#WorkTrends: Building a People-Focused Culture

Donna Kimmel is executive vice president and chief people officer at Citrix, so I guess you could say she’s literally a people person! And that makes her the perfect guest for this week’s #WorkTrends topic: the importance of building a people-centric culture. It’s something that too many organizations merely pay lip service to, rather than investing the time required to ensure that their cultures really do revolve around their people.

Building a people-centric culture isn’t just about providing perks and lunchtime dance parties (a girl can dream though, right?). A truly people-centric culture connects people to their work in a unique, personal way, even integrating technology into the workplace so that the employee experience is everything it can be.

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Get People to Be Their Best Selves

For the folks at Citrix, the first step of building a people-centric culture is about empowering people to be their best selves at work. While this starts with hiring quality talent, there’s much more to it, Kimmel says. “It’s marrying culture, technology and space,” she says.

The company has worked to make sure it’s truly living out its values, and has created programs to better channel employees’ passions into their work, she says. While the technology that some Citrix employees use is a bit beyond my pay grade, the principle behind the focus on technology is easy to understand: Citrix does everything in its power to give employees the tools they need to enable productivity.

Kimmel says the element of space relates a bit to technology, but also to the actual workspaces that employees use. Citrix was a pioneer in remote work. “We’ve been working virtually for many years,” she says. But this focus on space doesn’t just mean kicking back on your couch while working. Citrix made sure its office spaces are designed in a manner that encourages collaboration, while also accommodating the varying work preferences of its many employees.

Managing Different Generations

No matter the industry, many large organizations share a challenge: managing multiple generations of workers. Kimmel says there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this issue. Your fixed-gear-bicycle-riding programmer is going to have different needs and goals than your buttoned-up senior analyst. What’s important, though, is that management makes the effort to understand what best motivates each employee. “It’s about us being flexible and adaptable, because different generations may need different ways of interacting,” Kimmel says.

However, there’s a constant that applies for every generation: the ultimate motivation is passion. Employees of all ages want to find fulfillment beyond their paycheck. This is why it’s so important to get to know your employees on an individual level, Kimmel says. Discovering your employees’ passions helps you create alignment with their responsibilities — and creates a ripple effect all the way down to customers.

Bring Marie Kondo to Your Office

Like many of us, Kimmel is a fan of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Recently she wrote an article for HR Technologist about how we can tidy up our workspace, and I asked her for a few tips on how we can declutter our organizations.

Kimmel pointed not to a physical space that needs tidying, but a digital one one. She suggests looking at your technology and assessing whether it streamlines your processes. For example, are your employees switching between programs too much? Even minor inconveniences can become incredibly frustrating over time. “Technology can be a bit of a double-edged sword,” she says. “It can be very overwhelming for us.”

That’s why Citrix is building an intelligent workspace to let employees keep all of their texts, emails, documents and anything else they need right in front of them. The system will also have an artificial intelligence aspect, so it can learn what employees need over time. “It’s really about trying to cut out that excess noise that gets in your way,” she says.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

This episode is sponsored by Citrix.