Here’s how I see it: the leadership at an organization can be primarily focused on one of two things, their business or their people. Of course, the business is very important, otherwise how do you make money? But in order for a business to run successfully, your people need to be the priority. Why? Because when you make your people the priority, they will run your business successfully for you. I don’t understand why this isn’t the case in all organizations. Maybe it’s because some leaders don’t understand this concept. I do think that some leaders think they understand it, but when you really drill down into their priorities, the truth eventually comes out. So how do you ensure your organization is primarily focusing on your people (employee-centric) instead of on the business?
Start at the Top: Show the CEO/President/Owner the importance of being employee-centric and the implications of being company-centric. They need to understand that a company’s employees are their direct line to their customers and clients. The way an employee is treated is reflected in their work and in their interaction with others. So, the more you put into them, the more you will get out of them. Without this buy-in from the senior leaders, it could cause a trickle-down effect, and you may not get buy-in from the rest of the leadership team. The last thing you want is to hear are things like: “If he/she doesn’t value me, why should I value my employees?” The employees will feel the negative energy, causing them to be unmotivated and non-productive. Therefore, getting support from the top down is of the upmost importance.
Managers Can be HR, too: Empower your managers to handle the issues that usually end up in the HR office. If the manager and employee can create a relationship where there is trust, the employee will feel they can confide in their manager with any issues that come up. The manager and employee can work together to create solutions and spend less time in the HR office being unproductive. Empowering your leaders to do this will not only be good for their employees, but it will also create a positive and energizing environment for management.
Valuing Your Employees: There are so many ways you can show your employees that you value them. Here are just a few suggestions.
- Know Your Employees: Spend time getting to know your employees. Check in on them from time to time and ask them questions about their lives that you’ve discussed in the past. It will show them that you care about them and you remember details about them.
- Express Gratitude: Understand how your employees like to be recognized and acknowledge them in a way they appreciate for a job well done.
- Listen to Their Ideas: Do you have platforms available for employees to offer suggestions and feedback? If so – you need to listen to them; and don’t say no to anything right away. Evaluate the ideas and then make improvements if you can or provide reasons why you can’t.
- Community Involvement: Be involved in the community and allow employees to participate as well. Volunteer as a team at a homeless shelter, food pantry, animal shelter, etc. Show your employees you care about the community and getting involved just as much as you do about the success of your business. Not only will your employees be proud to be part of an organization that gives back, but the community will recognize the commitment you have given.
If you still aren’t sold on the whole “employee-centric” culture and you still think being “company-centric” is the way to go, you may want to think about this. These days, an organization that is more focused on the company and not the people, are going to see higher turnover rates. Employee turnover is expensive! You know how much money your people make, so calculate how much it costs every time you lose an employee and have to hire someone new. Then think about how many people you lose each year and figure out how much money you are losing annually because you are a company-centric organization. Maybe now it’ll be a little easier to get on board with a few culture changes that cost you little to nothing now and will save you a lot in the long run. #micdrop