How to Operate with a “People First” Mindset & Why It’s Worth It, The MDC Group

How to Operate with a "People First" Mindset & Why It's Worth It

Many company’s core values center around teammates and clients. There’s real potential in taking a “People First” approach. Here’s how adaptable and valuable the idea can be.

What does it mean to be “People First”?

Having a “People First” company ethos means recognizing employees and clients as whole people and addressing their needs accordingly.  When a company puts people first, it shows that they are intentional about investing in whole persons, even if it has an effect on their current bottom line. Having a “People First” mentality can have long-term fiscal benefits, but it requires an immediate investment of time and money into the people that keep the company afloat: employees and clients.

What does it look like?

Running a “People First” company goes far beyond slogans and mission statements; it is part of every decision and interaction. From leadership, to employee programs and long-term planning, people should always be at the center.

Developing a strong “People First” mindset starts at the top. Leaders that prioritize people engage openly with employees and clients and show interest and care rather than reinforcing status or hierarchy. Open communication with clients and on all levels of a company is critical to prioritizing people.

“People First” companies also balance the needs of all stakeholders. The needs of company shareholders are considered in conjunction with the needs of clients, employees, owners, vendors and partners. By emphasizing fairness and compassion, companies are able to build long-term trust, even if one of these groups misses out in the short term.

Employee programs are also key to operating with a people-priority. These programs can include health benefits as well as safety, training, and personal growth programs. By investing in employees, a company shows that it values the work and skills employees bring to the table.

Why does it help?

There are a variety of benefits to operating with a “People First” mindset. Not only does this ethos incentivize corporate social responsibility, it also offers long-term financial and personnel benefits.

“People First” companies understand that when employees feel valued and well cared for, there is a greater level of return engagement, and employees do their work with a greater sense of intrinsic motivation and meaning. This has an indelible impact on the quality of work produced and the way team members interact with customers and clients. When employees and team members feel valued, they are more likely to “go the extra mile” out of a desire to contribute.

Investing in employee training and well-being also adds benefits to a company. Less paid sick days and worker’s comp pay-outs, as well as reducing time and product loss when a task requires correcting, all can have a significant impact on a company’s budget. Maintaining a long-term staff and reducing turn-over also cuts on-boarding and initial training costs.

Finally, extending the “People First” mentality to clients and customers helps establish long-term relationships by offering open communication and building trust. Recruiting return clients is often foundational to a company’s financial success.

Who is making it work?

There are many corporations to look to as examples of effective “People First” operations. Marriott has a long history of this mentality and is a success story of what happens when a corporation prioritizes workers. According to Executive Chairman Bill Marriott, “If we take care of our people, they will take care of our customers, and the customers will come back.”

Another company that’s succeeding in this area is Trader Joe’s. One former employee, Hayley Benham-Archdeacon, wrote about her experiences: “Almost every manager I ever had somehow made me feel like I could tell them anything, personal or otherwise…They did a lot of listening up front and opened up almost every conversation with asking what I think and then responding to what I said. I always felt trusted.”

At the MDC Group, we’re striving to be a “People First” company. We do this by prioritizing relationships, balancing the needs of our shareholders, and always keeping open lines of communication. Our consistently high ratings on Glassdoor from current and former team members mean we must be doing something right. We continue to assess our decisions and priorities to always be putting people first, and we listen and engage in order to be the best company for our clients and employees.


Have questions about our employee programs or what we’re doing to be a “People First” company? Drop us a line! We love partnering with businesses that care about their people.