Blog

Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

The hidden advantages of a people-first versus a profit-first company

Posted by Kanika Sinha

January 5, 2022    |     4-minute read (779 words)

Entrepreneurs are increasingly realizing the power of building people-first organizations that value the happiness of employees as much as the bottom line. In fact, there’s a buzz surrounding the idea of companies embracing this culture and reaping the benefits of putting people first. 

Dig deeper

The people-first approach is rooted in the philosophy that values people over profits. When employees are valued as whole individuals and provided the opportunity for well-being, connection and fulfillment, organizations tend to become more innovative, resilient and profitable.

What does it mean? In a people-first organization, every decision, every structure and every idea is created with people as the top priority. Business leaders think, plan and execute activities by thinking of their people before projects, processes or profits. They have no problem sacrificing projects, processes or profits in the interest of employees. They are committed to making staff feel valued and will do what it takes to make that happen.

How does it work? When leaders put people first, their workforce is presumably happier and stronger, therefore output improves and ultimately businesses become more successful. 

Benefits of being a people-first company

Not only are people-first organizations great places to work, but businesses that embrace this approach are also rewarded with better financial results and higher employee satisfaction. 

Check these three advantages of a people-first culture: 

Happy employees equals happy customers – CEOs of people-first organizations believe the impact of adopting this culture is real. Bob Habeeb, former president and CEO of First Hospitality Group said, "When your people are happy, your clients are happy–no matter what industry you're in."

Measurable improvementsStudies suggest that culture-driven companies experience 22% higher productivity, 26% fewer mistakes, 41% lower absenteeism and 30% stronger customer satisfaction than other businesses, according to Kris Boesch, founder and CEO of Choose People.

HR benefits – Engaged and inspired employees are more than twice as likely to recommend an organization to friends, and the people they refer are nearly three times as likely to be hired and stay at the job.

How to foster a people-first culture in your company?

The people-first approach will translate to better results only if you instill the motto in everything you do at your company. Here’s how you can do it:

Language – Instead of using task-oriented language at the workplace, choose the language of love and compassion. For clarity, take a look at the language differences used in people-first versus profit-first organizations.

People-first organization

Profit-first organization

How are you doing? How is your project going?
How are you feeling about the project? Are you going to meet the project deadline?
Do you need anything from my end? What sales have you made recently?
Is this a reasonable scope and timeline for the team to take on? How much profit are we going to make on this project?
Make sure that your employees are not treated as cogs in a machine but valued as human beings. Make time to regularly connect with them to confirm they are happy and taken care of. Pay attention to what motivates them and ensure that workers are set up for growth and success.

Compensation – When your company makes profits, don’t hoard it for personal benefit. Instead, look at what part of that compensation can be shared with employees. 

Celebrations – Be proud of your people’s achievements. Big or small, take the time to celebrate their accomplishments, whether weekly, monthly or quarterly. 

Don’t just celebrate financial successes, but also recognize personal milestones. For instance, recognizing when someone gets engaged or completes a marathon can make them feel cared for and appreciated.

Hiring – When interviewing candidates, pay attention to how they will fit into your team instead of only focusing on their skills. Hire people for who they are as human beings and teach them the required skills for the project.

Work-life balance – Support your employees in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Make certain that they are able and encouraged to take care of themselves and their loved ones. This means giving them the freedom and flexibility to do what they want/need to in other areas of their lives. This could include offering flexible hours, a compressed workweek or remote work facilities.

Trigger a ripple effect – Finally, encourage and support your workers to put people first in every aspect of their lives. This will create a ripple effect of putting others first expanding beyond your immediate circle of influence and your organization.

Recap

A people-first approach is all about making employees feel valued and heard while paying attention to what keeps them happy and motivated. This ladders up to better teamwork, a productive workplace, smarter results and ultimately greater success.

We handle your essential business offerings so you can focus on growth.