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Employee-First Approach: Now It's Real

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As we enter the second half of 2024, it’s clear that this year has been marked by transformation, innovation and adaptability. Yes, you might find these terms overused (we all do), but the reality is that the business landscape has undeniably evolved in this direction. Furthermore, the trend of putting employees first is very likely to continue into the next year. We’ve moved past the era where employees were expected to blend into the corporate landscape, sacrificing their individuality to secure their jobs. Employee experience is now a significant consideration, who would have thought!

Jokes aside, companies that wish to thrive and remain competitive must adopt a people-first approach, where the focus is on employees, customers and the broader community.

In this post we will explore what exactly “people-centric” means and point out practical ways to enhance employee satisfaction without resorting to tired clichés like installing ping-pong tables, bean bags, or expecting employees to be ecstatic about mandatory weekend trips to amusement parks with their colleagues. The horror.

Moving away from such extremes, let’s focus on practical actions that genuinely make employees feel valued and improve their lives.

Keeping Your Current Talent Happy

The cornerstone of a thriving organization is retaining existing employees, which should command the majority of any company’s attention. In today’s job market where opportunities are readily available, especially for those with sought-after skills, many companies conduct “stay interviews”. These conversations with valued employees help identify both why they choose to remain within the company and pinpoint areas for improvement in employee experience.

Upskilling Your Workforce

Investing in employees’ growth benefits the company and fosters trust, significantly boosting employee engagement and retention rates. While concerns may arise about skilled employees seeking other opportunities, in reality, this investment tends to enhance employee loyalty due to the sense of appreciation and trust it creates.

Embracing Workplace Flexibility

Remote work has transitioned from a temporary solution to the new norm. Job seekers now prioritize workplace flexibility, making it an expectation rather than a perk. This shift offers substantial cost savings, up to $11,000 per employee annually, despite its unique challenges.

Job Security and Constructive Feedback

Leaving behind the fairytales of being inspired by a company’s mission, most employees are primarily motivated by financial stability and a secure work environment. Work is a significant part of their lives and the most important aspect of it is financial stability. However, that’s not the entire story. Covering the cost of living addresses basic needs, while creating a secure working environment fulfills another layer of Maslow’s hierarchy.

To complete the picture, a sense of purpose is crucial. When employees feel secure and receive positive feedback, they not only feel safe but also find a sense of purpose within your company.

Meaningful Work

Having a sense of purpose significantly enhances the quality of life. Employees want more than just a job, they seek work that aligns with their values, and thus, we daresay, brings a touch of magic to their lives.

Open Communication

True open communication, without the fear of repercussions, remains rare in many organizations. While companies often claim to have open communication, it is seldom practiced. This needs to change.

Mental Health Support

Mental health support is a relatively new, but potentially life-saving benefit. Unfortunately, discussing mental health at work is still considered controversial. However, covering mental health services can significantly enhance employee well-being and their appreciation for the company. Innovative wellness benefits, such as unlimited paid time off, and even seemingly trivial perks like pet insurance, can greatly improve employees’ lives and increase their happiness and gratitude.

Giving Employees a Stronger Voice through Feedback

Employee feedback should be both free and valued, as it’s a two-way street. It makes employees feel heard and provides valuable insights for the company’s improvement.

In Conclusion: Putting People First

In the end, putting people first means just that. It’s not about gimmicks or superficial perks but rather about recognizing and responding to people’s needs and appreciating their contributions.

It’s acknowledging our shared humanity and understanding that different individuals may require different incentives to thrive.

While creating a supportive environment is important, it’s equally vital to have systems in place to address any abuse of the company’s well-intentioned efforts.

Ultimately, every company’s goal should be to make employees feel at home, a place they wouldn’t want to leave, where appreciation and growth opportunities abound.

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