5 Ways to Put Your People First

By Generational Equity


It’s an interesting dilemma for businesses. Companies primarily exist to make money for their owners, yet making money for someone else isn’t much of a motivator for the company’s employees.

A business is a people-centered culture. So what will motivate a team so that profits grow? Here’s how to put people first in your organization.

  1. Define your vision and values. People are motivated to be more creative and more dedicated to their work when they understand the ‘why.’ To understand the ‘why,’ they must know the purpose of their work. Make sure you’ve defined what makes your company special and how each employee plays a role in creating the special sauce that is your organization. This doesn’t require money. It just requires thoughtful communication.
  2. Build them up. Real leaders, the ones employees admire and will walk through glass for, are bosses who do more than define goals and issue orders. Real leaders take the time to get to know their people, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and coach them to become better employees.
  3. Share the numbers. How many times have you wished your employees thought more like owners? Well, employees can’t do that if they don’t have a complete picture. To truly understand their individual and departmental role in the organization, employees need access to financials, performance indicators and other important figures. If you’re sharing this information with non-accountants, you’ll probably have to explain the numbers and their relevance in smaller chunks of time, repeatedly. Gradually, your employees will understand the big picture and will have the tools to make suggestions that improve profits, grow sales and eliminate waste.
  4. Set a good example. Employees respond to the atmosphere around them, so if you want a positive, customer-centric culture, you need to model that behavior yourself. If you’re distracted, inconsistent in your expectations or burned out, it will affect your team. If you take 3 days to answer an email, your team will think that’s okay too. Treat your people fairly, show them compassion and be conscious of the example you’re setting.
  5. Give to the community. A recent study found that 74% of employees said their jobs were more fulfilling when they had opportunities to give back to the causes they cared about. Consider creating a matching gift program to increase employee engagement as well as make a larger impact on your community. Such programs can also elevate your company’s reputation. A third-party vendor can make sure your program complies with regulations.

Putting your people first is becoming the real differentiator in the marketplace. The 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study revealed that 93% of employees want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual. The same study confirmed that more employees expect companies to provide basic benefits while also allowing them to bring their passions for social and environmental issues to the workplace.

If you’ve got withdrawn, unengaged employees, it’s time to put them first by looking at what’s causing their unhappiness. After all, happy employees make for happy customers, and happy customers mean a happy bottom line. 

And if you are considering an exit event via a third party buyer, having an engaged, enthused and motivated workforce can be very beneficial, as it will give buyers who look at your business confidence that the entity will survive and grow after you exit.

By Jessica Johns Pool.

© 2017 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.