Putting People First

Most mornings, I wake up with joy. I can appreciate that not everything is perfect, that bad days exist, and that I, like others, experience moments of deep pain or sorrow. Yet I can hold an inner space for gratitude and bliss, compassion, and joy. Cultivating joy is an inside job. It’s a state of being that is not contingent on the events of the outside world but is sewn from within.

I watch the events of our world unfold with both horror and sadness. I also see things that bring hope and optimism. The work of our organizations is meant to make the world a better place. From the connections we make with our employees to the services or products we deliver (whatever that may be); how we commit and live our mission matters.

Our theme for this newsletter is People First. Reverend Desmond Tutu of South Africa speaks of a concept called Ubuntu which means, a person is a person only through another person. The essence of humanity is that mine is inextricably linked to yours and that we can only find ourselves in relationship with each other. Our work defines a critical part of our being and those we work with, those we lead, and those who lead us play an indescribable role in who we are now and who we are becoming.

Too often, People First in organizations boils down to strategies and tactics, whether that is engagement, compensation, communication, or the like, but People First must begin with a GENUINE relationship and the exhibition of compassion for each other. Think of the leaders who have influenced you most. They are the ones who knew you, cared about you, and supported you. It is not about time spent together or money paid, but about how leaders show up for their teams in a way that demonstrates compassion and allows a team to be there for each other.

As leaders and people, how we view life and events, how we enter into our days and situations, and how we engage with others all matter. Our world is not easy, but our ability to show up for ourselves and each other makes a difference. Joy requires us to connect to our inner compassion and People First means cultivating relationships that allow us to see one another through that lens. We all seek to find value, purpose, belonging, and happiness. Research—and our own intuition—tells us we will find these things in connection with each other. 

We hope you find value and helpful insights through the resources in our newsletter and that as you go about your days, you give extra thought to how you impact others and your organization when you put other People First.



  • Organizations that score in the top 25 percent on employee experience report double the return on sales compared to organizations in the bottom quartile. IBM Smarter Workforce Institute
  • When deciding whether to accept or decline a job offer, company values and culture rank as the third most important factors to U.S. job seekers (29%), after the company’s location and facilities (34%) and compensation (38%). Jobvite
  • Engaged employees are not only high performers, but they also talk about your organization in a way that makes customers and potential candidates want to know more about your brand. Gallup

We’ve long known that employee engagement plays a role in the outcomes of an organization, however, many statistics and studies now help us illustrate that organizations that put People First benefit the most.

Since the pandemic, organizations have become increasingly aware that they have a responsibility for the overall employee engagement of their staff. But, the ingredients necessary to create engagement have been elusive. It is not just one thing, but a collection of things that an organization must do to create the right environment, because employee experience both attracts high-performance candidates, and connects them with the organization in such a way that it keeps them motivated for the long haul. People both internal and external to your organization are very aware of the efforts being made by leaders and the organization. In fact, according to the IBM study referenced earlier, Google searches for the term “employee experience” have increased by 130 percent over the past five years.

While searches for this term have increased, industrial-organizational psychologists and experts in HR consulting from both the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and the Globoforce WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute wanted to create a validated method to measure the elements necessary to create an optimal working experience. The Employee Experience Index (EXI) they created has five dimensions:

  • Belonging – feeling part of a team, group, or organization
  • Purpose – understanding why one’s work matters
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment in the work that is done
  • Happiness – the pleasant feeling arising in and around work
  • Vigor – the presence of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement at work

This research supports the assumption that organizations with favorable employee experience correlate positively with overall employee work performance, effort, and turnover intention. Learn more about this study here: IBM Smarter Workforce Institute

Additionally, according to the Harvard Business Review, companies that invested heavily in their employees’ cultural, technological, and physical environments are four times more profitable and generated two times more revenue than the average. However, it also illustrated that companies dedicated to developing strategies that enhance the employee experience for the long term are far more successful than those that patchwork temporary solutions together.

Workplace environments have changed rapidly and dramatically over the past several years. As you look at your culture and work to refine your “people first” culture, keep this in mind. While you may have never had to address a hybrid environment in the past, you will likely need to consider it now. In addition to the five dimensions identified above, building a great employee experience also requires:

  • Leadership that listens to and values the needs of employees
  • A culture that puts employees’ needs before profits
  • Meaningful work
  • Empowerment and voice
  • Organizational trust
  • Work-life balance
  • Appreciation and recognition
  • An environment where co-worker relationships thrive
  • Professional growth

We would love to help you build a People First culture. Request a consult today.

Learn more:

The Power of Putting People First

30+ stats to build a business case for people-first workplaces in 2022 


People First is one of the booklets in our “Inspiring Conversations” collection that provides insights and powerful questions to ignite deep, meaningful conversations. Our hope is this free resource will lead you to conversations that widen your lens with additional perspective and propel your growth as an individual, leader, and/or leadership team. Download People First





Organizational success requires many different components to work together seamlessly, including systems, structure, leadership, people and teams, work processes, and culture. In a time where our environments are changing at a dizzying pace, this can be difficult to achieve and maintain. From the foundations of our signature program, The Conscious Leader, which focuses on self and others, we delve deeper into the intricacies and challenges of Leading Organizations.

This program is crafted to facilitate learning integration over time (typically six months). You will further enhance your learning through an in-depth action learning project that will challenge your knowledge and support an organizational initiative. You will share experiences and best practices through cohort work sessions, coaching conversations, and presentations.

Learn more

Contact us to request an obligation-free consult today: 970-279-3330 or


If you’re experiencing

  • Difficulty achieving strategic outcomes
  • Disharmony or fear among employees
  • Poor team dynamics
  • Trouble recruiting the right talent
  • Other team or organizational issues

We will help you unleash new possibilities and potential that result in sustainable change.

You need a superior workforce to reach and exceed your goals. A talent strategy is required to get you there. We’ll help you improve productivity, increase profitability, and reduce turnover by creating an employee experience that touches all parts of the employee life cycle. As a result, you’ll have a highly talented, motivated workforce who will stay with your organization for the long term.

Our typical clients include

  • C-Suite teams needing an experienced strategic partner
  • HR leaders who require specific expertise that doesn’t exist internally
  • Teams needing temporary assistance to supplement the talent on their team to meet a current need
  • Growing small to mid-sized organizations where organizational needs exceed the HR team’s capacity
  • Startup organizations without a dedicated HR function

Learn more

Contact us to request an obligation-free consult today: 970-279-3330 or



The New Portrait Of Leadership: Dr. Laurie Cure of Innovative Connections on Strategies to Shape Yourself Into A Modern Masterpiece






We believe every voice holds value and everyone should be empowered to bring their full and authentic self to work. We celebrate diversity and feel a deep responsibility to move organizations from good intentions to meaningful action around equity and inclusion. We approach this work with intentional awareness, curiosity, and respect. As consultants and coaches, we recognize our ability to influence individual behavior and organizational culture, and we aim to always create safe and inclusive environments that encourage our clients to learn, grow, connect, and innovate. Meet Our Team