The Value of Putting People First

The Value of Putting People First

Taking the time to learn about what makes your staff tick is time well spent. I have always had greater success when I really get to know the folks I work with. Now this doesn’t mean diving into their personal life to the point of it being uncomfortable, but find out what is important to them.

Find out if they value trips to the coast, taco Tuesdays and what they want out of their job. What do they like and dislike about the work. Demonstrating interest in your team as human beings and not some piece of machinery will show you care about them and that they are valued. 

I worked with a wonderful team several years back and the part I loved the most was the size. It was a small group - there were just four of us total. Two of the employees were young parents and what I found after getting to know them was they wanted flexibility with their schedules most of all. It made perfect sense. They had young kids which meant lots of doctor appointments, recitals and school conferences.

They were both wonderful at their jobs but the office culture at the time looked down on flexible schedules. I knew how important it was to them both so I went to the mat with Human Resources and battled it out. Eventually I was able to get flexible schedules for them both.

The new structure worked better than expected and they were extremely happy to have flexibility in their schedules. They never missed a deadline, communication was in fact better than it was before and our little team was praised for accomplishing so much with so few people.

Show them that you care and they will move mountains for the team.

Make yourself available and approachable

We’re all busy with meetings, deadlines and life in general. It is easy to half-heartedly participate in conversations but don’t do it! Make sure you are approachable and really listen to what your team is saying.  

I meet with my team once a week with a structured agenda which is a good way to keep things moving north and address any roadblocks your team may be encountering. However, meeting once a week in a group setting does not necessarily allow employees to speak freely and really express what’s on their mind. Be sure your door is open and encourage them to stop by anytime. Giving members of your team a voice, individually and as a collective group, will boost morale, creativity and business growth.

I once had a skillful technical writer on my team who very much liked her job but I could tell she wanted something more. She would provide her thoughts, suggestions and concerns but the undercurrent was something else. Had I not been an active listener, asking probing questions, I would have missed it.

She was interested in trying her skills with another business unit but was a little unsure on how to broach the subject with me. Her worry was that she would be letting the team down.

I got to work immediately on the transfer, and back filled her open position. She spent ten months with the other group and eventually rejoined our team. It was a valuable experience for her and our team benefited as she brought back a fresh perspective and a deeper understanding of the business.

Take the time to listen to your employees’ thoughts, suggestions, and comments. Dig deep, ask questions and read between the lines. Prove that you’re willing to trust their input and also act upon it. The team will be stronger and it will pay dividends in the end.

It’s simple - people first

We all want to meet our numbers, push the business forward and move up. Just remember to put people first - embrace what your heart tells you two or three seconds before your business sense kicks in and trust your instinct.

When you put people first, when you put your team first, you unleash the full power of trust and creativity, and you build highly beneficial working relationships.

Houtman | Domenighini
Human Performance
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Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini are partners at Coffee and Pints, an unconventional professional development blog. The partnership was formed in response to their personal ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 24-28

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 24-28

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, April 24-28, 2017 

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Implementing a Robo Advisor Strategy

Robo advisors can complement—not threaten—any bank’s business model and improve customer engagement. Regardless of age, income, or gender, 75% of bank customers surveyed by KPMG said they would be likely or somewhat likely to consider a robo advice service from their bank. — Greg Vigrass

2. The Sweetspot of Sales

I’ve had some extremely interesting conversations the last few days. We’ve been discussing sales, sales management, leadership, motivation etc. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with these inspiring business leaders. One question keeps coming up: Why do you love sales so much? — Tove Zilliacus

3. New ETFs That Reinvent Fixed Income Investing—Without Reinventing the Wheel

We all know the drill: the Fed raises interest rates, and the bond market falls. That’s an important equation to consider now that the decade-long era of historically low interest rates is slowly but surely coming to an end. — Salvatore Bruno

4. Alternative Beta Strategies: Alpha/Beta Separation Comes to Hedge Funds

A quiet revolution is taking place in the alternatives world. The idea of alpha/beta separation has finally made its way from traditional to alternative investing. This development brings with it a more transparent, liquid and cost-effective approach to accessing the “alternative beta” component of hedge fund return and a new means for benchmarking hedge fund managers. — Yazann Romahi

5. Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…

I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement. — Paulette Filion and Judy Paradi

6. Outsourcing Investment Management: TPAM vs. TAMP

Many financial advisory firms want the silver bullet solution to outsourcing investment management so the focus can be on client interactions and business development. However the jargon in this outsourced space has become very confusing so here is a brief summary of our understanding. — Jennifer Goldman​​​​​​​

7. How Can Financial Planners Save You From America's #1 Killer?

You probably aren’t aware of this, but it’s true: financial planners are heroes. Yep, it's the truth. And when you think of the America's top killer, you might think about smoking, cancer or obesity. Or maybe even a serial killer. — Ronald Sier

8. How to Stay On Clients' Minds

How to effectively stay on your clients’ minds (for all the right reasons), even though they may not see you for months. — Paul Kingsman

9. 20 Reasons Why Your Company Should Do Less Better

Do Less Better practitioners are fanatical about focus and de-complexity; herein lies the secret of their success. Yet, do less better isn’t something most leaders embrace. The seemingly more attractive (and logical) option is to do more and more — John Bell

10. Advisors: Where Should You Start with Content Marketing?

Often advisors ask us, “How should I get started in marketing?” It’s a fair question. They just want to make sure they’re putting their time and resources in the right place. — Jud Mackrill​​​​​​​

11. The 11 Best Steakhouses in the World

Serious carnivores will go to the ends of the earth to seek out a perfectly marbled, expertly seared steak. And so, it seems, will we. We've visited the best butchers in France, reacquainted ourselves with the idea that everything (steaks included) is bigger in Texas, eaten at celebrated parrillas of Argentina, and enjoyed the elegant ambiance of metropolitan steakhouses. — Andrew Harper

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio