What is the Perfect People Strategy?

Why do you need a People strategy?

For many companies and organisations, regardless of size, having a proper People strategy will help drive performance, grow their business, and take them to the next level.

  1. Engaged employees are driven.
  2. Engagement leads to loyalty.
  3. The best growth comes from within
  4. Connect with your people!

Do you need any other reasons?

What even is a People strategy?

It goes without saying that I believe that People are the heart of every company. A People strategy should aid the company in putting people first. Like all the company’s strategies, it underpins and enables the company to achieve.

It is a strategy built to help a company grow based on their People and talent. It drives People engagement and productivity and can be focussed on outcomes, metrics and KPIs that help to determine the success of the strategy.

Why do you need a People strategy?

Your People strategy should be an extension of your company strategy. It should be aligned and complement it. The People strategy should underpin your company’s success.

Your People strategy can add both clarity and vision on how you lead your People. This will then directly influence the results you achieve.

If you don’t have a People strategy, you could run the risk of recruiting the wrong people, poor customer experiences and poor customer retention, financial impacts, People and employee attrition, damage to employer branding and shareholder issues… to name just a few. These are all damaging on their own but destructive if combined!

How do you build the perfect People strategy?

Here’s what I think makes the perfect People strategy. I am keen to hear your thoughts.

It all starts with inspiration.  It’s no coincidence that’s what a People strategy should be designed to do – inspire people to work at their best.

It needs a purpose. It needs a vision. You need data. Even if you already have a vision in mind, it’s best to have some data that can help drive your plan. This will help you monitor how successful your plan is in the future. 

A successful People strategy begins with a vision that is aspirational to where you want to go. Then, it should be inspired by the data you have on hand.

The first step is to capture data of all kinds. Quantitative data, like those on diversity, turnover rate, sick days and more, can offer baseline insights to help build out your dataset. This can also build out your dataset in an actionable way.

Then, consider qualitative data directly from the leadership team, various team leads, and users throughout the People Team. These can be done by surveys or interviews.

In this process, it is essential to keep all methods of evaluation as consistent as possible. 

A People strategy needs to be instinctive, in that it needs to identify problems before they occur and handle them proactively. You can determine what this looks like by listening to your team. Where do you have problems and what are the solutions? Be real though. Prioritise those that will add value, allow easier processes, streamline processes, and achieve results. Set SMART targets.

It needs to be driven by People. All kinds of them… Not just the HR team. Having involvement and feedback from all different people from across the company can help invite diversity. This helps people buy in to strategy too. It allows people to see how they and their colleagues fit in to the strategy and what it can do for them. It keeps people engaged.

It needs to be visual. This helps with the communication and further engagement. This helps educate and gain further and continuous buy in. It’s important to keep people updated on achievements against the strategy; keeping people updated on where projects, initiatives and tasks are at against target completion dates.

It must factor in agility. The strategy must allow for flexibility and a need for responding to the unexpected – the COVID-19 pandemic for example! If changes are required, then adjust.

How do you achieve an effective People strategy?

Now you know a bit more about how a strong, forward-thinking, and results-oriented People strategy can help your company grow.

You may have a strategy in mind or the beginnings of one. Does that mean you’re all done? Nope, not even close!

The next points are perhaps some of the most important in the entire process.

Do we have the team to deliver on our strategy?

How do we make time to focus on the strategy as a whole?

This might look different by team or by year. It can even involve using an extended team, promotions, team structural changes, hiring externally, or more.

That said, the team tasked with delivering on your People strategy is just as important as the strategy itself. 

Then, it’s all about finding the time. HR leaders often note the tension between the work on their desk and the long-term initiatives they are seeking to accomplish.

A People strategy is not only a roadmap or a vision, but also a constant reminder. It allows leaders to remain clear on their priorities — both what you can do and what you won’t do.

A good example

An example of an introduction or first-time strategy model that I have used in the past that I think really helps, is by breaking down the People life cycle in to 3 strategic areas – Attract, Develop and Engage. 

Your action plan then sits behind these areas, and it can often be much easier to create the team that sits behind these too.

For example:

A clear message of wanting to achieve – getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time is effective. And, so to deliver this, your strategy may be as follows:


Bring your employee value proposition to life. Define and refine your employer branding. Update your recruitment and selection process. Develop your onboarding. 

An example of a task that sits behind this could be:

Review the structure of the Talent Acquisition team. Will the existing team be able to deliver against business plan numbers? Do you have the skills to deliver the model?


Embed your culture from day one. Give people the tools and knowledge to be able to exceed. Commit to ongoing learning. 

An example of a task that sits behind this could be:

Complete a survey with new colleagues on how effective their induction training was. What was the feedback? What changes could be made and by when?


Compensate. Communicate. Culture.

An example of a task that sits behind this could be:

Commit to regular employee engagement surveys. Communicate findings and communicate any transformation and changes as a result.

These areas can obviously be changed to complement your Company, but hopefully you get the idea.

Then, it’s all about executing, analysing, tracking, and adjusting — all to help your business grow based on the people you trust to help get you there.

Over to you now.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and for you to share your examples of excellent People strategies.


By Scott High, People Director

Scott High, our People Director, is responsible for the colleague life-cycle, including Employer Brand, Recruitment, HR, Learning & Development, Employee Engagement, Internal Communications and Health & Safety. He is an integral part of the senior director level team inputting daily in the direction of the business.

He has years of experience in the People engagement and talent acquisition space and is an accomplished leader who has a collaborative work ethic, driving his teams forward to achieve excellence at all levels.