HR guide for the development of a people-centric corporate culture

We live in an age of unimaginable amounts of data, millions of algorithms, and continuous analysis. But as distant and elusive as it may often seem, behind it all, it's us, the people. Our choices, our preferences, our ideas, our reactions. Data-driven decision-making has become a benchmark for the competitiveness of companies. However this does not mean that a company can be fully successful without taking into account the human side of day-to-day operations, the social life at work, individual motivations, and emotional factors. On the contrary, a people-centered corporate culture is a major contributor to success: it improves employee engagement, and enhances the company's image in the marketplace, among customers, partners, and even potential candidates.

Perhaps the best news of all is that a people-centered corporate culture does not have to be created from scratch. It's in every company, it just might be lurking. It may need some fine-tuning and a conscious effort to develop and continually improve a supportive corporate culture and work environment that puts people at the center of operations. But there is no question: every company has the potential to do this. If your company is struggling in this area, this guide can help!

The drumbeat: making connections

A people-centered corporate culture aims to operate in a way in which employers take into account, and even prioritize, the work-related needs of their employees. It understands what motivates them best, and what conditions and opportunities are ideal for them to get the most out of themselves.

That's why the zero step to developing a people-centered company culture is to understand that you need to pay much more attention to getting to know your team. It's not worth just guessing at what employees need, we need to build real, human relationships.

Know the obstacles!

Encourage employees to share their opinions and work-related problems through honest and open communication. Listening to and discussing negative opinions, criticisms, and concerns is often not easy, but it is essential to foster engagement. No one is unconcerned about how their supervisor responds to their complaints and ideas - in people-centered companies, communication needs to work well in all directions. Once you've identified the problems, you can begin a targeted strategy to solve them.

Use appropriate communication channels!

Of course, all of the above requires a reliable and well-functioning communication channel. Choose a platform that all employees and managers can access directly and that is suitable for discussing internal issues, giving feedback, and conducting internal surveys. For a people-centered company culture, it is essential that everyone's voice can be heard, and online internal communication systems are now the most effective way to do this.

Think about the whole employee life cycle! 

How employees feel, why, what their experiences are, and what employers can do to promote their balance, effectiveness or satisfaction is important at every stage of the employee lifecycle. A caring, nurturing, people-centered approach has nothing but benefits, even at the point when an employee leaves the organization. It also benefits the company's reputation in the marketplace, can help to make it more attractive to job seekers, and has a role to play in training, developing, and retaining existing talent.

Make changes where necessary and avoid chaos!

Listening to experiences, needs, and feelings is not worth much if it is not followed up by action. The changes proposed and needed must be implemented by the employer to improve the situation or working conditions of the employees. It is important to remember, however, that it is not a case of flying blind or doing everything you "want" without thinking. (That would be chaos!) Discuss the changes thoroughly with the participants. Firmly and consistently weigh up the business and human aspects: we are not shifting control and responsibility to employees, but striving to provide them with the ideal working environment and conditions.

Take advantage of diversity and promote inclusion!

We've already covered the topic of DNI in a previous blog post, but there is a place for it in developing a people-centered company culture. The more diverse and multicultural a team is, the more perspectives and approaches can be brought to bear. And these can lead to better decisions and innovative ideas. However, diversity in the workplace can only thrive if there are opportunities for inclusion. In other words, if people's different opinions and insights are listened to, weighed up together, and included in the decision-making process. In this way, the employer shows its appreciation and trust in its employees and helps to put a people-centered corporate culture into practice. (It is also worth mentioning the power of empowerment in this context. When an employer delegates decision-making powers and responsibilities to employees, it reinforces a culture of recognition, trust, and respect.)

Support development, and training and be a basis for the feedback!

In addition to learning new skills, skills development also helps to increase employee engagement, as they feel that their employer cares about them and supports their development. Part of people-centered management is to give employees room for personal development and to encourage their professional development.

Performance appraisal and feedback culture are also crucial, as employees' uncertainty can increase if they are not aware of their employer's satisfaction with their work. Moreover, the right platforms should provide continuous feedback, reinforcement, and assessment of individual and team performance.

Promote work-life balance and employee well-being!

A people-centered corporate culture looks beyond the walls of the company. The promotion of employees' physical and mental health, flexible working hours that support work-life balance, and the building of cohesive workplace communities are all manifestations of this. We put people at the center, with their individual needs and challenges, and support them in developing their talents at work, while respecting their private lives.

What are the benefits?

In workplaces where this people-centered approach is put into practice, many benefits can be experienced. Employees feel valued, are more satisfied, overall morale is boosted, and more productive and balanced teams are built. All of this, of course, benefits business performance, with reduced turnover, retention, and an advantage in attracting new talent.