Your employees are the ones who effectively run your company with your support. To get the best out of them, you need to give them a work environment that has the right tools and technologies and improve the employee experience.
How do you do this?
To begin with, you must find a way to understand what they want. In order to know what your employees need, you have to identify their goals, motivations, inhibitions, and work style.
That's where employee personas come in. They can significantly improve employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
In this article, we will take a look at employee personas, their attributes and benefits, along with teaching you how to create one for your organization.
Employee personas are the closest things you have to representing a group of employees that share similar traits and characteristics. They help you get a better idea of their goals, preferences, and pain points, helping you create a positive workplace culture.
They are kind of like customer personas. Whereas buyer personas improve customer experience, employee personas improve workplace experience.
Workplace personas enable you to better understand your workforce. If your employees don’t feel appreciated or valued, they will immediately start looking for a new job elsewhere.
That said, here are some of the most common factors required to develop employee personas.
There are certain employee personas common across every industry and sector. By incorporating those with similar attributes together, you can easily create one of your own.
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Rita is a 40-year-old lady who is married with two kids and lives in Dallas, Texas. As someone who started out as an HR intern, she’s a valuable asset to her organization.
Motivations: She wants to head the HR division in the next ten years.
Anton Fleming, 38, is the Chief Accountant at his organization. He is happily married with three kids, and recently bought a home worth $725,000.
Even though your employees work in teams, each of them is different and has their own goals and ambitions. Not all of them expect the same benefits from you nor are they motivated by the same perks.
If you don’t invest in finding ways to keep them engaged with your company, you are in for a surprise when you find them demotivated to put that extra effort in.
That said, we have listed down some of the most important benefits of employee personas for you and your business.
Digital notifications can get incredibly overwhelming since we keep receiving them every few minutes. There are far too many irrelevant pieces of information floating around.
With clearly defined personas, you get an opportunity to reduce information overload and send them content tailored to their requirements.
Most organizations fail to reduce employee churn rates because they don’t focus on it as an area. The costs of hiring and training new employees is oblivious to the average manager who isn’t instructed “to keep the employees at all times.”
This makes it all the more important to understand your employees and keep them within the company.
You need a highly productive workplace to meet your revenue targets. When you use your employee personas, you gain access to data and insights that help you do so.
You can focus on creating collaborative spaces that bring out the best in people.
Robust spaces with teams that work together and support one another. A cross-functional alignment increase is ensured by personas. Since you have an idea of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, you can put together teams with the right mix of people.
Your company should be universally a great place to work for various employees. You need employee personas to help you see areas where you can improve and provide a better work environment.
The ultimate aim is to offer a distraction-free environment where they can feel fulfilled personally and professionally. Personas helps you do this by directing you in the right direction. You can invest in the right resources to build a workplace that one can be proud of and effectively optimize your budget.
Even though the prospect of personalizing every individual employee experience is almost impossible, you can certainly design experiences that are similar for distinct persona types. This is more effective and the experiences are most likely to resonate with all of them.
Employee personas can also help you build employee journey maps. It will give your HR teams enough insights to formulate strategies that increase employee output and loyalty.
With the advent of multiple technologies, many of which are extremely new to the average worker, it would be unwise to shove all of them at your employees. The policies and strategies you implement cannot be a one-size-fits-all model.
Personas allow you to take decisions that make the most impact and segment the workforce into different groups based on tech adoption rates and patterns.
It is important to understand the different types of employee personas in your office. An office with people having different personality traits and quirks makes it a fun place to work at.
O.C. Tanner’s global research has identified five personas in terms of self-esteem, work ethic, and focus.
Social people who are very outgoing. They are employees who are great in team-building activities as they are always ready to interact with other people. They have a positive attitude towards work and it reflects in the way they interact with their peers, subordinates, and higher-ups.
They have a dedicated work style and are always looking to get things done with minimal fuss. Even though they aren’t great at receiving feedback, they respond well to rewards. The taskers are calm and composed in their day-to-day activities.
