Praiseworthy Blog

Why Companies Can’t Succeed without Being Employee-Focused

Companies take more than department leaders and CEOs; it needs inspiration through an employee-first culture.

Our interview with Hung Pham, CEO of Culture Summit, highlights the importance of employees pursuing a strong company culture. Culture Summit is a conference that brings together leaders from all over the world to share ways of empowering employees and building an employee-first culture. The 2017 conference takes place August 16 and 17 in San Francisco.

Pham’s idea for Culture Summit came from disengagement he experienced in his job. Like most employees, he wanted something more.

“I became really fascinated by culture and began to look for events,” he says. However, most of those events he found were targeted toward human resource leaders. “I’m just an employee who cares about the culture he works in,” he says.

Since there weren’t any events for audiences like him, focused on an employee-first culture, he started his own.

Culture Summit launched in September of 2014.

Despite starting with slow growth, Pham persevered in his mission.

“I thought about my challenges, how I was so frustrated with my career, and what if Culture Summit just solved that problem for just one other person out there, wouldn’t that be worth it?” he says. “The best ideas to work on are the ones you have a personal problem to solve. That’s going to get you through the tough times.”

In the first conference, they sold out. And the recognition of Culture Summit continues to grow. Developing a company’s culture is no longer just a topic for HR and leaders. Employees need to buy in too.

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The popularity of these conferences centered around the employee is evidence of a new revolution in the workforce. Employees want purpose, and purpose will help build a company culture, from the ground up.

But it’s not just about the employee. “You got to have the top-down and the bottom-up,” Pham says. “I think a lot of the culture is driven by the leaders of these companies. So they set the vision, and the employees execute out that vision.”

What can you do to develop an employee-first culture?

1) Leaders should be conscious about the culture they’re building

Leaders set the pace and tone of how others view their company or organization. What they set, “employees take that vision and become an extension of that,” Pham says.

2) Leaders should allow freedom for employees to build culture

The process of developing company culture must include a top-down and a bottom-up approach, coming from both leaders and employees.

3) Employees have to show the impact of what they’re doing

To encourage leadership buy-in, employees should show the results of ideas and campaigns. In providing evidence of how their ideas are creating positive change, leaders will be more willing to carry that idea along. When facts such as ROI are presented, leaders see such work as investment rather than expenses.

4) It requires measurement of a long-term investment of culture

Pham says culture is a lot like innovation; the measurements are more complicated than simple sales. Using comparisons, rather than plain numbers, allows leaders to see the real benefits of investing in culture.

See Also:  The One Question Successful Managers Aren’t Afraid To Ask

Want to learn more about employee first culture? Visit Culture Summit.
● Learn more about the annual conference in August
● Sign up for their newsletter
● Learn about community events and online webinars


The Praiseworthy Leader podcast interviews amazing leaders around the world who care about employee engagement, employee retention and building a beautiful company culture.

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