People & Culture

The "Why" Behind Your People Strategy

December 4, 2022

If you’re not focused enough on your company’s most valuable asset — your people — you might be falling behind in your efforts to procure and retain employees. Furthermore, your organization may not be achieving the performance and results that you expect.

If you’re not focused enough on your company’s most valuable asset — your people — you might be falling behind in your efforts to procure and retain employees. Furthermore, your organization may not be achieving the performance and results that you expect.

You may need to revisit your people strategy.

What is a people strategy?

It’s your company’s strategy for how you’ll support the needs and professional growth of your team over the employee lifecycle and, ultimately, how you’ll leverage your people to grow your business, improve productivity and achieve specific business goals.

Think of people strategy as an umbrella that covers all the employee-related, big-picture things that prevent you from getting wet and even drowning. Examples of what a people strategy encompasses are:

Why do you need a people strategy?

A thoughtful and well-executed people strategy constitutes a roadmap for how you can best use your people to accomplish business goals. Your people strategy demonstrates your commitment to and investment in your people, which can increase their engagement and encourage them to stay.

Get On Track With a Successful People Strategy

1. Gather information from leadership.

  • Leaders must feel that they can be vulnerable with each other and share their honest thoughts as they gather information in a group setting.
  • Challenge executive leadership to describe their perceptions of the workplace culture and employees.
  • Prompt them to think about high-level characteristics of employees and detailed observations, such as how meetings go, how colleagues interact or even whether employees arrive on time for work.
  • Obtain people analytics from HR leadership to inform the conversation, including figures on turnover and retention.

2. Solicit employee feedback.

  • Determine if there are gaps in perception between leadership and employees to balance and complete your view of the employee experience.
  • Utilize surveys or focus groups, and ask employees the same questions you asked executive leadership for consistency and ease of comparison.
  • For tenured employees, conduct stay interviews to learn why they have remained with the organization for so long.

Practice transparency, and tell employees upfront that information is being gathered because the company values them, wants to invest in them, and will give them more opportunities to develop and grow.

The more you involve employees in the process, the more they’ll trust you and share valuable feedback. Otherwise, people tend to get nervous about getting called in for interviews with HR representatives.  They may worry that something negative is happening or that their jobs may be at risk.

3. Accumulate findings and come up with a people strategy to support business goals.

After interviewing leadership and employees, trends should emerge, and any gaps between leadership and employees’ opinions will become apparent.

This is where you contemplate:

  • What are my overarching goals? Where does the business need to be in three to five years?
  • What do I need from my people to get there? What’s missing right now?
  • How can I fix these gaps in perceptions?
  • What are the next steps I need to take?

Present your findings to your leadership group, and work with them to create a plan.

4. Communicate any new plans or revisions to existing strategies.

Once plans are solidified, determine how to share updates or changes with everyone.

Consider starting with middle managers, who can discuss changes or additions with their departments and teams. Regardless of the route you take, your people strategy should be clearly communicated and defined, especially if new actions are being implemented.

Weaknesses in the management team may be unveiled in this process. This can be uncomfortable and stressful for executive leadership to acknowledge, and they may need to pause and develop managers further in carrying out people strategy.

Summing It All Up

A solid people strategy is instrumental to your company’s ability to attract, develop, train, engage, and retain a talented workforce and get the right people in the right role at the right time – all of which impacts goal achievement and the overall success of your business.

A people strategy is a great tool to provide employers and employees with a focus and a concrete direction forward. It can also strengthen relationships between the two parties. To start, engage in conversations with leadership and employees to get a full picture of the workforce, and use these findings to formulate a strategy and plan the next steps.

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Bonnie Monych Headshot
Bonnie Monych - Insperity

Performance Specialist at Insperity