How creating Employee Personas could help win top talent

brooke cagle WHWYBmtn3 0 unsplash scaled 1 | How creating Employee Personas could help win top talent
By Paula Smith | 30th August 2022 | 7 min read

How important is it to create employee personas?

In a competitive market, reaching and securing your ideal candidate can be an arduous process. With very few active job seekers for every live vacancy, as an in-house recruiter the primary focus needs to be on optimising your attraction techniques and perfecting your adverts so that they appeal more than other opportunities laid before your target audience.  

Just as organisations create buying personas to understand their customers, building an employee persona can help recruiters to create the ideal job advert and focus the content to reflect the desires and objectives of the most sought-after job seekers.  

What is an Employee Persona?  

An employee persona is essentially an outline of your ideal employee and will allow you to understand the relevant behaviours, needs and preferences that need to be considered when recruiting.  

Every aspect from your job advert needs to be carefully crafted to ensure that your processes are tailored to their specific characteristics.  

How to create an employee persona 

Whilst you should not necessarily guess the types of personas within your workplace, you will possibly be aware of some of the key traits and personalities of certain teams or departments. However, the best way to create an employee persona is through qualitative and quantitative data.  

Your Equal Opportunities Monitoring information may provide you with an initial overview of the demographics of employees across your organisation, but it takes time and commitment to create detailed employee personas.  

You will need to survey your employees and ask closed questions to obtain hard facts and conduct group or one-to-one focus meetings to help you determine the reasons and motivations for the answers given to your survey.  

It is also suggested that watching employees within their work environment will also help you to understand the levels of engagement and interaction across different departments etc.  

What changes do you need to make to your recruitment strategy?   

Once you have an understanding of both the what and the why, you need to look at how your job adverts reflect this information. Do you use the correct tone of voice? Do you use the male or female-dominated wording? Do you sell the role in a way that appeals to your ideal employee?  

A recent report The Great Renegotiation and new talent pools | McKinsey: provides a snapshot of 5 potential employee personas.  

The Traditionalists - career-orientated individuals who are generally the most loyal to their current employers and less likely to leave a role without something lined up. This kind of potential talent is looking for a sense of security and a long-term opportunity but will be enticed with traditional benefits such as an increased salary, bonus opportunities, health insurance and pension funds, etc  

 The do-it-yourselfers - these are the ones who ideally would want to work for themselves and be their own boss, so whatever role you are offering needs to be positioned as something that this better than what they can offer themselves. A regular and dependable salary, team support and an office environment might be key influences when appealing to this kind of audience.  

The Care Givers – often caring for children, parents or even themselves, this pool of talent are looking for more support than most traditional employment offers and although salary is a factor, they are also looking for opportunities that offer workplace flexibility, employee well-being and career development.  
❹ The Idealists – typically students and part-time workers, this group of potential employees are not typically lured by financial compensation but by corporate culture and the offer of a meaningful place to work.  
❺ The Relaxers – people who may have retired but could be tempted to return to work under the right circumstances, even when financial compensation is no longer important. For this audience you could focus on being part of a team but also the flexibility to work around their own preferences.  
However, the above groupings are very broad, and you will find that can categorise your employees in many ways. As in-house recruiters this requires combining the attributes of employees you already have and those that you seek to make your organisation more diverse and successful.  

Creating a simple framework to work from will help formulate your findings in an easily digestible and focused manner and ensure that every advert can be amended to achieve maximum success.  

Here are our 5 key tips for crafting the perfect advert.  

  • Consider the role you are recruiting for and the type of person you are looking to attract 

For example, are you looking to attract recent graduates or school leavers or are you looking for an experienced senior director? Do you need to attract more females to currently male-dominated roles or do you need to improve the diversity of your workforce? 

Does the person you are looking for fall into one of the 5 example employee personas outlined by McKinsey? 

  • Look at the individual characteristics of your target audience.  

What are the common characteristics of your current workforce? Consider what age bracket they fall within, how far they commute, how they commute, what financial commitments they have, and how long they have been with the business to understand the kind of person you will be looking for.  

  • Outline their goals and motivations.  

Looking at the surveys you should have a clear understanding of the primary goals and motivations of each team and what kind of opportunity will appeal to them and others. What benefits will be a top priority? Are they the type of employee that craves an office environment or are they looking for flexibility and a remote working position? Will Maternity packages or Pension funds be what they are looking for or are they more likely to be attracted by skills training and career development, or social events? 

  • Key frustrations 

What key frustrations does your current workforce have? What will new hires be looking to overcome? Are they currently working weekends and looking for a Monday-to-Friday opportunity? Are they stuck in a rut and need to upskill? Will they be struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills?  

  • Create a mini statement that combines the results of your survey and the type of person you are looking for.  

For example:  

Maggie is a middle-aged recruitment manager who enjoys the flexibility and the opportunity to work from home. Her children are grown but she may shortly need to start caring for her parents. She lives in a semi-detached/detached house and uses a car for transport so would not be reliant on public transport. She works in a fast-paced environment, so upskilling is an important aspect of her job. She has a mortgage and enjoys luxuries such as eating out and going on holiday etc.  

Mike is a recent graduate with a large student loan debt. He is currently still living at the accommodation he shared during university but is willing to relocate for the right role. He currently does not have the space to work at home so is looking for a corporate working environment and is looking for an organisation with a strong stance on sustainability. He does not have a driving license so will be reliant on public transport.  

Steph is a senior director who has a no-nonsense approach and is extremely results driven. She has had a remarkably successful career. Steph is very hands on and will be looking for a corporate office environment where she can share the wealth of knowledge and experience, she has acquired. A longer commute will be considered for the right salary – with traditional benefits and the opportunity to support a business being top priorities.  

From these simple statements, it is easy to determine, what kind of person you are trying to appeal to and the kind of things that they will be looking for in the advert.  

For more information on creating a tailored approach to your recruitment strategy check out our IRIS networx solutions.