five people at work

How IT and finance leaders can create a people-first culture in an uncertain world

We recently spoke to Key Travel, Peloton Consulting Group and Strategere Consulting to get their views on creating people-first cultures. 

Here are the highlights:

What is a people-first culture?

When your people feel valued, listened to and free from tedious admin work is when the best work happens. A people-first culture is one that is focused on creating an environment where this can happen. Recognizing that people are your most important assets and providing them with a collaborative, understanding and transparent culture for everyone. Using the right processes, approaches and tools to let people overcome obstacles and concentrate on what matters.

What does it look like in the real world?

There are a number of ways an organization can create a collaborative people-first culture in the real world. Primarily it’s about walking the walk so that people can get on board. It’s about delivering authentic and transparent leadership.

Many start with their mission statement. Building it around people, so people know they are the heart of what the company does. This can be supported by other actions, such as developing a wellness focus across the organization. And creating a more compassionate management strategy that focuses on employee empowerment.

But the key to making all this work is communication. By keeping your people engaged with what you are doing, they are more likely to embrace it.

To hear real-world examples from Peloton Consulting Group, CTO Travel and Strategere Consulting, listen to the full people-first cultures discussion here.

How do IT and Finance departments uniquely enable people-first cultures?

IT and Finance departments hold a unique position in every organization. They are the only teams that are fundamental to all departments. Essential to how every person does their job.

This unique position can be leveraged in a few key ways. IT departments feed businesses holistically. Responsible for ensuring an organization’s end to end process work. They have a breadth of knowledge and insight across the entire organization that most departments will never have.

So they understand the challenges of each element of the organization and are often vital in helping them solve them. Perfectly placing them to help an organization focus on the needs of its people.

Similarly, Finance departments are a centralized point and focus for driving a business forward. They set goals and keep track of them across the entire organization. This big picture view is unique across organizations, with many departments only understanding their particular focus and goals.

While IT teams can provide the tools for success, Finance has the people insight. Helping the business understand where to focus time and energy and how to help communicate the bigger picture to everyone. They are crucial to communication and transparency.

How do you build a people-first culture, and what role with technology play?

For Finance departments, their key role will be translating the story into something tangible that people can get behind: delivering results, opportunities and scenarios more clearly and engagingly.

Creating this constant dialogue between other teams and keeping people updated will help drive the company towards its goals. But more importantly, they will create an environment focused on the people and what they bring to the table. Removing the top-down focus of the organization and creating a level and collaborative playing field.

While for IT departments, it’s about empowering people to succeed. Foreseeing challenges and working with people to develop the solutions of tomorrow.

Technology's role in both instances is key. For Finance teams, technology is where this all takes place. It will allow conversations to happen. It will collate and visualize the data needed to inspire and help keep people engaged, no matter where they are in the company.

While for IT teams, it will be the bedrock that an organization's future is built on. Giving IT departments the tools they need to adapt to the organization's challenges, no matter what they are.

Ultimately, technology will be critical to organizational success around the world. Yes, it is a tool, but it's a tool for powerful, people-focused transformation in the right hands.

To get the bigger picture on this issue, listen to our full discussion on building a people-first culture.

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Photo of Andy Brockhoff, Unit4 Regional President, North America

Andy Brockhoff

Regional President, North America

I have been extremely lucky in my career to have worked across North America, Asia, and Europe for some amazing organizations. What it has taught me is that people make the difference. We are building a people-centric business in North America to help our customers achieve a better experience for their employees and customers. I love driving change, delivering results and building teams. And we are truly building an amazing team here.

Outside of work I am a family man; love sport and time with friends.