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10 Steps to Building a People-Centric Business

6 Mins read

What is one step to take when building a people-centric business culture? To help you build a business culture that is people-centric, we asked HR and people managers, and business leaders this question for their best insights. From adopting a holistic human approach in dealing with employees to building your culture around the aims of your workforce, there are several steps businesses need to consciously take to be able to build a culture that is fully centered on the satisfaction, wellbeing and other needs of their employees.

Here are 10 insights these leaders work with in building a people-centric business:

  • Adopt a Holistic Human Approach in Dealing With Employees
  • Be Open to Embrace Mistakes
  • Include Motivational Factors in Building Employee Satisfaction
  • Promote and Value Continuous Feedback
  • Build a Culture That Foster a Sense of Connection at all Levels
  • Create an Environment that Gets Everyone Involved
  • Recognize and Reward Individual Effort
  • Include Employee Feedback in Decision-Making
  • Provide Structure But Encourage Curiosity
  • Build Your Culture Around the Aims of Your Workforce

Adopt a Holistic Human Approach in Dealing With Employees

One crucial step when building a people-centric business culture is to focus more on finding the cause than punishing the effect. When evaluating performance, it is important to remember that your employees’ experience extends beyond the workplace. Each team member brings a unique background and perspective into the workplace, and these biases and opinions can affect on-the-job logic and decision-making. Also, as much as the norms of professionalism call for a separation of work and home life, your employees are only human and personal matters may bleed into their working life. Never separate your employees from their humanity, and consider the emotional reasons behind behavior changes. Rather than chastise team members for a failure to compartmentalize non-work matters, explore the issues deeper, show compassion, and brainstorm solutions with the employees.

Tasia Duske, Museum Hack

Be Open to Embrace Mistakes

People-centric business culture is only possible when people feel appreciated for who they are and are not afraid to make mistakes. If we want to grow professionally and become experts at what we do, we must accept that mistakes will be an inevitable part of our work. If we don’t make mistakes, we’re often stuck in our comfort zone, too scared to take any risk. Showing employees that mistakes are OK can inspire them to take the road less traveled and be open to others and their ideas. Learning and growth are only possible if we try different things, explore new ideas, exchange with others, and make decisions that we think are best at a specific time point. Striving for perfection in our society makes it harder for people to admit to their failures and be themselves. However, if you want to build an organization where people feel good, you need to acknowledge that we’re all vulnerable sometimes, and failures are the natural part of any process.

Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer

Include Motivational Factors in Building Employee Satisfaction

Digging up the motivational factors that drive each employee may seem like a difficult proposition, but this is one of the best ways to get the most out of your workforce. And the best part is that this also helps you build a people-centric business culture simultaneously. Serving two purposes, this approach helps both the employee and the organization. Firstly, identifying these key drivers helps the company serve their employees exactly what they need to show dedication and commitment and deliver their best at work. Secondly, it helps the company build a culture that is entirely based on employee satisfaction while still delivering high performance.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.

Promote and Value Continuous Feedback

Communication is key in a people-centric business culture. Promote and adhere to a strategy that involves continuous feedback. By using a strong feedback system you can avoid doing any guesswork about the mental and emotional well-being of employees. People will be inclined to speak up when issues arise and feel visible to teammates and management when they have concerns. A system for continuous feedback promotes a culture of open communication, which is essential in a people-centric business culture. So, ask for feedback and do it often, even when staff seems fed-up of hearing about it. As the old saying goes, ”Have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

Boye Fajinmi, TheFutureParty

Build a Culture That Foster a Sense of Connection at all Levels

When building a people-centric business culture, take steps to make connections between folks. When strategizing on people-centricity, many employers focus on interactions between leadership and the workforce at large. However, all relationships matter in people-centric cultures, including socialization between coworkers and interactions with clients. To create a truly people-centric business culture, give all individuals the opportunity to occasionally chat beyond the scope of work and connect on a human level. Also, ensure that all interactions are friendly and respectful and take measures to correct conflict. This sense of connection is especially important in remote work environments where individuals can feel isolated or disconnected without the proper emotional scaffolding in place.

Carly Hill,

Create an Environment that Gets Everyone Involved

If you want a people-centric business culture, you need to make sure everyone gets involved. Don’t let those who like to talk loudest and most often be the only ones who talk. To use a baseball term, go around the horn when you have a meeting. Get everyone involved in the conversation and get everyone to feel like they’re contributing. That’s how you create a people-centric business culture. Those who bring the most attention to themselves might be natural leaders, but they’re not always the best contributors. Don’t let them dominate every conversation. Get everyone involved somehow. Hire talented people and make sure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone’s involvement is recognized.

Trevor Ford, Yotta

Recognize and Reward Individual Effort

A people-centric business culture requires a concerted and comprehensive effort that every stakeholder must realize, adopt, and commit to. It begins by acknowledging that the workforce is not just another component in a business model but an essential part of every sphere of business. More importantly, leaders must accept how their company is made up of real people who are all unique individuals. Adopting this line of thought enables them to recognize the individual efforts of every employee in the organization and reward them for these efforts. When the leadership of an organization pays heed to the singular efforts of an employee, everyone else in the company is quick to take note and lend a hand in creating a work atmosphere that is built around people.

Kris Harris, Nootka Saunas

Include Employee Feedback in Decision-Making

One way to put employees at the center of a business model is to collect and track employee feedback. Implementing solutions and improvements to the employee experience boosts retention, efficiency, and overall employee satisfaction. There is no way to put employees at the center of a business model without including them in the decision-making process. While they may not have the last word on processes, workflows, or best practices, their input is certainly invaluable for gleaning insights into the experience a business creates for its foundational staff. Businesses that commit to their employees’ experience build more profitable, successful companies. Data facilitates change today, so include teams in optimization efforts to build a well-rounded business that benefits everyone.

Jason Panzer, Hexclad

Provide Structure But Encourage Curiosity

Throughout the hiring and onboarding processes, companies too often take either a mind-numbingly structured or all-too-lax approach to building new teams. But in the thousands of interviews that I conduct each year and the onboarding steps I‘ve consulted on, the lesson I’ve learned is that candidates and new hires are looking for a mixture of firm structure and room to follow their own curiosity and initiative. 

One easy step to achieve this is to genuinely engage them on onboarding process improvements and allow them to develop concepts, materials, or events that can optimize onboarding in the early stages. Another is to strongly encourage them to network throughout the organization while affording them resources and a relatively carte blanche approach to it. New hires are significantly more effective and likely to remain when they have a strong network to work with. Give new hires a blank canvas to paint and put a strong frame around it.

Tony Topoleski, ECA Partners

Build Your Culture Around the Aims of Your Workforce

While most organizations build a culture around the goals and visions of their leaders, you can do it the other way around and build your company culture on the aims of its workforce. This bottom-up approach will allow employees to view their roles as more than just another notch on the company’s payroll. They will understand that their influence goes a lot further and that their actions at the workplace will now have more impact than usual. This not only helps in building a people-centric culture but also motivates employees to work with a lot more commitment and dedication to fulfill their goals for the company.

Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Aspiring Families

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Terkel, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights. Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at to answer questions and get published. 

People-centric stock image by 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock

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