Putting people first isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s great for business.

March 12, 2021


When everyone in an organization embraces the concept of putting people first, the approach moves from a nice-to-have, HR-led initiative to a key driver of competitive advantage.

It is possible to draw a direct line between a “people matter” approach and strong business performance.

I was explaining our approach to a partner’s CFO [Chief Financial Officer] recently, and they were really excited by the idea. CFOs are typically focused on the bottom-line. He immediately understood why partners value our people-first approach and saw the connection between this and strong financial performance.

Other companies may try to put financial results first, but this strategy rarely works. Our model prioritizes employees because happy and satisfied team members help drive customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to great results.

Being people-first helps us attract and retain top talent, build new partnerships, and meet our goals. Earlier this month, on Friday, March 5, we celebrated National Employee Appreciation Day, so I’d like to take a moment to explain why our people matter so much at Fresh Ideas, and the framework we’ve put in place to support this.


The Fresh Ideas People-First Framework

Our people-first framework operates on two levels: through one common purpose and six values. Together, this framework provides the beliefs, philosophies, and principles to help our team deliver an exceptional guest experience.

Our common purpose: We provide happiness by producing a fresh food experience for people of all ages.

Our common purpose focuses on the experience of food, not just the food itself. Fresh Ideas believes food is a powerful thing. That it takes people on a journey. That it builds community and that it nourishes and fuels our bodies.

I love that our common purpose focuses on the experience.  Anybody can serve food, but not everyone can serve an experience. And what lies at the heart of a positive experience? People.

Our Six Values

Our values help us know who we are as a company and understand what’s important to us as we continue to grow.

  1. Balance

We recognize that balance can be difficult in our industry, which is why this is our first value. We want people to take all their vacation time, and to tell us when they need support.

  1. Creativity

This means being creative and innovative in everything we do, not just in creative areas like marketing or cooking. Being creative could simply mean finding a smarter way of doing something.

  1. Diversity

Diversity isn’t just about how people look; it’s also about differences in the way people think due to their background and life experience. More diversity of thought leads to a stronger company.

  1. Openness

Being open means creating an environment where we value people’s opinions and actively seek them out.

  1. Integrity

At its core, integrity means doing what you say you’re going to do.

  1. Respect

Respect is the glue that holds all the other values together, and is an essential value in our people-first business.

Taken together, Fresh Ideas’ common purpose and values are the foundation of who we are.

We’re currently rolling out a new recognition program with fun activities to help people get to know the people-first approach and understand its importance.

But how does this people-first approach translate into great business results?

We show that we really care about our team members, and our partners see this. They connect with us because we’re real and because we care about the success of our people and our clients.

Anyone can serve food, but Fresh Ideas does so with passion, teamwork, and fun. Our team members love helping each other.  For example, the whole kitchen team at a K-12 school had to be quarantined during COVID-19, so a team from Fresh Ideas went there to help. If someone is down a cook, we find one to support them, and help provide that much-needed balance (one of our values).

Other initiatives include an employee wellness program, a dynamic online training program, and a focus on promoting from within – all of which help drive retention in a high-churn industry.

Promoting from within helps us give our people more opportunities, which in turn helps us expand. It’s always great to see someone who has grown into a new, exciting role that rewards them personally and professionally as well as showcases and develops their talents.

To learn more about our people-first approach at Fresh Ideas, subscribe below.


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