Putting Humans First

Every organization seems to be searching for the secret sauce to employee engagement and healthy company culture. The truth is that many organizations only scratch the surface to harnessing employee engagement to reach the team's full potential.

There is a wealth of research that indicates the biggest driver of employee engagement is company culture.

Company culture is not written in a binder or an exclamation in a mission statement. It's the personality of an organization. It's not how people feel about the company; it's how people feel about the work they do and the people they do it with. It's how much people feel a sense of purpose - that their work has an impact on the bigger team. 

According to the 2019 TINYpulse Employee Engagement report, only one third of employees said they they are recognized when they go the extra mile, and only 25% feel they are valued for the work they do. As one of the largest databases in the world for employee feedback, this report includes data from over 25,000 employees across 20 industries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia from January to December 2018.

The takeaway seems to apply to every organization looking to improve employee engagement:

Appreciate employees by recognizing the contributions they make, and they will be happier employees and work harder to contribute more.

That same TinyPulse report uncovered some interesting links between performance, culture and engagement. Here are a few highlights: 

  • Lack of support correlates to low performance
    High performers are far more likely to get the help they need. When asked ‘How effective is our organization at offering help when you ask for it?’ high performers provided a rating 22% higher than low performers.

  • Happy workers are high achievers
    High performers are roughly 15% happier at work than low performers. This result aligns with research conducted by the University of Warwick that found happiness increases productivity by 12%.

  • High performers report feeling 15% more valued, but not much better recognized
    The average rating high performers provide when asked the question “How well are you recognized when you do great work?” is only 2% higher than low performers.

Organizations that truly want to not only achieve but fuel sustainable peak performance have to consider a new value exchange.  What does it take to engage employees, enable them to contribute productively to organizational goals, and create the conditions where everyone actually WANTS to be there?


Leaders who foster a culture of respect, connection, and contribution recognize that there are currencies beyond salary and vacation days. These are the leaders that have the maturity and the vision to recognize that the health of the organization is defined by the health of the people within it.

Care can't just be about the customer and profits cannot be more important than people. People who feel appreciated, and cared for - not just as employees, but as human beings - will pass that appreciation and care on to the customer.  Building a culture of caring isn't just about five-star reviews or a great product. Cultivating a caring culture is about relationships and bringing people together around a common purpose or goal. It's about putting people before policies and profits. It's about putting humans first. 


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