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Why “People-first” is HR’s Biggest Buzzword, And What it Means for You

happy co-workers exhibiting people-first mentality

The business world speaks its own language; just like the workplace and society at large, that language is always evolving and growing. In a post-pandemic world of quiet quitting, burnout, return-to-the-office battles, and economic anxiety, the “people-first” mantra is as ubiquitous a concept as it is nebulous. In a nutshell, this approach to human resources and business could be a make-or-break proposition for companies in a rapidly changing world. 

Why People-first is More Than an HR Trend

While trends tend to be cyclical, seismic shifts become core business tenets. This is particularly true of the people-first movement, especially in the post-pandemic world. Many workers are more burned out and less engaged than ever, and big salaries aren’t always enough to bridge the gap.

More than ever, there is a focus on work-life balance, being a part of something meaningful, and holding space for personal demands. As many industries face more job openings than applicants, putting the people who power your company first can be a truly revolutionary act. 

If you can’t attract and retain the best talent, your competition will. Because your people are the ones who ultimately support your customers, sell your products and drive your growth, they are your most valuable resource. A people-first strategy recognizes the value top talent brings to the table, ultimately reducing turnover by boosting employee loyalty and commitment. 

In the end, putting people first over profits can be one of the most effective ways to ensure the continued growth of the bottom line. Higher levels of job satisfaction mean less turnover, more dedication and increased productivity across the board. In this way, a people-first culture isn’t just about making sure people like working for your organization; it’s also an investment in long-term success. 

Integrating People-first Principles Effectively

Good intentions are important, but you know they’re useless without the conscientiousness and dedication to follow through on lofty goals. Fostering a people-first company culture does not happen overnight because establishing trust takes time. Now more than ever, that can be a difficult needle for management and decision-makers to thread. It takes time to establish an environment where every team member feels valued, heard, and an important part of the big picture. 

From a practical standpoint, integrating these principles just means taking care of your people, so they are inspired to take care of their corner of the business. Don’t just pay lip service to the concept of self-care. Actively encourage employees to care for themselves. This can mean encouraging them to take their paid time off, helping to minimize off-hours work, and providing support for mental health services, to name a few. 

At the core of people-first practices is simple, old-fashioned empathy and consideration. When your company is genuinely built around empathy, support, and collaborative work, the company culture will reflect those values. Instituting policies for people to address concerns or to combat low morale will not be effective without truly listening to those concerns and taking them seriously. 

Taking time to get to know the ones who make your company tick as people-first and employees second really can make all the difference in a turbulent time. Investing in them as individuals, in their growth and development with the company, and recognizing the value they bring to the table is essential. 

Putting people first isn’t a one-time policy a company puts in place but a series of decisions and policies that continue to grow and evolve, with people at the center of the equation. The people-first business strategy is a win-win for everyone. If you’re ready to learn more about making sure your business is people-first, contact Talent Curve today.