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What is a People Company? 5 things you need to know

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Are your people your most valuable asset?

Many business leaders would say yes to this – but when it comes to the crunch, do they truly put the success of their people at the top of the list for company success, over everything else?

If so, and their workforce also believe this to be true, then that’s a People Company.

People Companies have woken up to the fact that HR is changing. The global skills crisis has led to the war for talent. Employee engagement levels have plummeted.

And, as a result, productivity is at an all-time low.

People Companies know that to win in the war for talent, they need to not just be prepared, but get ahead.

1. People Companies explained

Put simply, a People Company is an organisation where people are the most valuable asset, and where company success is dependent on their workforce being successful.

The leaders of People Companies know that nurturing their people is critical to growth.

They let their employees know how valued and important they are to success – in actions as well as in words.

This is reflected in how their employees feel about the company, and the output of their work.

In reality, however, it can often be more complicated than this to recognise a People Company.

Ask most leaders ‘Are you a People Company,’ and they would likely say yes.

Yet, our latest research surveying over 500 HR leaders, found that 55% of senior executives think their company is people oriented – with only 29% of employees agreeing.

2. People Companies are forward-thinking companies

Just as Personnel evolved to become HR in the 1980s, so HR is now changing to become a people function.

Forward-thinking HR leaders are getting ahead by automating processes to free up their teams to focus on people.

As consumers, employers can do almost anything online. They expect the same at work.

People Companies make it easy for them to do things such as book holiday and manage their teams. They use scalable, responsive, flexible people systems that give great employee experiences.

Our recent research, ‘Becoming a People Company’, supports this.

It found that fast-growth companies are performing better than others on this; typically, 80% have embraced HR automation versus 53% in lower growth businesses.

The emergence of Chief People Officers is also typically found in forward-thinking fast-growth companies such as the likes of Google, Skyscanner, Huddle and Just Eat.

Automating existing HR processes and different job titles is not enough, though.

To be a People Company, HR leaders need to design engaging experiences for their employees to excel throughout their employment journeys.

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3. People Companies design great workforce experiences from before day one

Gone are the days when companies could simply post a vacancy to a job board and wait for the applicants to come rolling in.

Now, all businesses must communicate the benefits of their brand and reputation as an employer to attract the best people.

People Companies apply consumer marketing techniques to market themselves successfully to candidates; we call this People Marketing.

But that’s just the start.

People Companies grow candidate relationships and deliver great experiences throughout the entire recruitment process.

They go beyond free lunches, great workspaces and unlimited holiday.

They know their people and what drives them – and they use this information to create an employer journey that constantly continues to energise their workforce and get the best from them.

4. People Companies don’t make decisions based on gut feel and spreadsheets

In a People Company, leaders get insight on what drives their workforce through People analytics.

Organisations can use people data to develop stronger and predictive insights about its people and motivations. These insights can then be used to make more informed evidence-based people decisions.

Furthermore, the data can be used for predictive purposes, so managers can start to understand and make decisions based on people behavior and motivations.

5. Being a People Company isn’t a ‘nice to have’ – it’s vital to success

Companies that make evidence-based people decisions, design great workforce experiences and are forward-thinking in their approach to their workforce don’t do this because it’s a good thing to do.

They know it’s because being a People Company is vital to the success of their business and growth.

And they know that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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