As a leader, do your actions match your words, especially when it comes to your employees?
Ronni Zehavi is co-founder and CEO of Hibob, an HR platform designed to transform how people work in the modern world. Zehavi has had a fascinating life of serving in the Israeli army, studying history and organizational psychology, and becoming an entrepreneur in residence before creating his own company.
Zehavi created Hibob to empower people, and he follows the same idea with his own employees. He put it this way: “People are your number one asset. You can’t scale, you can’t grow, you can’t make an impact on a business without your people. You have to invest in them.”
But what does putting people first actually look like? It’s a journey and doesn’t happen overnight. Investing in your people starts with leaders who set the example and tone for the entire organization.
Zehavi breaks it down into three Ts:
Leaders have to make the conscious decision to trust their employees. That means showing employees you trust them and setting the tone for the rest of the company. Zehavi showcases trust in his direct reports, who then follow his example to trust their employees.
Many leaders call their companies a family, but Zehavi calls his a village. In a village, people rely on each other to be protected, share their values, celebrate, and support each other. When leaders demonstrate trust and lead by example, it builds a culture of trust within the entire organization.
Trusting employees means being open and authentic. Zehavi shares the same information and slides at an all-hands meeting as he does at a board meeting, so employees know exactly what’s happening in the business. Everything is available and accessible to educate employees about the company’s goals and progress.
Zehavi says trust and transparency always go together. When leaders are transparent without a hidden agenda, they can easily stand behind the trust. The more transparent you are, the fewer office politics and the more supportive the culture.
This episode is sponsored by Hibob.
HiBob is on a mission to help multi-national companies overcome the complexities of the modern workplace. Bob, the company’s flexible HR platform, offers a robust, intuitive, and easy-to-use interface. With Bob, business leaders gain visibility into the people aspects of their business, managers lead more effectively, and employees develop professionally and build meaningful relationships that keep them connected.
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As employees feel trusted and are involved and educated about what happens in the company, teamwork naturally follows. Leaders show that they trust employees to work together and make good decisions. There’s a difference in employees who have the trust of their leaders—they want to work together to build something exceptional because they feel valued and empowered.
Putting employees first means offering them flexibility. Since COVID, Hibob has allowed employees to work from anywhere in the world. That flexibility again shows that the company trusts its employees to do their best work, even if they aren’t together in an office.
But what happens when someone breaks a leader’s trust? Zehavi says he can’t remember that happening in years. Trust is strengthened because employees know he stands behind his words. It isn’t just something on a poster but is supported throughout the organization. Backing up words with actions creates a strong bond between employees, leaders, and the organization.
Employees are a company’s greatest asset. And it’s up to leaders to foster those relationships and put people first. Trust, transparency, and teamwork go far in building a people-centric culture to lead in the future of work.
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