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What Is an Employee Persona? Definition, Benefits, and Use Cases

Employee personas are the closest things you have to representing a group of employees that share similar traits and characteristics. They help you create a positive workplace culture.
9 Min Read

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    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.

    What are employee personas?

    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.

    Attributes of an employee persona

    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.

    • A fictional name
    • Basic demographic details
    • Job title and work history
    • A list of their daily activities
    • Duration at the company
    • Immediate career path
    • Motivations to stay at the job
    • Frustrations at the workplace
    • Expectations from the employer
    • Short-term and long-term goals (both personal and professional)

    Employee persona examples

    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 Hunt, an HR consultant

    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.


    • Data-oriented and great at multitasking
    • Understands HR strategy creation and execution, unlike her colleagues
    • Great at working with technology and is a well-being evangelist


    • Aims to hire a pool of talented candidates for the next quarter across several departments
    • Wants to increase the well-being of employees with a plan of action that she recently shared with her boss


    • It takes time for her to get reports from her subordinates.
    • The career progression she expected as a result of her work ethic hasn’t materialized so far.
    • She does not have a good work-life balance.

    Anton Fleming, the Chief Accountant

    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.


    • Ensure that there are no issues in the accounts department
    • Wants to make his colleagues resourceful and familiar with the latest tools in the field


    • Adept at getting the work done by himself
    • Go-to authority on all matters related to finance
    • Able to communicate financial information in layman’s terms


    • Wants his department to be compliant with all the local regulations
    • Plans to go on an international trip every quarter
    • Move to a different company that is closer to home


    • Anton wants to be included in crucial decisions that affect his team.
    • Despite raising issues with HR, many of his demands have not been fulfilled.

    Why should your company use employee personas?

    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.

    Benefits of employee personas

    1. Improve internal communication

    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.

    2. Know your employees better

    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.

    3. Get an efficient work environment

    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.

    4. Identify areas for improvement

    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.

    5. Create personalized experiences

    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.

    6. Streamline engagement

    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.

    Most common types of workplace personas

    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.

    types of employee personas

    The Socialers

    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.

    The Taskers

    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.

    The Builders

    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.

    The Coasters

    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 Achievers

    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.

    How do you create employee personas?

    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.

    Steps to create employee personas

    Step 1. Collect internal feedback

    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:

    • Get a deeper understanding of their thoughts by conducting one-to-one interviews
    • Observe the work environment and see how everything affects employee productivity
    • Gather broad information by sending out online surveys
    • Conduct focus groups that have specific questions for different employees

    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.

    Step 2. Review research data

    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.

    Step 3. Build employee personas

    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.

    • Give a name, for example, it could be SaaS CEO Martin, Executive Assistant Kelly, or Freelancer Adam
    • Personify by adding a picture
    • Include key demographic information such as age, title, job description, department, location, ambitions, family information, education, etc.
    • Motivations in professional and personal life
    • List down the systems and processes they use in a typical day at work
    • Major frustrations that they encounter
    • Create a graphical representation of their working environment

    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.

    Step 4. Validate with real employees

    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.

    Step 5. Ensure employee persona adoption

    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.

    Companies who use employee personas to improve work experience

    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.

    • Careerists: Ones who intend to stick with them for the long term and are looking at a fruitful career at Starbucks.
    • Artistes: People who look at the greater perspective, value everyone at the organization, and are community-driven.
    • Skiers: Individuals who work at Starbucks as a hobby. Even though they don’t have long-term interests of the company in mind, they can still be productive.

    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:

    • Highly Mobile: Salespeople, Account Managers, Systems Engineers
    • Remote/Distance Collaborator: Customer Service and Support, HR, Legal, Marketing
    • Campus Mobile: Executives, Business Development Managers
    • Neighborhood Collaborator: Finance Staff, Managers, Engineers
    • Workstation Anchored: Software/Network Engineers. Admin Staff

    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.

    Wrapping Up:

    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.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is an employee persona?

    An employee persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal employees or a group of employees with similar traits and characteristics. It includes their personal goals, professional objectives, pain points, skill sets, experience levels, interests, and preferences that help them create a positive work environment.

    What are the different types of employee personas?

    O.C. Tanner’s global research has identified five types of employee personas based on their self-esteem and work ethic:

    1. The Socialers: Outgoing team players with a positive attitude and great at building relationships.
    2. The Taskers: Efficient, reward-responsive workers with a calm demeanor and focused attitude.
    3. The Builders: Friendly, hands-on individuals who excel in practical tasks.
    4. The Coasters: Underperforming, anxious, and pessimistic employees who need constant reassurance.
    How do you write an employee persona?

    You can efficiently put together an ideal employee profile by following these steps:

    Step 1: Collect internal feedback and surveys

    Step 2: Review research data

    tep 3: Draft employee personas

    Step 4: Validate personas with real employees

    Step 5: Ensure employee persona adoption

    How to use personas in HR?

    HR personnel can use workplace personas to hire candidates that meet the job requirements, better understand existing employees, create an efficient work environment, improve internal communication, and streamline engagement.

    Which companies use employee segmentation?

    Famous companies like Starbucks, IBM, and Cisco use employee segmentation to attract new talent, retain existing employees, improve work culture, and build data-oriented engagement activities.

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