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Is your business really "people-first"?

20th February 2020 |

A new survey shows that 82 per cent of businesses are seeking to improve their people-first approach. It will come as no surprise that this tactic has become favourable over the past few years; more and more companies are now making headlines by offering welling benefits and incentives such as four day working weeks, flexible hours and on-site health and therapy facilities. Business leaders are realising that it’s the people that work at companies which make them successful, and that is who they need to look after.

There are many ways that forward-thinking companies are looking after their employees in an effort to attract and retain top talent. However, since this approach came into popularity, the people-first incentives have become a buzzword in the HR and business universe. We’re now seeing random perks coming out of the woodwork, leaving professionals scratching their heads as to how genuine they actually are and to what purpose they serve.

Whether it be for a PR stunt or an actual move to help employee health and wellbeing, low employee engagement can suggest that many organisations aren't getting this approach quite right – so, how can you ensure a truly people-first business?

Give people the chance to have their say

It’s relatively new to the business world, but something that works very well is actually listening to employees from all stages of the workforce. CEOs are beginning to see the value in having these employees either on or reporting into boards on the current thoughts, feelings and opinions of others in similar positions. What this does is gives each person within the organisation their own voice and opportunity to help improve the company and highlight genuine and often overlooked pain points.

An article by Talent International found that only 16 per cent of millennials stay on for a second year at a business. Those who do stay are 89 per cent increasingly productive, 93 per cent highly engaged with the company and 80 per cent extremely happy in their current role.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Having a genuine company charity to support promotes the value of looking after others. After supporting our own health, helping other people is closely followed as people’s motivating factor. Deloitte found that 70 per cent of millennials that they had studied had listed their company’s alignment to a community cause as having influenced their decision to work there. In addition to this, another study found that by engaging with socially valuable projects can reduce turnover of staff by 50 per cent.

Having a good CSR project or commitment that aligns with the company’s values and goals is the ideal way to also attract talent who share the same mindset. Rather than just going for the big names in charity, stop and think as to whether yours is – or could be – more perfectly matched to your business.

Employee benefits

There are so many different types of work perks now available in a range of different industries. However, it’s when you get down to the clauses behind employee benefits that a slight turn away from the people-first approach becomes clear.

For example, target-based incentives are generally more business aligned than having the individual in mind. Of course, there is an argument to be made about whether or not these are motivating factors to help push certain professionals – this would work more for sales-based industries.

However, when taking a look at the employee benefits that are on offer, try to highlight if they really benefit the employee or the business more. A key example of something that benefits both are learning and development opportunities. They are a prime example of helping your own professionals to better themselves and achieve a promotion internally rather than them looking elsewhere for the development.

There are plenty of approaches that business can take when it comes to their employees, however, the pure success that those with people-first strategies are having is a clear indication of how the next generational workforce is going to behave and respond to certain elements of the business. If your business fails to keep up with these demands, it could fall behind competitors.

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