Individuals who are friendly with every member of the workforce and warm in their interactions. They love doing practical tasks and are incredibly hands-on. Thanks to how self-aware they are in their dealings, it helps them make significant improvements in the workspace.
Employees who act like deadweights to the company as they are barely hitting their targets. They are also prone to be pessimistic in nature. They always want to be told that they are meeting expectations and are anxious to hear about it.
If you find a coaster, you must come up with ways to build their confidence.
The superstars of your organization who keep the work engine running. They can be honest and blunt at the same time, and it could be misconstrued as arrogance. The achievers love to be the center of attention and will find ways to get it, even in non-work related conversations.
Creating personas will put you in a position where you don’t have to worry about the impact of making a big decision that will affect your workforce.
Employee personas can help you know what they want and make decisions accordingly, since the last thing you want to face is a barrage of employees quitting your company.
Here's a short step-by-step guide to help you build your own using qualitative and quantitative data.
The first step to developing effective employee personas is to collect feedback across the entire organization. When you have data from your employees, the decisions you make because of them would be spot on
In the data collection survey, make sure to ponder over questions about their objectives, motivations, as well as the day-to-day difficulties they face. Build a clear picture of the different things that matter to each individual employee.
Here are a few other actions you can take as a part of your research:
You can also gather basic information from interview excerpts, employee surveys, internal ratings, and documents (from the HR department). The more information you have, the more you will be able to refine your personas.
Go through the internal and external data you have gathered and find patterns in behavior and attitudes.
Find out how many employees are inconvenienced by a certain rule at work or get distracted because of the office setup. Determining such nuggets of information is what makes personas effective. While you go through these patterns, you will find common attributes that make up different employee personas.
Once you find different segments based on a variety of factors, describe each of them. Even though there is no ideal number of segments, anywhere from four to seven is acceptable.
The insights that you have gathered from different data sources should help you design personas encompassing each and every employee. They must be created in such a way that each of them can help design a profile of the employee, the kind of person they are, their preferences, motivations, and so on.
It should help you dive deep into their minds and narrow down on their influencers and behavior. This is how you can document your personas.
These personas might not be perfect to start with. But as you learn more about your employees with each interaction, you will keep building personas that truly align with your employees. Make sure that you discuss them closely with management and get the much-needed buy-in before you proceed with them.
You can connect individually with each employee to verify your personas.
They will need to go through a period of refinement before they start reflecting reality. When your employees hear about personas and how they can positively affect their work life, they will be elated to share and prefer to receive information more openly.
Your personas are useless if you won’t use them in activities that affect your team members. Make sure that the strategies for employees don't negatively affect your business’ goals.
Employee personas play a pivotal role in initiatives that care about the experience of employees. If they are used properly, increasing productivity and revenue per employee becomes plausible.
Large organizations like Starbucks, Cisco, and IBM already have workplace personas in place. They are based on extensive data and research, helping companies create a workplace that promotes personal growth.
The famous coffeehouse chain has developed three employee segments for its massive staff.
Based on these segments, Starbucks has built data-oriented employee engagement activities.
The networking giant defines segments based on its employees’ work styles. Based on these personas, they have added facilities like touchdown spaces, quiet rooms, huddle rooms, creative zones for socialization, and so on.
Let’s look at the different personas created by Cisco:
Cisco communicates about its culture using #WeAreCisco to spread the word about their company culture, attract new talent, and engage the existing ones.
The American technology corporation created three main employee personas. They were the IBMer, the Manager, and the Executive Leader. According to IBM, they defined the employee experience by identifying critical moments of truth.
Employee personas represent employees as more than just a “resource” or an “ROI-generating machine.” You look at them as people who want to live a life where they can cherish and live every day to the fullest.
Using personas to inform the needs of your workforce is the right way to go. You can set goals and increase their contribution to your company. The onus is on you to give them an environment that makes achieving employees’ personal goals along with your business goals possible.