How to Build an Employee-First Culture

Gaby M.
February 7, 2023
Table of Contents

    An employee-first culture is one in which the needs and well-being of employees are prioritised above all else. This type of culture has been shown to lead to increased job satisfaction, better retention rates, and improved overall performance. If you're looking to build an employee-first culture in your organisation, here are some tips to get you started:

    Lead by Example 

    Start by making sure that all leaders within the organisation are fully committed to creating an employee-first culture. This means that they must be willing to prioritise the needs of employees and actively work to create a positive work environment.

    Set Company Values

    An organisation’s values can be described as behavioural guidance. They lay the foundation for what the company cares about most and they provide a common purpose for all team members. Values make it easier for your team to understand what is required of them. They in turn will feel more secure and motivated to work towards common company goals. It is crucial for the leadership team in a business to embrace the company values, adopt them and educate the team about expectations to adhere to these.


    Open and transparent communication is key to building a strong employee-first culture. Make sure that employees feel heard and valued, and that their ideas and concerns are taken into consideration when making decisions.


    Empower employees by giving them the resources and autonomy they need to do their jobs effectively. This includes providing opportunities for growth and development, and encouraging employees to take ownership of their work.

    Recognise & Rewards

    Recognise and reward employees for their contributions to the organisation. This could be through performance bonuses, promotions, gifts, or simply acknowledging their hard work in front of their colleagues.

    Employee Well-Being

    It is important to recognise that each individual in your company is more than just their job title. Each member or your team lives their own lives out of office hours and it is imperative to recognise this. Get to know your team members and understand their personal difficulties and provide flexibility, where possible. Better work-life balance starts with the leadership team. Sometimes, if an employee sees a manager coming in early and staying late, they will be inclined to think that is required of them also. It is important for leadership to lead by example and to encourage a healthy work-life balance. Invest in the well-being of employees by offering support programs, such as health and wellness initiatives, and providing a safe and inclusive work environment.

    Make Onboarding Special

    Give new hires a taste of the company culture by incorporating elements of it into the onboarding process. This could include showcasing the company's values, history, and mission, or taking them on a tour of the office and introducing them to other employees. A nice touch is to provide new hires with a welcome gift filled with branded merchandise and other items that represent the company culture and values. This could include items such as a t-shirt, coffee mug, or notebook.

    Continuous Improvement

    Regularly assess the effectiveness of your employee-first culture and make changes as needed. Listen to feedback from employees, and take steps to address any issues or concerns they may have.

    Building an employee-first culture takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it. By creating a work environment that prioritises the needs and well-being of employees, you can improve job satisfaction, retain top talent, and drive overall performance.

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