Why Your Organization Needs to Create Employee Personas ASAP

Your marketing department has created detailed customer personas. They know your organization’s target audience better than they know themselves. They know exactly who they are marketing your product or service to, and, just as importantly, who they are not trying to reach.

This level of detail and clarity guides your organization’s communication strategy at the highest level and impacts the bottom line in the most profound ways. But unfortunately for the majority of companies, they don’t go to the same length internally when it’s time to hire.

And this is a shortcoming of the highest magnitude.

The standard practice for hiring companies is to create job postings stating what the open positions are, the requirements to be considered for the role, and the responsibilities expected on a daily basis. These job postings are necessary for organizing the scope of the search to one detailed page, but they are not enough on their own.

Your company’s hiring managers should also be armed with employee personas to guide their search; much like the marketing department has customer personas to guide every campaign. Here’s why this is important:

Ensure Cultural Fit
Skills and talents are obviously important in candidates, but so is their cultural fit in your organization. A highly talented but difficult to work with individual won’t add as much value to the team as you’re looking for. In fact, they could be a net-zero addition or even a detraction to the company.

This is why you need a clear persona in place that can provide guidance on the cultural aptitudes needed to fit within the organization. For example, is your company’s culture quirky, collaborative and close-knit? Put that down on paper as part of the persona. A reclusive, hyper-competitive person likely isn’t going to fit well here, regardless of how talented they are.

Separate Passions From Employment Record
It can be tempting to only rely on a candidate’s resume and cover letter, but many people aren’t truly passionate about what they’ve built their careers around. It’s possible to have a long resume without actually ever viewing a job as anything more than collecting a paycheck.

If it’s important to have a passionate workforce, make sure your employee personas capture this. For example, the persona could read “Our employees are passionate about XYZ and exemplify this even outside the workplace.” Not including passions in the persona will lead to an incomplete picture of your ideal hire, making it harder to peg the right person during the interview process.

Hire the Right Strengths, Not Just the Right Experience
Does your org chart operate with an employee strength tracking system in mind, such as CliftonStrengths? If so, include the exact metrics in your personas. Two candidates may have nearly identical resumes and experience, but their strengths could be total opposites. For example, if it’s important for a new hire to rate high in strategic thinking, you can use the strengths assessment to help determine this.

Hiring without employee personas is akin to playing billiards blindfolded. Sure, you know your way around the table well enough to hit a few good shots but the entire process is shrouded in mystery. Take the blindfold off. Get detailed.

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