A ‘People first’ approach to business

A ‘People first’ approach to business

Legal Ready is a passionate advocate for adopting the “People-first” approach to managing business. But what does this actually mean and how does it work in practice? In this blog post, Stephen Foley, Legal Ready Founder outlines how and why he applies the “People-first” philosophy to managing his rapidly growing legal technology business.

What is “People First”?

In a recent Forbes article, Thomson Jenson defined People-first as a “people-centred approach to leadership that takes account of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of all employees so that they can do their best work…it’s a mindset, rather than a strategy or a set of principles. You cannot make a people-first strategy, but you can see the difference that a people-first mindset makes to a strategy.” 

At Legal Ready, we have taken this a big step further, extending our ‘People-first’ focus well beyond our own team to take into account the needs of our clients. Our goal is to create people-centred solutions that address their needs, and, through this, to transform the way the legal industry works for the benefit of all working within it.

So how does this work in the context of our business as legal tech developers?

This means, when we are developing legal technology solutions, we consider questions like:

  • What solution would deliver the greatest good?
  • What would be the simplest way to get this done?
  • What approach would be most widely used?
  • How will this make the lives of our users better?
  • How can we make this more accessible and affordable for all players (not just those with the biggest budgets or who will pay the most?)
  • How does this contribute to making the legal system more equitable and efficient?
  • How does this help create a more sustainable world


We have found that adopting a people-centred approach in our business not only aligns with ethical and sustainable practices but also fosters a culture of transparency, collaboration, and integrity that leads to significant benefits for both our business and our customers. 

Here’s an expanded view on how a people-centred approach yields these outcomes:

Enhanced transparency & collaboration

By prioritising people, transparency within our team and with our clients has become a cornerstone of our operations. 

Our product development is very much a customer-led, iterative and collaborative process, driven by clients willing to explore new ways of doing things with us. They guide our direction, provide feedback on our progress and tell us straight when things aren’t working. 

This openness helps in building trust and credibility, as clients feel valued and informed about the processes, decisions, and challenges involved in developing solutions for the sector. Transparent communication ensures that we work together to solve worthwhile issues, reducing misunderstandings and fostering a stronger, more loyal client relationship. 

In the long term, this approach leads to higher client retention rates and positive word-of-mouth, which are invaluable for business growth.

Improved internal and external working relationships

A people-centred approach emphasises the importance of every individual within and connected to the organisation. By recognising the value of diverse perspectives, encouraging open dialogue, and fostering a culture of respect and empathy, we create an environment where our team feels supported and valued. This positive internal atmosphere extends to external interactions, leading to more productive and harmonious relationships with partners, suppliers, and the broader community.

The ripple effect of treating people with respect and dignity enhances the company’s reputation and attracts talent and clients who share similar values.

Streamlined decision-making processes

Decision-making becomes more straightforward when the focus is on people and their well-being.

With a clear set of values centred around human impact, we can navigate complex situations by considering what will best serve our employees, clients, and community.

This clarity reduces decision paralysis and ensures that actions taken are aligned with our ethical standards and long-term vision, leading to decisions that are more likely to be supported and understood by all stakeholders.

Contributing to a better world

By prioritising human needs and values (over profit), people-first companies contribute to a more equitable and sustainable world. This approach goes beyond financial gains to consider the social and environmental impact of business activities. When organisations take responsibility for their role in the community and the wider world, they contribute to positive change, whether through fair labour practices, environmental sustainability, or community engagement.

We find this sense of purpose is deeply motivating for everyone involved, creating a shared goal of making a difference.

The flow of connectedness and its benefits

Rejecting magical thinking in favour of a grounded, people-centred approach does not preclude the emergence of a certain “flow” that comes from deep connectedness. This flow can lead to unexpected positive outcomes, such as serendipitous opportunities, innovative solutions arising from collaborative efforts, and an enhanced sense of community and belonging. When people feel connected and aligned with their work and colleagues, they are more likely to contribute their best efforts, leading to higher levels of creativity, productivity, and satisfaction – and better legal tech solutions.

Improved personal well-being

Finally, knowing that one’s work contributes positively to the lives of others and adheres to ethical standards can significantly enhance personal well-being. This peace of mind allows for better sleep, reduced stress, and a more fulfilling life, both personally and professionally. 

When you know that your efforts are part of a larger purpose and that your work respects and enhances human dignity, the satisfaction derived from working extends far beyond financial rewards.

In summary

Legal Ready has found that adopting a people-centred approach in business transcends the conventional pursuit of financial gain. 

It’s a profound commitment to placing human well-being, ethics, and societal contribution at the core of our organisational values. This perspective shifts the narrative from using people-centred practices as a means to enhance profitability to recognising them as fundamental principles that define the essence of the business.

In this redefined context, success is measured not by the immediate financial returns but by the long-term impact on individuals, communities, and the broader ecosystem. 

The approach fosters a culture of trust, mutual respect, and collaboration, laying the groundwork for sustainable growth and innovation that naturally arises from a workforce and clients that feel valued and engaged. However, it’s crucial to understand that these outcomes are the byproducts of genuine efforts to prioritise human values over financial objectives.

A people-centred strategy might not directly translate into increased profits in the short term. 

Instead, it builds a foundation for resilience, adaptability, and loyalty among employees and customers alike, which are indispensable assets in navigating the complexities of the modern business landscape. The emphasis on social responsibility and human connection cultivates a sense of purpose and fulfilment, enriching the lives of those it touches.

In adopting a people-centred approach, we are reimagining the purpose of business in society and challenging the traditional metrics of success. 

We believe that true business success encompasses far more than financial achievements. It involves creating a positive impact on the world, which, while indirectly beneficial to the company’s longevity and reputation, is primarily a reflection of a commitment to making the world a better place for all.

We invite you to join us on this journey.


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