What is a people strategy, and why is it important?

Publish date20 June 2022

What is a people strategy, and why is it important?

Every company’s success depends on its employees. They are your most important assets. The key to achieving your business goals and attracting and retaining talented professionals? Putting your people first and ensuring that they are happy, motivated, and equipped with the right tools to perform their jobs in the best possible way.

According to research by Gartner, many organizations don’t have the right people-centric strategies and policies in place. This is especially true in the virtual or remote workplace settings that are becoming more and more common. The solution? A strong and engaging people strategy that allows you to take employer branding to the next level. But what is a people strategy? Why is it important to have one? And what are the most important pillars of an effective people strategy? Read on to find out!

What is a people strategy?

Let’s first take a look at the definition of “people strategy”. A people strategy is an organization’s overall plan and policy to attract, engage, train and retain its employees. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a people strategy should be exclusively focused on hiring needs and onboarding new workers. A good people strategy touches every aspect of the employer-employee relationship and covers all stages of the employee lifecycle, from the recruitment phase to the offboarding of an employee.

The goal of a people strategy? Keeping all the people and teams within your organization aligned to create the ideal environment for excellent business outcomes. Although there is some overlap between people and HR strategies, there are also significant differences:

  • People strategy focuses on building relationships between organizations and employees.
  • The main goal of HR strategies? Building systems to attract and retain talent.
  • A people strategy can be described as a company’s philosophy about its relationship with its employees.
  • An HR strategy is pretty much a plan and a theoretical and practical framework for managing employee logistics.

The core elements of a good people strategy

Although people strategies are partially company-specific, the good ones have a couple of commonly shared core elements. Let’s take a look at the most important ones that form the best people strategy models.

Focus on employee engagement

Employees like to be valued and enjoy receiving credit for their role in the success of a company. Recognition and appreciation are often valued just as much or even more than high salaries or bonuses. Transparency (keeping everyone in your organization informed about upcoming changes, challenges, and new ventures) and recognition (properly acknowledging and rewarding achievements) are key drivers of employee engagement.

Create a learning culture

Self-development is a main priority for modern employees. They want to have the opportunity to learn on the job and improve or expand their skill sets. This means that prioritizing learning and development should be a cornerstone of your people strategy. Encourage the pursuit of professional development and offer your employees ample learning and development opportunities beyond the mandatory training schemes.

Provide an inclusive working environment

Be sure that everyone feels respected and valued. This means eliminating bias and providing an inclusive working environment. Be clear about your company policies and actively seek out dialogue with your employees.

Properly support the virtual and remote workplace

Remote and hybrid working are here to stay. All the more reason to factor these alternatives into your future-proof people strategy. This means providing the right support for hybrid and remote working, such as flexible hours and the right digital communication and collaboration tools, should be part of a viable and successful people strategy template.

Offer advancement opportunities

Supply people with enough advancement opportunities. A viable people strategy template offers your employees an attractive career path, good learning and development programs, and a strong leadership pipeline. Employees must believe that promotions and a long, prosperous future at your company are possible if they consistently bring their A-game.

How to design a people strategy

But how do you write and develop a good people strategy? A well-thought-out people strategy template should include the following steps:

  1. Listen. This means identifying the problems and wanted outcomes through the voice of your employees. What can be improved when it comes to people-centric leadership? Also, involve stakeholders in the process by gathering feedback and enticing employees.
  2. Analyze. Discovering the needs of employees allows you to create a vision and utilize the right data to define your goals and formulate an overarching strategy.
  3. Program. Visualize and communicate your people strategy by sharing it with your workforce. You can use Q&As, webinars, workshops, and presentations to achieve this goal.
  4. Keep tracking, adjusting, and improving your people strategy. People management is a continuous, ever-evolving process.

Why you need a people strategy

There are several reasons why you need a good people strategy and people strategy model, both from a business viewpoint and from a social perspective.

  • People empowerment. Employees are not only the driving force behind the realization of your business goals, but also the most important ambassadors of your organization. Providing them with the right tools and a favorable working environment makes them happier, more productive, and more successful.
  • A good people strategy is a powerful employer branding tool. It makes you a more interesting party for talented professionals and supports your recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Employees who feel empowered, trusted, and supported tend to be highly motivated and willing to go the extra mile for your organization. They are also more likely to be agile and innovative in finding new solutions that help your business move forward.
  • Engagement leads to loyalty. Developing a good people strategy generally leads to employees who work harder and stay longer. They are also often prepared to recommend your company to fellow professionals or friends.
  • Businesses are able to connect on a deeper level by demonstrating their commitment to the well-being of their employees.

A new approach to employee engagement

The people strategy concept signals a new, more people-centric approach to employee engagement and company branding. It creates the framework that you need to attract, develop and retain employees that have what it takes to drive business growth. Developing a people strategy should be a matter of customizing. Don’t opt for a one-size-fits-all approach, but build a people strategy that reflects your business needs and culture.

Reworc can help you build and implement an efficient people strategy tailor-made for your organization. We deliver an industry-leading workforce and workplace assessment and conduct research-backed analysis to connect your people, places, and processes. Our solutions can instantly translate insights into action. Interested? Feel free to contact us and we’d love to tell you more!

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