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The Power of a People-First Culture


According to findings from Gallup, organisations with high employee engagement levels are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive than those with disengaged employees.

When employees are engaged in the workplace, they feel happier and are ready to go above and beyond to achieve your company’s goals. A people-first culture will ensure high employee engagement.

This leads to:

  • higher productivity
  • increased job satisfaction
  • improved staff retention
  • better talent acquisition
  • more employee collaboration
  • increased sales and revenue

In 2023, a people-first culture isn’t just a nice thing to have; it is a necessity to have. So, what can you do to create a people-first culture for your business?

What is a people-first culture?

This is a company-wide approach that recognises employees and enables them to feel more connected and motivated. This positive workplace culture aims to put people over profit and helps the employees within your organisation, too. When people feel appreciated and noticed by their company and senior leaders, they’re less likely to seek other job opportunities and their productivity increases.

Understanding your employees

To embark on your journey to a people-first culture, engage with your employees to understand their needs. A people-first approach is all about prioritising the employee experience and wellbeing. That starts with understanding what the employee experience is. Businesses can understand this through surveys, polls, quizzes, and company workshops.

Employee motivation

Understanding employee motivation also forms the basis of a people-first culture. You can't motivate your teams unless you understand their core values and drivers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to worker motivation. Each employee is an individual, and they are not all motivated by the same needs. Data can help form the basis of reward and recognition schemes.

Employee recognition

This is the cornerstone of an employee-first strategy. An organisation should promote or give recognition to workers based on their performance. Rewards and recognition programmes work best when they are based on something an employee values.

Staff benefits

In recent times, employee benefits have become an essential part of modern workplaces. From medical cover and employer pensions to cycle-to-work schemes, learning and development (L&D), bonuses, and subsidised gym membership, benefits can boost employee morale, increase retention, and attract top talent. In 2023, an effective employee benefits scheme will listen to its employees and provide a scheme that will benefit them.

Employee wellbeing

It is clear that employee demands have shifted during the pandemic. Developing an employer brand image that shows candidates that you care is vital. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have put pressure on employees' mental health, and with the cost-of-living crisis, employees face many pressures and challenges.

When an organisation prioritises wellbeing, its teams are likely happier and experience less stress. There are ways businesses can help employees maintain positive mental health. This could include regular one-on-one meetings as well as wellness activities.

Flexible working

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no secret that many prefer remote work. A study from McKinsey & Company found that 87% of employees offered remote work took the opportunity. The study also showed that a flexible work environment is one of the top three motivating factors for finding a new job.

An Axios Harris 100 report found that millennials are the most likely to want a remote option. Eighty-four per cent of millennials say that remote work is important, compared to 66% of Gen Z and 68% of Boomers.

Just five years ago, flexible working was a luxury perk only offered by the UK’s most progressive employers. In fact, one survey shows that 8.7% of roles advertised in 2016 were flexible. Today, according to research by Sonovate, 58% of employers offer flexible working in some form. That’s an increase of 566% in seven years!

This month, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill passed through the House of Lords without any amendments and is pending royal assent before it becomes law. This legislation is set to revolutionise the working landscape for millions of employees by enabling them to request flexible working from their first day on the job.

Align employees with business success

Employees should know exactly what is expected of them. The more clarity they have on their performance and how their goals align with the organisation’s goals, the more engaged they will be.

Create a positive workplace culture

A recent Workhuman and Gallup poll showed that only one in four employees strongly agree that they feel connected to their company culture. Embracing change can help change that. When employees feel like their ideas matter and their feedback is taken seriously, they’re more likely to offer it when they have opportunities.

Model the behaviour

Creating an authentic culture requires everyone’s commitment. A company-wide alignment of values is essential for your people-first strategy to feel authentic. The senior leadership team needs to work together to model the values and behaviours they want to see across their organisation. If your employees don’t witness this from senior management, there’s no way you’re going to get the outcomes you want company-wide.

Moving forwards

Your company’s biggest asset is its employees. To create a people-first culture and create change, you are going to need all employees to be supportive and embrace the journey. Engage with them, asking insightful questions and listening to their feedback. If your strategy is genuine, employees will feel cared for, and they’ll reciprocate.

When you build a people-first culture, you encourage your team to be fans of your organisation. Not necessarily for the product or service your business provides, but for who you are and how you treat people. In a time when businesses are competing for top talent, this makes candidate attraction easier. A survey by Wonderful Workplaces showed more than 90% of candidates consider an employer’s brand when applying for jobs.

Working with an established recruitment partner can help you get the most from your hiring strategy. To learn more about how NU Concept Solutions can support your recruitment strategy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 0330 058 3400.