People Oriented Innovation: Types & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Investing in people is an innovative business approach that can reap rewards for both employees and companies. In this lesson, you'll learn more about people-oriented innovation and companies succeeding with the approach.

People-Oriented Innovation

Ever heard the old saying, 'Our people are our greatest asset?' Basically, that's a company or an organization saying that it's employees are the best part of what they do. The idea of people-oriented innovation, a business approach that focuses on treating employees well and recognizing that their role in the company, is important to the overall success of the organization. It is unlike the traditional task-driven model of businesses. Let's take a look at an example you may be familiar with.

Starbucks' Greatest Asset

The world's most famous coffee chain is well-known for its people-centered culture and socially-responsible practices. Starbucks' founder, Howard Schultz, once famously said his company is not in a coffee business, but a people business that serves coffee.

starbucks, coffee, culture, innovation, people, employees

Starbucks approaches their business with a people-oriented type of innovation, making their workplace more just and rewarding for their employees. The company offers many perks to employees including:

  • Above minimum wage earnings
  • Health care to part-time and full-time employees (including same-sex and domestic partners)
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Starbucks stock (Bean Stock) options
  • Weekly free coffee for all associates

Starbucks succeeds in part because of these policies and others such as referring to employees as partners and encouraging their involvement in the company and in contributing ideas. Partners receive extensive training believed to cost the company more than they spend on advertising annually. This approach to handling its people has led to consistent rankings among the best places to work, issued by Fortune magazine, low employee turnover and increased customer satisfaction. The company also embraces diversity and values the tenants of respect and dignity.

Rules of Fairness

People-oriented companies operate under the basic rules of fairness, supportiveness and respect for individuals. These types of businesses embrace fair procedures for all and a management style that not only says 'our employees are our greatest asset,' but also lives by the same mantra.

Because employees feel valued and appreciated, and are treated with respect, dignity, fairness and support, the business atmosphere produces a more cheerful and productive staff. This type of business orientation also presents a better environment for support, collaboration and teamwork. Trust is built and fostered, creativity is reinforced, relationships are built and productivity increases.

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