It is common for employees to feel undervalued and overlooked, so they disengage. They may even actively dislike working for their employer but they stay to collect a pay cheque, or because the job market is not conducive to finding a new job. As employees, they are present in body, but not in heart or mind. The ultimate solution to these examples of what is known as presenteeism and resenteeism is the cultivation of a people-centric organisation – one that highly values its employees, and works to create an enjoyable and meaningful workplace experience for its people. This entails putting their employees first, trusting that productivity and profits will follow.
“For an organisation to be people-centric is to place their employees at the heart of everything they do.”
What is a people-centric organisational culture?
For an organisation to be people-centric is to place their employees at the heart of everything they do. A people-centric culture signifies that the organisation’s leaders deeply understand what their employees need, how they feel and why. This holds true for every key touchpoint of the employee journey – from onboarding to exit.
Why is it important for an organisation to be people-centric?
Studies show that employees who are part of a people-centric organisation have a greater sense of ownership and are more service-minded. They form deeper connections with their teammates, communicate better and share openly. Research also shows that people-centric organisations gain many benefits. These include more job satisfaction and higher employee engagement, lower turnover and less absenteeism, fewer mistakes, better quality products and services, better safety records and higher profitability.
What are some of the hallmarks of a people-centric culture?
A people-centric culture gives rise to an environment where innovation, ideas, creativity and free-flowing communication are encouraged throughout an organisation. Employees feel empowered to make suggestions or challenge any structure they may feel is inhibiting performance or productivity. The outcome is:
- Increased productivity. When your employees are happy and content they are more invested in their work. This shows in their level of productivity.
- Employees are better matched to tasks. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your employees allows you to match them to tasks for which they are better suited. This helps to improve team camaraderie and performance.
- Loyal employees. Even organisations that offer less pay, but encourage employee ideas, suggestions and challenges can attract workers who are more likely to remain engaged and loyal to the business, because they feel invested with the company.
“A people-centric culture gives rise to an environment where innovation, ideas, creativity and free-flowing communication are encouraged…”
It takes the whole organisation to be people-centric
If your organisation wants to gain the rewards of being people-centric, your leadership needs to care to find out what employees need in order to do their best work and support a happy workplace culture. Every employee, from the top to the bottom rung, needs to know and understand what this means, and commit to participating.
“Creating a people-centric culture takes leaders distinguishing the organisation’s primary drivers from those of their people.”
In broad strokes, here are three important aspects to building a people-centric organisations:
1. Encourage purpose-driven work
Creating a people-centric culture takes leaders distinguishing the organisation’s primary drivers from those of their people. For example, meeting financial goals and objectives is important to shareholders, but it may not be everything to employees. Employees are not necessarily driven by financial outcomes; they are driven by purpose. This is why it is important for leaders to create purpose-driven goals in order for employees to want to excel. To be people-centric is to think about how your people want to work and what inspires and motivates them to do the work. Also, consider how you might provide for more variety in their work. When people are challenged, they are more motivated, and when they have the opportunity to engage in different kinds of work, they are less likely to suffer from burnout.
2. Grant employees the power of choice
A measure of choice and control are critical to people’s happiness and mental health. Providing your employees with the latitude to make their own decisions on their work locations and schedules, offering them multiple avenues for learning and development or providing them with lateral movement opportunities within the organisation will provoke an attitude-shift in your people, and enhance their wellbeing and their productivity. That being said, too much freedom can be unhelpful. People want clear expectations for their work and performance so they can monitor and adjust their efforts, to provide what is required to the best of their ability. Ultimately, individuals and teams are most effective when autonomy and control is balanced with clear expectations and parameters.
3. Improve diversity and inclusion
Employees should know they are the organisation – that their voice is respected and necessary.
But, putting your people at the heart of everything you do goes beyond just valuing and empowering their voice. Your people will only thrive if they feel included, represented and supported. To create such an environment, diversity and inclusion needs to be front and centre.
Within such an organisation, employees should be educated and encouraged to show respect to one another. The workplace is made up of people who come from different cultures and have different educational and professional backgrounds. Respecting each other and the diversity of skills and experiences each person brings on board is vital to nurturing healthy and productive relationships.
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