creating a people-first culture
[13:12] Having a flat hierarchy
[14:05] Giving your employees the means to develop both personally and professionally
At the heart of a people-first business you need to trust that your staff will be able to behave in the best interest of themselves and their workplace. This trust goes both ways, those in charge need to be able to be transparent and provide clarity to their employees.
The values that you prioritise as a leader will inevitably reflect within the way your team operates. If you champion an environment that values people first such as trust and community, then it will become a normal part of the company culture as team members adopt these values too.
There are many buzzwords and things that come with ‘team-building:’ the early Fridays, the pool table, the team holidays all mean nothing if there are no people-first values being put forward and modelled by the leadership.
Culture is a small word that carries a lot of weight. Culture determines if the initiatives, new technologies and practices introduced within an organisation will take root and thrive or quickly flounder.
To cultivate a people-first culture, start by creating a mission statement so everyone in the company knows the ‘north star’. Then, co-create and communicate short and mid-term directions of the company so people feel like they are a part of the process. Choose one metric to judge and award everyone by. For example, you can look at a business’ profit which everyone in the business is responsible for and reward them by distributing this profit evenly. Prioritise people and the planet alongside profit. Ultimately, use data to judge performance. In essence, have a flat hierarchy where everyone feels like they are contributing.
There are many ways in which a workplace can put in support mechanisms and policies that promote a people-first company culture.
Work is meant to support your personal and professional potential, so it is good to have options that allow people to work in the way that suits them. This increased flexibility means that you shouldn’t be micromanaging your employee’s move. For example, if someone needs to leave a little early to pick up their child from school then let them – no questions asked.
Giving time off when needed, makes people more productive than being restrictive on dates & times for holidays.
While you can have an uncapped holiday allowance it is still good to at least enforce the minimum leave requirement so people have time to rest and recharge.
Another support mechanism that you can put in place is providing adequate care for physical and mental health. Our health is really our only wealth and without it, we cannot perform at our peak. Giving employees access to health resources and services can alleviate a lot of pressure and allow them to take care of themselves.
As we grow and readjust to the different seasons of life, so too do our personal and professional goals. Be encouraging of growth and understand that people may need different things in order to achieve their dreams at the time. You can certainly provide for these within reason. As a leader you may even need to be the one driving personal and professional development by sending your employees for conferences, bringing in resources or getting them upskilled on the latest technology, etc.
In an age where attracting and retaining good talent is becoming harder to do, creating a company where people feel happy and productive is key. A good company culture may not always be clearly reflected in the numbers on your budget spreadsheet but it is certainly something that leaders need to commit fully to if they are to build strong, prosperous and healthy teams.