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Culture & Employee Engagement

How to Develop an Employee-Centric Culture

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A healthy work-life balance is the core element of any employee-centric workplace. Listening to employees' feedback, encouraging their growth, and recognizing their achievements can all boost your company's overall productivity and engagement. That said, the best strategies and benefits for employee-centric cultures vary between teams.

What Are the Benefits of an Employee-Centric Culture?

An employee-centered company culture supports employees individually and as a team. It should guarantee that every person feels empowered and has a voice within your organization.

First and foremost, a healthy work environment can boost employee satisfaction and retention rates. Employees are more willing to stay at jobs with good communication, diversity, and team commitment. Furthermore, high morale and a positive employee experience can improve engagement and collaboration. Simply liking your coworkers can be enough motivation to start a video call with a warm, open-minded attitude.

A diverse, people-centric approach enables employees to share their unique skills and ideas. However, your commitment to diversity must extend beyond hiring. Listening to employees, encouraging them to share their thoughts, and embracing your differences can vastly expand your team's perspective. You can develop a culture of continuous learning and professional growth with long-term effort.

6 Tips to Create a People-Centric Culture in the Workplace

Engaged employees don't gain their motivation overnight. An employee-focused culture requires a long-term commitment, continuous feedback, and various team-focused strategies.

1. See Employees as Stakeholders and Understand Their Needs

Even if they aren't spending money, your employees are some of your business's biggest investors. No company can last without its employees' time, skills, and effort. As such, a people-first culture asks you to treat employees' contributions as ongoing, high-level business transactions — which they essentially are.

The most direct way to maintain your relationships with your employees is via benefits and pay. Most yearly salary and wage increases are less than the annual inflation rate in the U.S. This means that if someone received only a 3% raise in a year with 4% inflation, then their pay essentially decreased overall.

Beyond pay, listening to employees' feedback and offering them a flexible schedule can make them feel appreciated and seen. Take time to learn and understand each individual's unique needs to establish your best approach.

2. Foster Employee Development and Growth

Most industries are actively changing with new practices, software, and skill sets, causing non-employee-centric companies to fall behind. Establishing continuous learning and growth opportunities can inspire your employees to discover new skills and share them with one another.

Consider introducing shadowing opportunities or designated message channels between departments. This can improve how information is shared between teams and teach employees new skills and information that may be critical later.

An employee-centric culture should also inspire professional growth. Talk to your employees about their short- and long-term career goals. When hiring for new or open positions, consider the people in your current talent pool first. This will show your employees that you genuinely care about their careers rather than just their jobs. As a result, they may be more motivated to contribute to your team.

3. Recognize and Reward Employees' Achievements

Though critical feedback is important, too much can harm employees' motivation and self-esteem. On the other hand, sharing positive feedback and recognizing achievements can improve employees' morale and communication.

Be specific with your shoutouts, such as by recognizing productivity boosts or project achievements. This positivity may even be contagious, encouraging teammates to recognize one another. On a personal level, these interactions can also make you more approachable as a boss.

Consider the following strategies and tools to recognize employees' achievements:

  • Shoutout boards
  • Shoutouts in message channels
  • Direct messages and emails
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Shoutouts during group meetings

Many employers also introduce employee rewards based on sales and productivity levels. Though this works for some employee-centric organizations, reward programs can sometimes create a negative sense of competitiveness — especially if the overall team doesn't reach its goals. Your best approach will depend on your current workplace structure and employees' motives.

4. Ask for and Implement Feedback

Mutual feedback is essential to any employee-centric culture. Let your team share its thoughts in group video calls, one-on-one meetings, and employee surveys. Take the time to genuinely review and consider what each individual has to say, and implement changes when possible. This focus on employees' perspectives will show them that you care and hopefully encourage them to share more in the future.

5. Prioritize Employees' Well-Being and Mental Health

Physical and mental health can have a direct impact on an employee's productivity. Just as a construction worker shouldn't work with an injured back, a stressed and anxious office employee will likely struggle to complete a mentally taxing task.

One of the best ways to prioritize happy employees is by fine-tuning your hybrid work schedule. Consider adjusting your in-office days, limiting group meetings, and spreading out tougher tasks based on your employees' needs. Also, discuss your health care plan's mental health benefits so each employee knows what's available.

6. Enhance the Employee Experience With Tools and Flexibility

Reliable communication and flexibility let employees develop interpersonal and intercultural relationships. This is crucial for maintaining a positive company culture and engagement between your hybrid and remote teams. One employee waiting a long time for another to respond or give them access to an important file can halt their productivity and quickly disengage their focus.

Your tools and apps play a significant role in your employee-focused communication. Most hybrid companies use Slack, Discord, and Scoop to share files and manage conversations across different channels. Scoop is especially beneficial for keeping flexible teams on the same page and maximizing productivity across all levels of the organization.

Beyond communication, many employees operate better under a hybrid structure. Flexible work arrangements allow parents and other employees to balance their responsibilities. Furthermore, reducing commute times and letting employees control their work atmosphere can lead to better engagement and productivity throughout the workday. Communicate with your employees about potential schedule changes that could benefit their workflows and productivity.

Embrace Employee Centricity for Organizational Success

Every employee is unique, so your best approach will depend on your specific team and its needs. This is why communication and feedback are so essential to your employee-centric culture.

Consider how you approach giving and receiving feedback, and consider making your employees' schedules more flexible. Most importantly, treat each teammate as the individual they are, and always remember the crucial contributions they bring to your organization.

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