Looking after your employees and adopting a People First Culture

As we’re all acutely aware, the pandemic has significantly impacted the wellbeing of people around the world; many of us dealing with prolonged mental, social and financial stress.  This has made us step back and rethink what we want out of life and work. It has reminded us that life is too short. 

I’m the perfect example of this.  Last year, I upped sticks and sold the tiny two-bed flat that I owned in South London, and moved my family to Cornwall. 

We’d had enough of the lack of space and expensive childcare.  And I wanted to leave the large, corporate giant where I’d worked long, inflexible hours for over eight years, and move to a smaller, purpose-driven organisation where I’d have more opportunity to make a difference.  Although I wouldn’t call it a knee-jerk decision (it was something my husband and I had debated for many months), the pandemic was the final push we needed. 

Apart from the opportunity to remote work which suited my work-life juggle, what really stood out at Grasshopper was its genuine passion for the community and commitment to making a positive impact.

I know we might be accused of jumping on the bandwagon here, given it now seems to be on every organisation’s ‘CSR agenda’, but that was the basis for Grasshopper’s foundation seven years ago. And today it continues to work with clients developing solar and wind farms, creating natural flood management schemes and active travel networks to reduce carbon emissions. 

The other important factor for me was joining a business that prioritised cultivating a people-centred culture. From having a wellbeing fund to support employees trying a new hobby or to do something creative, to offering volunteering days and supporting flexible working (helping me fit my work around childcare, which spares me the typical ‘parent guilt’!) There’s also a real appreciation of every team member and the skills, talent and value they bring. 

Of course, there’s still more we can do – the team are always looking at other ways to strengthen our green and wellbeing initiatives. Just because we’re small doesn’t mean we’re small thinking!

What the pandemic has shown is that employees no longer want to stay in unfulfilling jobs or work for employers that don’t treat people or the planet well. With the Great Resignation on the horizon, organisations that have strategies to demonstrate they appreciate, trust, and respect employees are better positioned to thrive.  Not only that, but employers that put employees first, helping them to be their best selves stand to benefit from better performance rates. 

The business case for investing in healthy workplace culture has never been stronger.  The organisations that succeed in the future will be those that prioritize their people and bring the organisation’s purpose to life.