3 reasons employee personas are a must-have tool for workplace teams
There’s a key to developing a people-centric workplace experience: employee personas.
Workplace teams are juggling more than they were before the pandemic. They have to build an experience that helps their employees thrive. They’re also challenged with making on-site work appealing to employees who’ve gotten used to working from home. If that’s not enough, they need to create a work environment flexible enough to meet all kinds of employee needs.
To be successful, your team must identify and stay hyper-focused on your workforce’s needs. That’s where employee personas come into play. We’ll show you how personas can be a tool to maximize your team’s output and create a workplace where every employee can flourish.
What’s an employee persona?
Employee personas are a set of semi-fictional characters that represent the behaviors, needs, and preferences of a group of employees. Personas are a tool for workplace teams to ensure the experiences they create are tailored to their workforce.
Personas are created based on data and interviews with employees. They tell you a lot more about your people than demographic information alone. Personas can guide your team’s work as you build a people-centric experience that supports, engages, and retains your employees.
Download this toolkit for a step-by-step guide to developing your own employee personas. Now, let’s dive into the three reasons your workplace team needs personas.
1 – They ensure you get to know your employees
Building employee personas requires your team to ask important questions about your workforce. You’ll learn who your people are—their goals, preferred working environments, communication styles, and more—so you can optimize the workplace for their needs. You’ll ask questions like:
- What frustrates you about your role/the workplace?
- How do you like to work?
- What’s your ideal work environment?
- What do you need to feel safe at work?
- What tools and technology do you need to be successful at work?
Creating employee personas forces your team to think through your workforce’s true needs instead of making guesses based on industry trends and anecdotal feedback.
2 – They make your workplace team more efficient
Efficiency is important regardless of the size of your team and organization. Even robust workplace teams are expected to get a lot done with minimal resources. Without clarity, it’s hard to know what projects to prioritize and how team members can best support one another. When everyone’s on the same page about who you’re designing solutions for, you can work better and smarter together.
For example, your workplace team may need to build out more collaborative spaces. To do this, your team may get together to brainstorm solutions. Using your employee personas as a guide, you can focus the session on ideas that support the most in-demand work environments. This will help you prioritize your team’s work by ensuring you don’t spend time on ideas that won’t address your people’s needs.
You’ll likely have to partner with other teams like IT and HR to implement the solutions. Personas will ensure cross-functional alignment on what you’re trying to accomplish. They do this by clearly defining who your audience is so you can solve them together as a team. This alignment is critical to making sure your team’s great ideas actually come to fruition and effectively address your people’s needs. Plus, when your partners understand what you want to accomplish, they can contribute ideas that make your plans even more impactful.
3 – They highlight areas for improvement and shed light on new opportunities
Finally, your workplace should be a hub for all employees to do great work. That means that two employees with polar opposite working styles can both go on-site and be productive. Employee personas are a great tool to help you see where you may need to invest more resources to build a workplace for everyone.
For example, your workplace may skew toward the needs of extroverts. It may have more collaboration spaces and fewer heads-down areas. Say one of your personas is an employee who’s sensitive to their physical environment and requires quiet spaces to be productive. You may need to create more spaces that help these folks concentrate without distractions.
Similarly, personas help you see the areas where your team may have over-invested. This is important to help you identify where you might have to right-size your investments so you’re optimizing your budget. This may mean converting areas of your workplace into a new kind of workspace that targets an underrepresented persona.
Workplace teams need to work to support their employees or they risk low employee turnout. Employee personas are a data-driven tool to help teams build a workplace where every employee wants to go to do their best work.