How to treat your employees as people first

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Here at Inpulse, we’re all about organisation’s seeing and treating their employees not as employees, but as people. It’s the reason we measure emotional analytics – so that organisations can give their people a voice and access their employees feelings, rather than numerical data alone. The smartest, most effective way to lead people, create a positive company culture and overcome organisational challenges, is to do so holistically – to see your people as people first.  

Over the decades the workplace has generated a bad rep for itself, for treating employees as ‘work-horses’ – or for use of a better term – resources, rather than people. This approach to leadership is deeply entrenched and it comes out in the way managers lead, the way employees are communicated with, the way decisions are made, the culture in organisations. Luckily, many organisation’s have seen the fault in this and are working to create inclusive workplaces and giving their people a voice. There’s no quick-fix, however, these deeply entrenched belief systems that fail to see employees as humans first, don’t go away overnight, they’re worked out only with continuous attention and awareness, and making a conscious effort to see and hear your people. 

Here’s how to treat your employees as people first 

Show interest in how your people feel about their working experience

We believe the most important way of treating your people as people first, is by giving them a voice; allowing them the space to express themselves and how they feel about their working experience. This is not only about giving them a voice, but a chance to co-create a workplace they’re happy and proud to work in. This is best done through pulse surveys that focus on employee emotional analytics – which is what we’ve built and believe in at Inpulse. Without a voice, your employees are only a resource and when they feel this way, it shows in high staff turnover, low engagement and productivity, poor culture, absenteeism, and a multitude of other ways that are problematic. We’ve seen thousands of organisations totally transform when their people begin to feel seen, heard and valued for who they are and what they have to say. 

Give credit where it’s due

People want to be seen and acknowledged for what they do. Acknowledgement is a human need. Acknowledge small and big wins frequently and thank your people for their work. Remember, employees are really just people who have given up time with their families, time away from their hobbies, time away from their life to help build and grow the organisation they’re a part of. If they don’t feel acknowledged at their place of work, they’re certainly not going to be happy exchanging a bit of their life for it – they will look elsewhere. This analogy might seem cliche – but it’s important to see it for what it is if organisations are eager to see their people as people, and avoid issues like low engagement and high staff turnover amongst others.

Build a culture that inspires your people to do great work

It’s not only about how you treat your people as individuals, but also what you build around them – think about the culture you’re building and expecting them to be involved in and committed to.  Is it one that inspires your people to do great work and feel happy to be a part of? Is your culture diverse and inclusive? Could it be more so? Keep a pulse on what your people feel about culture and commit to making the changes needed.

Imagine something you care for – you have a new puppy, for example. You care about the pup, so you prepare a comfortable place for it to thrive in so that it grows to be happy, healthy and a part of your family. You care for the dog as an ‘individual’, but you also care about its environment because you know it’ll impact how it grows and behaves. It’s not just an object or a resource, it has emotions and behaviours that need to be nurtured. The same goes for employees – they need to be seen and cared for, and the environment they work in needs to work for them.

Involve your people in decisions 

Giving your people a voice is only half the job – what do you do with their feedback? What you should do, is use it to make decisions. Seeing your people, is acknowledging that they’re a great piece of the puzzle in your organisation and should also be involved in and hold some responsibility and accountability for the decisions made – especially those that affect them. 

Consider what your people need from you 

Treating your people as people first cannot be achieved without also considering what they need from you, rather than always thinking about what you need from them. It’s a two-way relationship. Our pulse surveys ask your people how they feel and why, giving you the data you need to answer questions just like this, and equipping you with the tools to make better decisions for your people. Pulse surveys are a great way of showing your people how much you care about their voice, and your consideration for their needs, and how committed you are to making changes that benefit them too. 

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