Why hospitality businesses win by putting people first – a mindset shift

people-centric cultureIn the hospitality industry, success lies in the ability to integrate strategic business practices with the unique demands of the sector. A people-centric approach should be at the heart of everything you do, both in terms of delighting your guests and attracting and retaining the best talent. However, all too often, the demands of running a business can get in the way.

In this article, we explore the key challenges hospitality businesses face and the strategies they can implement to align corporate culture and human values. We also discuss some of the benefits they can achieve by successfully navigating the transformation to become a human-centric business.

What is a people-first culture?

Many business professionals in the 21st century share a powerful philosophy: putting people first leads not only to business growth but also to growth for their customers, employees, investors, and society.

They understand that to overcome the many obstacles that organizations face and achieve their long-term goals, they must cultivate a transformative mentality that combines human values with corporate objectives. According to a report by Accenture, 89% of C-suite leaders acknowledge the importance of embedding this combination right at the heart of their business.

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In the past, business leaders would determine their strategies by analyzing historical data and adapting their benchmarks according to the circumstances of the day. However, we now live in a world of constant disruption, where employees and customers have unrivaled choices and opportunities to make their demands known. These are very human challenges, and the only way to solve them is through strategies that are founded on human connections and behaviors. By being more human-centric, businesses can better adapt to their challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that arise.

What does human-centered mean in an organization and how does it look like?

A human-centered organization is one that genuinely focuses on the humans who are at the heart of what a business does. The first step in this process is to reconceptualize the groups they serve. These groups vary from business to business, but broadly speaking, there are three categories:

  • Employees – A human-centered organization cares as much about the experience of its teams as it does about its customers. This leadership approach prioritizes their engagement and well-being and focuses on making them feel a sense of company ownership.
  • Customers – Despite being critical to their success, many businesses fail to prioritize the needs, preferences, and experiences of their customers. Human-centered organizations are committed to creating better human experiences, and this is particularly relevant in the hospitality industry. Putting customers first consistently yields organizational benefits, such as enhanced brand loyalty and credibility.
  • Commities – The wider impact organizations have on the communities and environments they operate in has historically been ignored, but now environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures are increasingly coming to the fore.
Tags: corporate objectives, human-centered organization, people-centric culture



EHL Hospitality Business School, founded in 1893 as Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, is renowned as a center of excellence for service-focused industries. Learn more at

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