Five Best Practices For Fostering An Employee-Centric Culture
By Raven Lee
Date Published: Feb 8, 2022
As the pandemic continues to wreak its influence on our economy and workforce, it has become a hot topic for companies to try to figure out how to retain their workforces. With a new Gallup analysis reporting that 48% of America’s workforce is actively searching or watching for job opportunities, this can pose a real dilemma for the modern-day organization. Call it the Great Resignation or whatever you want, the bottom line is that this pandemic has opened employees’ eyes to what’s important to them, and many are finding that their current work choice does not fit into the equation.
So, what can companies do to ensure that their culture is one that has employees jumping out of bed excited to get to work?
They can focus on creating a workplace that is centered around the people doing the work. Making employees the top priority is a key foundational principle of an employee-centric culture. Jennifer Post, in her Business.com article, defines an employee-centric culture as, “an environment where ideas, creativity, free-flowing communication and innovation are encouraged throughout an organization.” This type of environment allows employees to feel comfortable voicing their opinions, good or bad, without fear of reaping negative consequences.
The focus within an employee-centric organization becomes: How do you put the right attention on your employees in order to maximize their full potential?
This means focusing on the employee experience and ensuring that each touchpoint within their journey creates moments that matter. Here are five best practices that will help you ensure your company is employee-centric.
1. Believe in the brilliance of your people.
Employee-centric organizations hire talented people, empower them to do the work they were hired to do and then get out of their way. By enabling employees to own their jobs, these organizations push decision-making to the lowest level and allow employees to work autonomously to the extent possible, while also encouraging collaboration and teamwork. Additionally, they celebrate risk-taking and creativity as opportunities to innovate and learn continuously.
2. Make leadership development a business imperative.
Leaders have a large role in how an employee feels about their job. Empowered leaders who understand how to lead effectively can be a real differentiator for an organization. Leaders who are employee-centric focus on the whole employee and not just their output. They address the employee’s needs first and adopt a servant leadership mindset. Organizations that want to become employee-centric must define their leadership philosophy around the leader serving the needs of their employees. Things such as one-on-one meetings, coaching and providing feedback become an expectation of the leadership team. Leadership development is a high priority, and leaders who will serve in a management role undergo constant development.
3. Foster an environment that is inclusive and that cultivates belonging.
Inclusion and belonging are important elements of an employee-centric culture. Inclusion enables employees to feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. When companies foster inclusion, employees begin to feel accepted and like they belong to something bigger than themselves. Their job becomes more than just a job — it becomes a mission.
4. Make psychological safety a part of the culture.
Dr. Timothy R. Clark of LeaderFactor.com defines psychological safety as an environment of rewarded vulnerability. When we reward vulnerability, we create safe spaces for our employees to be human. We recognize that they have lives outside of work, and we care about that part of them. We understand that failure is a part of the human condition, and we make failure and risk-taking acceptable outcomes. We promote an environment of shared learning and exploration. When we do this, we create the freedom that makes work fun and interesting.
5. Offer candid feedback.
People need feedback in order to grow and get better. Organizations that fail to provide feedback stifle not only their employee’s growth but also the company’s ability to grow and innovate. Employees want feedback, and they want it to be timely and relevant. According to findings from Gallup, employees are eager to receive more feedback from managers and peers. Employee-centric companies teach their people how to give relevant, timely and constructive feedback.
So, if you are wondering how to guard against the Great Resignation, consider cultivating a culture within your organization that puts employees first and is impossible to mimic. We need to create cultures that go beyond ping pong tables and free snacks and instead offer employees an optimal environment in which they can do their best work.
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