What People-First IS

Does your team know that you support them, that you prioritize their needs?

There was a time early in my career when I could honestly and painfully answer this question with a resounding no. Not only did I think the patient was the most important part of my job, I had believed my team to be lazy, entitled, and unwilling to do an ounce more than the bare minimum to keep our rehab unit running. I learned my lessons about business success and failure the hard way. If I had only engaged and supported the team by putting them first, they would have felt supported in ways that engaged and empowered them to do their best work.

Thankfully, through my frustration and my failure, I learned later that my perspective needed a major overhaul and that overall was learning to put People First. Now, I’m on a mission to help all people have a better experience at work. And “people” includes not only the team members but also the leaders and owners.  

Owners and leaders who are:

  • Exhausted by doing everything themselves.
  • Frustrated that people don’t seem to do what you want them to do.
  • Excited to grow but need help with how to do it.  

It also includes team members who are:

  • Exhausted because they don’t have the tools to do the job, the work is inefficiently designed and it takes more steps than necessary.
  • Frustrated by patients who aren’t satisfied and yet the employee feels like there is no way to make it better.
  • Disengaged because their leaders don’t care about them and feel disconnected from the team, the mission, and the vision.  
  • Excited to grow but don’t feel that the company and leaders are supporting them

Putting People First is the way through all of these challenges and more.  

In my previous letter to you, I shared that a true people-first approach is not ignoring business imperatives like finances, your patients, and regulatory compliance. Now I’d like to share with you the People First method, some tips about how implementing this approach in the workplace can benefit you and your team, as well as how you can actually go about embracing this concept today.

What is the People First approach? 

In my book, I flip the traditional view of the employee lifecycle. And while you may think this is just renaming the same things, I assure you it is much more. These words help shift the intentions of the organization as it supports people through each phase. It transforms the mindset of leaders and owners as they determine how to engage with the team at each phase of the life cycle.  

More than just how we view the lifecycle of the employee and grounded in four core elements, People First provides proven methods to design your practice and improve your leadership. 

  • THINK: Mindset and intentions for the practice including mission, vision, and values along with the mindset of the leaders and owners.
  • Say: Systems of communication and language of the organization and leaders.
  • DO: Processes, systems and activities of the organization plus behaviors of the leaders.
  • Grow: The strategies to achieve organizational growth and growth of individuals.

How it benefits all

When a leader demonstrates commitment  to members in their team, it’ll be evident in the overall efficiency of the unit. A bond grows from that support and eases the stress of the job which ultimately affects both the treatment of the patients as well as the workplace environment. On top of that, there is a lower turnover rate simply because each member feels supported in their role. There are countless times I’ve seen this transformation happen, many of which I address in my book, and it’s why my leadership is so drastically different today.

What do you do now?  

As a healthcare director, business owner, manager, or leader in any field, your team is looking to you for guidance and support in the very necessary work that they do. Are they motivated by their work? How cohesive are they as a unit? What’s working and what isn’t? What is the turnover rate? Answering these questions are key to finding the weak points in your system’s structure.  

Having had all of these questions answered myself, I was able to collect each experience and dive deeper into the process of reconstructing a very unique people-first approach that I discuss in detail in my book, People First, launching August 24th! Learn what owners and leaders are doing right in order to succeed and then implement the People First strategies.  

Order now!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.