Employee Personas


We are looking to create employee personas within our organisation that we can then use to more effectively target segments of our population in terms of engagement, benefits, L&D, performance management etc

I wondered if anyone had already done this and would be willing to share their outcomes as an example?



  • Hi Helen

    All this I'm afraid is alien to me.

    I can understand why companies etc might want to align their particular cultures and some modes of their operations with particular individual / group psychological profiles, but I fail to understand how or why any particular ideal employee 'persona' might work, compared with eg recognising that *very diverse* yet *complementary* and well-led groups of individuals result in effective teamworking and operational excellence. Seeking to employ a bunch of identical clones to me simply isn't going to work, whereas assessing, recognising and developing and exploiting the diversity amongst individuals often does.

    Or am I behind the times / have I got it all wrong / do I fail to understand?
  • It was sometime ago in my career but when I was at Tesco they were experimenting with segmentation of employees of the back of the very successful work they had done with customers based around their clubcard. They were (then) ahead of the game on using and analyzing data. In addition to the obvious "students", "parents", etc we had identified (from memory) around 15/16 significant profiles and were working on ensuring offers were tailored. Clearly this approach shouldn't be taken too far and people in one profile might want to jump into another but it was providing some really interesting and relevant data

    Think as we move more into a data driven and analytic world its one that perhaps need revisiting.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Anyhow, surely it's serious abuse / obuscation of the perfectly innocent word 'persona' to apply it in this context? see eg:
  • In reply to David:

    Please don't worry David - it was completely new terminology to me until recently, when I came across it as part of work to implement a new HR system. It was a way of identifying needs to different groups, managers, people who work part time, etc etc It doesn't exclude people from other groups and many will sit in more than one, but it can be quite handy in making sure that you don't miss anything that a particular group may need or want.

    We didn't use it for benefits, but i can see how it could work when putting together a benefits package and also promoting/communicating them
  • In reply to David:

    I don't know, David. Given its original meaning as a theatrical mask that can be taken off and replaced as required, it seems like quite an appropriate term.

    However, this sounds very like big company/international consultancy kind of voodoo HR - useful only in application to large employee populations, likely in excess of 1500-2000 people. Is this the scale at which you're working?
  • Hi Helen - we do this, but as others said mainly when linked to communicating a change or engaging on something e.g. a process/system change, organisational change etc. So I think different to how you propose. I work for a multinational with 70,000+ employees globally.

    It's a useful tool to help ensure you're considering different perspectives, e.g. when we rolled out a new performance management process, what a 'manager' needed to know/feel/do was different to an 'employee' and mapping against a persona helps to break down information into the relevant/critical parts and identify what will change for them. Obviously for most things, some people will fall into more than one persona but the point is really about what is communicated to who and why. In my opinion, the recipient shouldn't feel they've been put in a box but rather that they've received what is relevant to them.

    In terms of personas, we keep them fairly broad, usually:
    - Employee
    - Manager
    - Senior Executive

    So e.g. a Senior Executive would also be a manager and employee, but they would also be expected to provide more leadership around a change and be expected to e.g. articulate how it supports the business strategy for example. So how and when we engage them would be earlier and with different content to e.g. the employees.

    Depending on the topic we may also include the below, as some communications will be tailored differently for our operational assets:
    - Operational worker
    - Frontline Supervisor