Does a People First Corporate Culture Make Sense?
Most employees believe that a people first corporate culture makes sense. Their argument? Employee engagement and employee happiness result in more customer loyalty and more profitable customers.
Should People Really Come First? Before Customers? Before Investors?
The short answer – it depends on your business strategy regarding whether you should invest in a people first corporate culture.
Everyone Wants to Work in a Healthy Culture
Regardless of whether you put employees, customers or profits first, every company needs to maintain minimum levels of organizational health to thrive. And people want to work in a healthy environment. In general, the health of an organization encompasses the well-being of your employees and their ability to function, adapt, grow and perform.
But, Cultural Health is Just a Ticket to Play the Game
While cultural health has been proven to be necessary for success regardless of industry, it rarely, in and of itself, differentiates the performance of one company from another. An organization must be healthy enough to be set up for success; but health alone will not set you apart from your peers.
What Does Set a Corporate Culture Apart?
Our organizational alignment research found that workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing organizations. The secret sauce of the high performance was not organizational health, but the level of alignment between the workplace culture (how things get done) and the business strategy (what gets done and why it matters).
What Matters Most? People, Profits, Products or Customers?
So now that we know the difference between a healthy culture and an aligned culture, should your corporate culture put people first? It depends upon your strategy and how you want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
Six Steps to Take If a People-First Culture Makes Sense for You
So if you decide that, for your unique business in your specific industry with your desired workforce and overall strategy for success, people really should come first, here are six initial big picture steps to consider:
1. Reduce Layers of Management
Excessive bureaucracy can wear anyone down. Even engaged and committed employees get discouraged when they have to wade through numerous levels just to have their voices heard or ideas implemented. In a flatter organization, workers feel they have more influence over their job and responsibilities.
This is both engaging and empowering.
2. Simplify and Minimize Work Policies
Practices that can be easily read and simply understood are a far better guide to desired behaviors than multi-paged tomes. Basically, you want to create a respectful workplace. That should be the expectation.
With that philosophical umbrella, specific policies are simpler to list and define.
3. Identify and Hire Your Ideal Employees
Know just what attributes you want in your employees and then hire for them. Define the behavioral competencies that you know can help your company succeed and make them a central part of your employee onboarding, career development and performance management processes.
4. Resolve Conflict Quickly and Fairly and With Empathy
Nip incipient conflict in the bud. The more you maintain an open environment, the less likely conflict is given a chance to grow. Encourage employees to discuss disagreements objectively with the aim of resolution.
Give employees the necessary tools to acknowledge different perspectives and to negotiate fairly.
5. Establish Personal Relationships for Team Cohesion
When coworkers have a personal as well as a professional relationship, they are much more likely to cooperate and strive for the common goal. Recognize and reward collaboration for the good of the team.
6. Provide Development Opportunities as Part of an Individualized Career Path
Each employee should have a clear path forward. What are they good at? What do they like to do? What are their ambitions?
Find out the answers to these questions and create, together, a plan that helps the employee learn and grow.
The Bottom Line
Assuming it makes sense for your business strategy, each of these steps takes you further toward a workplace where the employee is first priority. The good news is that we know engaged employees create loyal customers and higher profits.
If you want to learn more about whether a people first corporate culture makes sense, download 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture Strategy
4 Keys to Keeping Talent Up to Date
Why Employees Change Their Mind
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Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.
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LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”
Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources
Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.
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We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.
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I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.
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Director of Human Resources
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Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
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