It’s All About the People, People by Karen Killian

“Why are you leaving?” This is the classic question asked in an exit interview when someone leaves a company. Have you thought about asking your employees, “Why do you stay?”

I recently asked the LMD team to privately message me the reason they stay at LMD. My goal was to get some content for a blog about employee retention, as well as share the responses with everyone as a way for us to feel connected during our new normal of remote work.

What I expected: People would be a part of their reason for staying.

What I learned: People is the #1 reason why they stay. See word cloud.

What I expected: Salary would be part of why they stay.

What I learned: Salary was mentioned once—9th in a string of reasons why one person stays.

What I expected: Answers would be all over the board. After all, we have a very diverse staff–people of all ages, in all stages of life, different ethnicities, races, genders, and sexual orientation.

What I learned: Everybody had the same answer—the people.

A word cloud based on LMD employee's responses.

So, how do you build a culture that’s all about the people? 

1. Make people a company value. This makes a strong statement to your team and to the world that you value people and their contributions to the company.

2. Develop a “people plan.” Building a culture that focuses on people is a marathon not a sprint, so you need to document what, how, why, when, and where you will bring your “people” value to life.

3. Walk the talk.  Be authentic and intentional about practicing your people value every day. Instead of “Here’s another project for you,” try, “You did such a great job on the last project, I’d like you to work on this one.” And recognize accomplishments and contributions on the regular. For example, LMD passes around an easy button every week to recognize people who make others’ jobs easier.

4. Show gratitude. This is perhaps the easiest way to make the biggest impact. Because of the way it engages the human brain, gratitude can boost performance, increase productivity, reduce stress, and promote positive social interaction. Simply saying “thank you” will help you retain top talent and strengthen your bottom line.

A people-centric culture is an important part of your brand—it’s the glue for retaining good people and a magnet for attracting new talent. One final suggestion: Ask them. Go ahead, ask them why they stay. Whether you manage a team, department, or company, you’ll learn something about your people that will make you a better leader, boss, or manager. I sure did.

Contact LMD if your organization needs a culture check-up or a people plan to build a culture that retains and attracts the best talent. 

Senior Strategist
As LMD's Senior Strategist, Karen develops evidence-based brand and marketing strategies for key clients. She is passionate about helping clients answer their "why" to create fresh communications solutions that evoke...Read more