Companies with a people-first culture are great places to work, no doubt. And businesses that embrace this approach are rewarded with better results and happier employees.

  • Measurable improvements. Studies show that culture-driven organizations experience 26 percent fewer mistakes, 22 percent higher productivity, 41 percent lower absenteeism, and 30 percent stronger customer satisfaction than other businesses, says Kris Boesch, founder and CEO of Choose People and author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace.
  • Happy employees, happy customers. CEOs running people-first businesses say the impacts are real. "When your people are happy, your clients are happy--no matter what industry you're in," says Bob Habeeb, president and CEO of First Hospitality Group.
  • HR benefits. Engaged and inspired employees are more than twice as likely to recommend a company to friends, and the people they recommend are nearly three times as likely to be hired and stay, according to this Harvard Business Review article. So, engagement and inspiration play vitally important roles in attracting and retaining great talent.

Here are some tips from leaders at successful people-first organizations:

  • Ask your people what matters most to them, and listen carefully to their responses. Anonymous surveys and mechanized feedback loops are useful tools for this.

  • Remove obstacles that employees say prevent them from doing a better job. Give them the tools they need to excel at what they do.
  • Assure 100 percent commitment from the top levels of management. Leaders should make themselves accessible and visible, delivering consistent and regular communication about the company's future. Involve employees in developing strategy and focus on grooming future leaders.
  • Embrace new ways of communicating with your team. Consider regularly scheduled "town hall" meetings (via video conference, for mobile workers).
  • Be open to different perspectives stemming from diverse backgrounds. Provide opportunities for team members to work together to bridge differences.
  • Replace policies with parameters. Communicate your job-performance expectations to employees and eliminate "do/don't" rules.
  • Look for ways to align people with their strengths. In a customer service organization, for example, assign those with strong verbal skills to handle phone inquiries, those with strong writing skills to email and social media responses.
  • Allow employees to invite significant others to company events. This allows the employee's partner or spouse to develop positive relationships with people at the company. That personal touch can help the significant other to feel engaged with the company, as well.
  • Support flexible schedules to help employees deal with child care, elder care, and other personal responsibilities.
  • Simplify accountability. Explain what you expect your employees to do, what they said they would do, then let them do their work.

Creating a successful people-first culture takes time, effort, and experimentation. Keep in mind that small things can make a big difference in demonstrating that you're serious about putting people first.

T-Mobile is not associated with or endorsing the brands, services or products mentioned in this article.