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How to create a socially conscious business model that puts people first

Businesses that have shifted to having a people-first focus are reaping the benefits. Here are the key things you need to consider if you want to do the same with your company

By | Anne Majumdar |

Chobani Founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, once said: “There are a lot of important things in business, but the people portion comes first.” Since his founding of the company in 2005, not only has Chobani’s value soared, but through its people-first approach, it has made a real difference to people’s lives.

Along the way, the company has committed to pay a decent starting wage, offered paid parental leave, ensured pay equity and offered employees a shareholding in the company when it eventually goes public or is sold.

“Just about anyone can make a good product, but it’s the people that count,” he explains. “In the end, it’s the employees who will take it from a kitchen table idea to the next level.”

Ulukaya has also made great efforts to integrate refugees into society by providing them with employment at Chobani – a mission that is now the subject of a documentary entitled Moving Humanity Forward.

“We must put social issues, our community, our people, in the centre,” he says in the film. “And let profit come after. And it will come.”

“We must put social issues, our community, our people, in the centre. And let profit come after. And it will come.”– Hamdi Ulukaya

It’s a belief that is discussed in depth by entrepreneur Dale Partridge in his 2015 book People over Profit. “Generosity is less like an arrow and more like a boomerang; it comes back to you,” he advises.

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