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What does it mean to be a truly people-first company? Without overthinking it, it means exactly what it sounds like. You’re prioritizing your people over profits. But “people-first” isn’t just a heartfelt buzzword. Creating a culture of transparency and inclusion and implementing these practices can transform your business from good to unstoppable.
According to Kris Boesch, author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace, “Studies show that culture-driven organizations experience 26% fewer mistakes, 22% higher productivity, 41% lower absenteeism and 30% stronger customer satisfaction.”
People-first companies are synonymous with success. To provide color to this concept, we wanted to hear from a few people living and breathing this mindset – passionate folks at Greenhouse customer companies. Leaders from game-changing organizations like Movable Ink, SeatGeek, Taboola, Tacombi and more shared their moving stories about how their companies are putting people first.
We’re highlighting their achievements front and center, because this work doesn't just impact businesses – it changes people's lives.
People-first means valuing your team’s quality of life.
“A big part of putting people first and really living it is making sure that you are valuing someone’s quality of life, being understanding, realistic and more human,” explained Jared Keesler, Talent Acquisition Partner at Tacombi.
Companies need to not only understand that people have lives outside of work, but also give them the resources and the opportunities they need to have quality lives. That means being able to spend time with family, develop new skills or do anything else that they value.
Bradley Ciné, Associate Director of Sales Training at Movable Ink, shared, “For me to be my best self at work, I also have to be my best self outside of work. My energy isn't only going into work, it's going into the things that I enjoy doing, which includes finding new skills as simple as karaoke. I'm a believer that if we continue to find new skills and learn new things, it keeps our minds fresh to learn more, and that's only helped me at work.”
People-first means treating employees as more than a number.
No one wants to feel like a cog in the proverbial machine of life – undervalued, easily replaceable and just another number. Engaged and inspired employees are more than twice as likely to recommend their company to friends, and the people they recommend are nearly three times as likely to be hired and to stay, according to a Harvard Business Review article.
“Candidates are always interviewing us, just as much as we interview them,” shared Jennifer Nickrenz, Talent Acquisition Partner at Taboola. “For me personally, I care more about the quality of hire and continuing to enhance our culture. It’s not just putting bodies in seats and numbers. It’s about if this truly is the right fit for us and for them."
People-first means empowering authenticity.
People-first companies build an authentic and transparent company culture that allows people to be themselves. When companies create an environment where people feel comfortable to show up 100% whole, employees are able to do their best work and thrive.
As Greenhouse Senior Team Manager of Talent Planning & Acquisition Maria Culbertson put it, “I think the idea that we need to be one person at work and one person away from work is ridiculous. We’re not split personalities. I think the things that make me me outside of work are some of the best things about me. I want to be able to bring that into the workplace. The passions that drive me and the way I attack things in my personal life – it’s the same way I want to attack things at work.”
People-first means providing flexibility.
In today’s highly competitive hiring landscape, flexibility is no longer a nice-to-have, it's a must. Different people have different needs, so it’s imperative to let them do what they need to do to be successful in their roles.
“Employees are looking for more flexibility. People want the opportunity to work from home and work remotely. And I think SeatGeek really did a great job with this,” shared Eileen Gambardella, a Senior Business Recruiter at the company. “We have periodic surveys that get sent out for the Q&A sessions in our company-wide all-hands meetings. And our leadership team does a great job of tailoring and pivoting their approach based on that. You can come into the office five days a week or you can come into the office never – it’s great that it allows folks to choose what works best.”
People-first means providing a sense of community and belonging.
The workplace can feel incredibly lonely at times, so companies have to do their best to create a sense of psychological safety – especially for talent from historically underrepresented groups that have so often been ignored.
Zobaida Hossain, Implementation Strategist at Greenhouse, said, “I am a first-generation Bengali American woman, and the eldest in my family. Growing up in America, there were moments where I felt seen and moments where I felt invisible. I decided that in my workspace, it’s very important that my whole self is visible in everything that I do. And so I always seek out ERGs [employee resource groups] because having a community where I feel seen and heard and validated is incredibly important to me.”
Hear more stories from the people that are making hiring more human here.