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Putting People First: Cultivating a Successful Workplace

Updated: Aug 10

When it comes to leadership, TTC’s Founder and President, Pamela Thomas, has a simple philosophy that boils down to a clear plan of action: put people first. Pamela started TTC 18 years ago with a desire to work with thoughtful, talented colleagues and clients that would inspire her team to excellence. In speaking to Pamela about her 30-year career in the industry, here’s what we learned about the people-first philosophy and how it has led to TTC’s success over nearly two decades.

Q: What does people-first mean?

PT: A people-first culture is one that actively creates a desirable work environment that considers and works to fulfill the needs of its employees.

For TTC specifically, people-first means we support employees with training and development, provide opportunities to learn more, and make conscious efforts to notice, appreciate, and recognize the efforts of our employees. People-first means that we will create policies and benefits that foster employee happiness, necessitates decisions that may benefit the many vs. a few, and encourages thinking that clients are more than just a paycheck and partners are more than vendors.

Q: What are the employee benefits of being people-first?

PT: The feedback I’ve received from employees is that they feel valued, which helps them come to the office emotionally invested in their role. This creates ownership, a willingness to go above and beyond in their work, and a commitment to TTC.

We’ve also heard that when an employee feels that TTC cares for their well-being, they take greater care of their colleagues, building a stronger community for all.

Q: People-first sounds very employee-focused, how does it benefit the client?

PT: For our clients, TTC’s investment in a happy workforce translates to strong relationships, thinking powered by curiosity and enthusiasm, and a commitment to go above and beyond expectations for them. Some of the benefits are:

  1. Lower Turnover: An engaged employee leads to longer tenure, which offers efficiencies, consistency and better historical understanding of a client’s business.

  2. Client Service: For an agency our size, every client has an impact on our bottom line, so delivering incredible results is how we survive and thrive. Engaged employees understand how important it is to go above and beyond expectations for every single client, every single day.

  3. Better Work: Longer tenure boosts levels of trust and confidence with clients, and the heightened commitment to the business directly translates to a greater caliber of the work.

Q: What are the potential pitfalls (or constraints) of being people-first?

PT: People-first can be demonstrated in many ways, but we caution that it should not be measured by a single event, interaction, or decision. We take efforts to communicate that there will be times—that for the good of all versus the good of the few—business realities will necessitate making some hard decisions like shifting the benefits plan, making changes that disrupt routines, or even permanent staff changes. So, one pitfall can be the interpretation of the philosophy as person-first, rather than the larger community of people.

Q: How do you see the people-first philosophy evolving in the next five years?

PT: I believe that we’ll continue to see companies adjusting their business cultures to keep in step with current attitudes and best practices, or they will find themselves unable to attract and keep their best talent.

The Thomas Collective’s people-first philosophy has helped to create a business environment that not only attracts smart, talented employees, but succeeds in harboring strong client relationships. Proof that business flourishes when leadership prioritizes transparency, respect, and celebration.

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