Praiseworthy Blog

Three Ways to Build an Employee First Culture

What happens when employees, customers and passion come together? A purposeful employee first culture comes alive.

Our interview with Ryan McCarty, co-author of Build a Culture of Good and co-leader of Culture of Good, highlights how drawing in employee’s passions contribute to work with meaning and igniting an employee first culture.

Culture of Good teaches companies to build culture by identifying causes that inspire their employees and customers to engage. “It’s very much a culture around doing good,” he says.

McCarty’s involvement with the idea of Culture of Good stems from his background of working with nonprofits and charities. While giving a talk about aligning what you do with an intentional purpose, he met Scott Moorehead, CEO of TCC Verizon, Moorehead asked McCarty how he could inspire his employees and do good in the world. McCarty’s response: “hire me.”

After a few months, they began to work together on creating a company culture where “your ‘why’ equals your ‘what,” McCarty says. “It’s the mind of the for-profit with the heart of the nonprofit coming together It’s really about, why do you do what you do?”

For people like McCarty and Moorehead, there’s more to a business than profit margins. People need value.

“Does this make sense not only for the good of the world but also business sense?” McCarty says. There must be a balance. “Profit isn’t evil, but it’s all about what you do with the profit.”

How can you start building this employee first culture?

1) Find out what your employee’s passions are.

Include them in in the company’s history and future story. Rather than telling them how things should be, a top-down approach, let the employees be a part of building the culture. Employees are the formers of company culture. This employee-first culture, “means giving your employees a permission to care,” he says. “Culture is determined by what everyone is doing.”

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2) Determine core values and make a commitment.

Figure out what you and the company as a whole see as important, core values. Develop a purpose statement that re-affirms such values and make a promise to yourself and your coworkers. “It’s not just a poster in the breakroom,” he says. “Every aspect of the business should filter through the type of culture that you want to build within your company. It’s an emotional operating system, it defines not just who you are as a company but what you do on a day-to-day basis. That’s what makes it unique, and that’s what makes it work.”

3) Bring together employees, customers and cause

When employees, customers and a cause come together, that’s the sweet spot where businesses need to be, McCarty says. It’s not just about transforming companies, but developing this culture of good can also transform people.

Sometimes, companies simply support a cause without the passion from employees to fuel the activity. The positive result isn’t near as effective as when employees are emotionally engaged. With this connection, “employees can associate their everyday work with this amazing impact,” McCarty says. “We’re in the business to make people’s lives better.”

Want to learn more about building this inspirational culture?

Read the book! You can find it on Amazon and start reading today!


Stay tuned in August for more resources from Culture of Good to use in your own company.


The Praiseworthy Leader podcast interviews amazing leaders around the world who care deeply about investing time and resources into their front line staff.

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