No matter the industry, it is not always easy or simple to maintain a focus on people. However, according to a survey by Gartner*, employees who work within human-centric work environments – where they are seen as people, not just resources – are 3.8 times more likely to be high performing. They are more engaged and collaborative as team members and provide better customer service, and so produce better results. If you are in the process or want to start to build a people-centric organisation, it is important to consistently instill people centeredness into your corporate culture as a company value.

What does it mean for an organisation to be people-centric? 

A people-centric organisation is defined as one that has its people’s best interests at heart – its leadership puts people first, before profit.  

  • They care to focus on their employees’ wellbeing and satisfaction, and to build a happy workplace. 
  • They make sure to understand exactly what their team members need to do their best work. 
  • Their people know that their contributions are valued; that they are heard, understood, and have a common purpose.  
  • In response, placing a high value on employees creates a culture where employees are excited about their work and are energised to contribute their best. 

Benefits of building a people-centric organisation 

Mounting evidence shows a clear link between how an organisation treats its people and its profitability. A people-centric culture benefits from: 

  • improved communication between teams and departments, and with customers 
  • better performance 
  • increased productivity  
  • sustained employee engagement 
  • decreased employee turnover and absenteeism.  


How to create a workplace culture that puts people at its heart 

From onboarding to employee departure, building a people-centric culture means caring about how and why each of your employees feel the way they do. To foster a people-centric culture, a variety of tactics can be used. Here are six actionable tips for creating a workplace culture that puts people at its heart.  


  1. Make learning a priority. Providing your employees with opportunities for learning and development not only equips them and makes them feel valuable and valued, but it is also tantamount to investing in your company’s future as this can help the organisation to close critical skill gaps, resulting in a more agile and competitive company. People centric organisations should aim to create job and learning opportunities that align with employees’ personal values, motivations, and goals. 
  2. Be transparent. A transparent work culture entails an environment in which open and honest communication and information sharing are consistently practiced. In such a culture, leaders and employees are encouraged to freely exchange information, concerns, ideas and feedback without fear of reprisal. This extends to various other aspects of the workplace, which includes decision-making processes, performance evaluations and accountability, challenges and successes are openly shared.  
  3. Communicate clearly and openly. A people-centric culture gives rise to an environment where innovation, ideas, creativity and free-flowing communication are encouraged both downward and upward in the organisation. Employees feel empowered to make suggestions or challenge any structure they may feel is inhibiting performance or productivity.  Employees need to feel like they can trust their leaders before communicating openly. Encouraging and valuing feedback can be a great way to build trust. Taking feedback seriously and acting on it shows that you trust your employees and their input.  
  4. Provide support for mental wellbeing. There is a lot of research that shows that employees across the globe are increasingly struggling with depression or anxiety while countless others are coping with issues like burnout, grief, stress, exhaustion, or insomnia. Supporting employee mental wellbeing involves more than just promoting healthy habits. It is influenced by numerous factors such as the company culture, managerial approaches, and compensation and benefits. 
  5. Inspire your people with a sense of purpose. Employees are not necessarily driven by financial outcomes; they are driven by purpose. To build a people-centric workplace, managers and executives must look beyond the bottom line and create a sense of meaning and purpose for team members. This is why it is important for leaders to create purpose-driven goals for employees to want to excel. To be people-centric is to think about what inspires and motivates your employees to do their work.  
  6. Leaders can demonstrate people-centric skills through improving their own skills. For example: 
  • Building effective communication skills to build and strengthen relationships 
  • Becoming better listeners, so employees feel like their opinions matter 
  • Making recognition and celebration a way of life, so employees feel appreciated 
  • Developing people through coaching 
  • Giving everyone the chance to learn and grow in their job and in the organisation 


There is no finish line when you are working toward a more people-centric culture — it is a continuous process that requires regular communication across the organisation. One thing is clear. When it comes to the world of work: The future is people centric. Organisations that focus on their people, putting them first and creating a work culture in which they can purposefully engage in meaningful work, will better succeed at harnessing their abilities and creativity to the fullest, cultivating passions and specific skills that will see the organisation thrive into the future.  

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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