Building A People-First Company
Next week, I’m giving my first in-person talk since COVID began. It’ll be presenting at HR West and about 1,500 people are attending. To be honest, I’m a little nervous. My talk is on How to Build a People-First Employee Brand. It’s a topic that’s near and dear to me, which is helping to set me at ease.
You see, my driving purpose and promise for my consultancy business is a people-first one:
“There’s nothing more powerful than a united group of souls ignited on a common cause with love at the core.”
That’s it. One seemingly simple statement that gets to the heart of what I help leaders realize for their organization.
Think about my purpose/promise statement for a moment…
When a group of people bond together in a common cause that they feel connected and committed to, which also serves their life, they become formidable — magnetic to employees and customers alike.
Employer branding is gradually becoming more important in C-suite conversations, but it’s still a relatively new concept. Years ago, in a time before COVID, business leaders might have pointed to Foosball tables in the office break room or catered lunches as examples of employer branding.
Engaging more of the right people
In 2022, however, most leaders and HR managers understand such perks hardly constitute a comprehensive employee attraction and retention strategy. They realize that superficial rewards don’t play meaningful roles in the battle to attract top talent.
This evolution in thinking and action has undoubtedly been accelerated by the pandemic. The call to attract more of the right talent has put immense pressure on leaders to not just communicate their values but also to live them, and tell stories about them.
In the face of significant change, employers suddenly had to decide whether their professed brand, culture, and business beliefs were real and substantive or if they were just lip service. In facing the reality, many leaders are gaining a heightened awareness of the importance of organizational purpose, team cohesion, and employee experience.
Now, perhaps more than ever, these attributes are critical drivers for candidates considering career moves amid the Great Resignation. As a result, they’re top of mind for executives looking for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors fishing in the same shrinking talent ocean. Not coincidentally, the belief-driven attributes of a company are vital ingredients of great employer branding.
For some leaders it’s a wake-up call to invest in or shore up the employee brand and its cultural underpinnings. For others, it’s an opportunity to double-down on an already good or great culture.
Why LOVE at the core?
Both my purpose/promise statement (noted above) and the subtitle to my new book The Beautiful Business: An Actionable Manifesto to Create an Unignorable Business with Love at the Core mentions love. By “love” I’m not referring to the well known eros form of love. Rather, I’m referring to what the Greek’s believe is the highest form of love: Philia. This is love in friendship and camaraderie, for your colleagues, your community, your collaborators.
When this form of love lives at the core of your organization, your team has a set of intrinsic drivers on which to unite around. It is philia that creates the bond among people that unite and ignite in your common cause or purpose.
Worth noting, the opposite of “philia” is “phobia.”
To be honest, I’m always a little surprised when I hear that people-first companies aren’t part of every organization’s strategy. Admittedly, I see the world of business through a humanistic perspective. All business is created by and for humans. People don’t just matter, they/we are what makes business, business.
So, putting people first, seems like, well… common sense. But as the saying goes, common sense isn’t as common as it once was. So, maybe it’s time for some uncommon sense. And, maybe it’s time to put love for the people and purpose into the heart of your business.
P.S. If you haven’t ordered The Beautiful Business, you can do so here.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.