One of the biggest trends shaping the successful organisation in 2020 are a people-first corporate culture and corporate wellness.

In 1936 Dale Carnegie published a book entitled    How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book contains simple principles designed to help people   and leaders get the most from other people and leaders, principles formulated from years of working with individuals and recognising what gets results.

Many of the ideals outlined in the book were inspired by some of the world’s most famous leaders including President John F. Kennedy and John D. Rockefeller, and have influenced the careers of famous individuals such as Warren Buffet and Donna Reed. The book might be old, but the message remains as relevant today as it was more than 80 years  ago.

Why? Because the principles of honesty, appreciation, praise, and encouragement will make anyone feel recognised and understood.

Unfortunately, many of these principles have slipped by the wayside in the corporate environment, leaving toxic whirlpools of competitiveness and blame in their place. Driven by the hard work and even harder shoulder pads of the 80s, corporate culture became increasingly impersonal. For employees, strict regulations around life and work has led to complex personal conditions and high-stress lifestyles. For organisations, the demand for better numbers, more productivity and less spend has led to increasingly impersonal and challenging deadlines that don’t take people into account.

But the world is changing rapidly and people are changing alongside it. Fortunately, the ideals set out in How to Win Friends and Influence People are gaining traction again as leaders realise that softer skills are the ones that inspire and get results. In fact, The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Survey 2019 found that 80% of organisations believe they need to develop leaders differently and that there is a need to ‘reinvent with a human focus’. If you want your company to thrive in 2020 you need to focus on your people, deliver solutions that clients really need, add value in collaboration and communication, and recognise that everyone in business is a person.

Regardless of generation or age, most employees have started to feel the benefits of technology and realised that they have more choices and can work more flexibly. They want to be taken more seriously, to be heard in corporate discussions, and given more opportunities. If organisations, regardless of size and age, want to attract and retain talent, they’re going to have to do far more than just hand over money and a well-stocked canteen. They need to create collaborative, open and engaging work spaces that empower employees. They need open lines of communication and greater freedom for individuality. Employees aren’t children, they’re adults who know what their job is and how to do it. And they want companies that let them get on with it.

This means a change in leadership thinking. The CEO  of 2020 is strategic and has a clearly defined vision, but they are also someone who challenges their employees and colleagues to achieve, be more engaged, and  feel part of something important. The CEO has to ignite a culture that ensures employees buy into their vision, be someone who listens and acknowledges their time and commitment.

They also need to promote failure. Oh yes, this is one change that will make old school shudder in its boots.  The days of public remonstration are long gone. The right culture is interested in teaching people to learn from  their mistakes and use failure as lessons to take their  skills and abilities to the next level. A CEO that can create a clear picture of the business while allowing others to take responsibility for achieving this picture will build a culture that can thrive in the modern world.

This will reflect in how the business engages with customers as well. Research and analysis continually points to how poor customer service and disinterested employees actually cost the business money. The PwC ‘Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right’ report found that bad experiences drive customers away, regardless of how loyal they’ve been to a brand. People sit at the core of customer interaction, internal interaction and long-term business  success.

People want to be appreciated, recognised, rewarded, and heard. A good leader remembers people’s names, has meaningful conversations that aren’t just about work, and can articulate the company’s vision and show people how they fit into  it. Listen to them, smile, and appreciate their business.  This is the mindset and skillset that shapes a successful leader in a market that craves stability, recognition and relationships.

As seen in Your Business Magazine