Karina Townley speaking to room full of people

Adopting a people-first strategy is the secret to driving employee performance in 2020

Last month, Guidant Global hosted a breakfast event in partnership with OpenBlend, ‘Driving performance with a people-first strategy: Using wellbeing and inclusion to drive employee performance in 2020’.

The session explored how a people-first strategy can help to deliver significant business benefits for 2020. It included talks from Karina Townley – Guidant Globals’s Managing Director of Client Services EMEA, Anna Rasmussen – Founder & CEO of OpenBlend, and Jacob Hill – Managing Director of Offploy, a social enterprise which supports people with criminal convictions into meaningful, mentored and sustainable employment.

During the event, we also conducted a survey amongst attendees to find out where businesses are in terms of their people-first approach and whether it's a priority for 2020. 

The core takeaway is this: 82% of businesses have made improving their people-first approach a core priority within their organisations for 2020.

Workplace engagement is a key concern, particularly when it comes to millennials

Anna Rasmussen highlighted that just 13% of people in the workplace are engaged. More concerningly, in 2017, businesses saw 1 in 5 employees resign – a 6-year high.
OpenBlend research also revealed that only 16% of millennials are likely to stay with a company in their second year. Of those who will stay, 89% are highly productive, 93% highly engaged and 80% highly happy.

Adopting a people-centred approach helps in this regard, driving productivity, reducing attrition and increasing engagement. A more inclusive environment can also create a greater sense of belonging, improving attrition rates.

What are businesses prioritising for 2020?

When attendees were quizzed on which demographics they’re prioritising for 2020, 71% said they are focusing on emerging talent to boost future pipelines, while 65% said they are directing resources into engaging female talent. A further 59% of hiring managers indicated that they are taking steps to engage with those who are returning to work after a career break.

After hearing Jacob speak about why businesses should tap into socially disadvantaged talent pools such as ex-offenders, 88% said they would consider hiring an individual with a criminal conviction to widen their talent pool.

Commenting on these insights, Karina Townley said:
It was great to see so many people passionate about driving change to ensure that their businesses are moving forward in a better way. It’s important that recruiters and companies recognise an individual’s drivers and encourage managers to put people first, allowing their passions and strengths to shine. By putting people at the core, we’ll get the results we need.”

Providing further comment, Anna Rasmussen said:
We are going to see a significant shift towards a people-first approach over the next five years. Not only are the modern workforce demanding it, but an increasing number of businesses are recognising that the happiness, motivation and engagement of their people directly impact the bottom line. I’m extremely proud to be part of the movement and to support businesses to becoming truly people-centred.”

Why is a people-first approach so important now?

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to performance management. It never has and never will. We live in a highly diverse workplace where each person is different to the next. By focusing on each individual and looking at them as a whole, businesses will foster a positive employee experience and work environment.

This, coupled with the right technology to act as an enabler can help businesses generate optimum output from their employees. A unique people-centred performance tool with coaching frameworks like OpenBlend supports all aspects of an individual’s development journey and develops a manager’s coaching ability.

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