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The use of Personas (HR Trends 2017, 15)

11th, May 2017
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Trends in HR


Shero Hunkemoller

Relatively late (apologies!) I picked up the trend to use personas in HR. Last year I heard a story of the CHRO of Hunkemoller , Anne Jaake, in which she explained how they used the Hunkemoller persona Shero to redesign HR at Hunkemoller. Since then, I have learned about several organisations that use personas to redesign their employee journey.

Personas in HR

As HR and Marketing are growing closer together, HR finally starts to use marketing techniques. Not many organisations know their employees as good as their customers, but it is slowly changing. The use of personas comes from marketing. An employee persona is a representation in a fictional figure representing a certain segment of your employees, with comparable demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations and goals. The personas are designed based on research and data.
Based on your analysis you can design different personas. It can be one persona, who represents your core customer and employee (like the Hunkemoller Shero) or a larger group of 10-15 personas, if the organisation is large and diversified.
Personas make it easier to communicate your intentions, as people relate a lot easier to personas who can come to live, than just a series of bullet points on paper.

Personas and the Employee Journey

In another excellent Deloitte article (“Design thinking meets HR process transformation“) I found a nice graphic explaining how to use personas to redesign the employee experience (see below).

Employee Journey

You can make a simple matrix (see below), in which you mark the main elements in their employee journey for each of the personas.

Employee Journey Personas

Techie Tom and TV Tom

Life at the HR Trend Institute is simple. As we must practice what we preach, we have also done some research, and based on our data set and some focus groups, we have been able to define two typical personas: Techie Tom and TV Tom. Below a summary of their profile.

Persona 1

Persona 2The two personas at the HR Trend Institute

Will Candidates fight back?

Organisations are using personas to design the employee experience to fit specific segments. Recruitment teams are increasingly using chatbots and avatars to communicate with candidates. A question is, how candidates will try to improve their social profiles, to make a better impression. There are various fake LinkedIn profiles. Probably there is already software available (Persona creators, your personal chatbot), that enables candidates to create personas, that perfectly fit with the companies they want to work for.

Further Reading/ Viewing


Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke


HR Trends for 2017:

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.