How organisations can succeed with a people-first approach

The past decade has seen a seismic shift in how employees view work. They expect it to fit in with their lifestyles, ambitions, values, skills, and individual personalities. The reality is that a positive workplace culture leads to high performance both individually and organisation wide. Businesses have evolved to create a culture change in the workplace by putting people first. 


Although a people-first approach can mean different things to different companies, achieving this type of cultural alignment is more important than ever in the post-COVID world. ON Festival by Freshworks will explore how you can adopt new values, such as happiness, wellbeing and empathy, into business strategies to create a positive and transparent workplace culture. 

ON Festival

Why Is a People-First Approach to Business Strategy So Valuable? 

Your employees are critical to your overall success and shouldn’t feel like a “cog in the wheel” of your business. A true people-first culture requires a shift in attitude, behaviour and actions at a fundamental level. It’s an ongoing process that involves continuous assessment and review. It’s not enough to add it to your mission statement or website ‘About’ page and view it as a catch-all buzzword. You know how valuable your employees are to your success so you should ensure they feel that their work is making a difference. 

The people-first approach prioritises satisfaction in life over job satisfaction. After all, happy, healthy people are more likely to perform better at work. In practice, this could mean offering supplemental classes and holistic experiences like yoga, budget planning or stress-reduction workshops to help improve their mental and physical health. Putting people first goes beyond offering remote working; it means giving employees time off when they need it, proactively reducing potential burnout and celebrating personal successes alongside professional ones.

You should provide senior executives with training on how to create an environment where people feel comfortable voicing their opinions and sharing concerns. Lead by example since the leader mindset focuses on helping others to grow. Your employees should not only feel heard and respected but also – with the right amount of guidance and support – empowered to take the risks necessary to achieve their goals. 


What Are New Values and How Have They Changed? 

The new generation of talent are digital natives who have grown up seeing how major corporations like Apple, Facebook and Google take an employee-centric approach. Your company might be a fraction of the size, but it doesn’t mean you can’t adopt the same values. 


People are now motivated these factors:

  • A sense of autonomy
  • Flexibility
  • The ability to progress without limitation
  • Purpose and meaning in their work
  • Support from managers and colleagues


The 9-5 mentality is dead. This generation of employees is willing to forgo a large salary to fulfil their need to do meaningful work and feel it is making an impact. 


A Shift in Human-to-Human Connection 

The culture shift has been accelerated by the pandemic. At a time when people have felt isolated, the need for human-to-human connection and building long-lasting relationships with employees is more important than ever. Transferring a strong office culture online to create an inclusive culture for remote employees is key to building engagement and tackling isolation.  

A people-first culture also affects customer relationships. Customers are increasingly mindful of the brands they buy from and prefer to align with companies that reflect positive ethics, empathy and a strong sense of social responsibility. The faster companies embrace and embody these new values, the easier they will find building authentic human connections.


How Can Your Business Benefit from People First?

A people-first approach boosts engagement, retention, productivity and creativity. It benefits employees and companies. For example, when people work flexible hours, they can choose the times they are more productive, particularly if they are managing a disability or long-term health condition. A survey by Airtasker found that flexible employees clocked 16.8 more days each year than traditional office workers. According to the CIPD, 89% of employees rate flexible working as a higher motivating factor for productivity than financial incentives (77%). Flexible working can also reduce absenteeism and staff turnover while increasing responsiveness to market changes, as was seen with the pandemic.

If you have a reputation for valuing employees, you can differentiate your business and attract top talent. An Achievers survey found that better rewards and recognition would encourage 69% of employees to stay at their company. Engaged and motivated employees act as unofficial brand ambassadors outside of work.


Learn More About People First

No matter how much we develop and automate technology, companies still need humans to implement it. And humans in the 21st century seek meaningful work, personal development and flexible working conditions. 


ON Festival by Freshworks features some of the world’s most coveted speakers, with opportunities to hear from the people who have pioneered people-first values to re-define success in today’s world. On 24th June, together with over 5,000 business leaders from across Europe, we’ll explore the role you and your organisation will play in embracing values such as happiness, empathy and wellbeing. Now is your chance to find out more about implementing a people-first strategy for building business growth. 

Broadcasted live from London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, we switch ON to hear from world class speakers including Co-Founder of Netflix Marc Randolph, who shares insights into the success behind Netflix. Harvard lecturer Tal Ben-Shahar will share insights on how positive psychology can help leaders nurture potential, happiness and success, and that’s just the beginning.  

Join us online to find out how your business can switch ON positive values that put people first and drive success. For your chance to join us live, register for free today.