15 Advanced People Practices for 2023

What are people practices? While they come in many shapes and sizes, they can all have a distinct effect on business outcomes. In fact, you could say they drive the success of your business through its most important asset: your people.

In this article, we want to outline the case for placing particular emphasis on people practices, the three unique phases and evolutions of them to keep in mind and how you can lay a better foundation for HR success today.

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What Are People Practices?

People practices are the HR teams’ processes, strategies and tactics to help attract, recruit, onboard, develop and retain their people. These practices can take the form of large-scale projects, key initiatives or day-to-day people management practices.

Some of the most common examples of people practices include:

Why Are People Practices Important?

Because your people are key to your success as a business. One study from Gallup found that an engaged workforce is more productive, more attuned to the needs of customers and respects processes and policies to a higher degree.

Additionally, they found that higher rates of workforce engagement correlated to 20% higher sales, 41% less absenteeism in the workplace and 17% higher overall productivity.

Strong people practices become a bridge to higher employee engagement. In fact, you could say they’re the reason they exist at all. If your practices are not driving engagement, or worse yet, becoming a blocker to engagement, you need to create or revisit them.

And, the process is simple: focus on crafting and implementing people practices that focus on each unique stage of the employee life cycle.

When employees feel like their needs are being taken into account, no matter where they are at in their career journey, they are more likely to work harder and stay longer.

The Three Phases of People Practices

While listing out every possible people practice might be comprehensive, it isn’t helpful when it comes to having an accurate and positive influence on your organisation.

Instead, we propose focusing on your people practices in three phases.

Depending on where you stand as an organisation, and your overall level of digital maturity, consider the following:

  • Foundational People Practices

  • Advanced People Practices

  • Next-Level People Practices

We’ll go through each, and provide a brief explainer, alongside some examples to really help your HR team implement a set of practices that meet the needs of your people.

Phase One: Foundational People Practices

Foundational practices are the bread and butter of your organisation. They make sure that all of your core HR processes run smoothly, while still being attuned to the needs of your people.

In short, they are the practices that “keep the lights on”.

How might that look? These practices are essential. They are what every great HR team needs, especially when it comes to making time for even more strategic work.

Foundational people practices may include:

  • Employment contracts – Templated contracts that compel candidates to sign, and make it easy for them to sign with things like e-signatures.

  • Holidays – Employees hate convoluted processes for tracking holiday leave. If they can do it from their laptop, or even their mobile phone, they will love the process.

  • Guidelines – Getting employees to read policy documents can be like herding cats. But, if all their data is saved in a profile and tied to reminders, it can be easier.

  • Onboarding – A great start is essential to the long-term health of any organisation. Your

    onboarding, at least the basics, needs to be catalogued digitally.

  • Performance reviews Performance management cycles need to be automated so employees feel recognised and rewarded for their hard work.

As mentioned, that’s simply the beginning. These are the people processes you need to have in place to run a people function that is able to maximise employee engagement.

That means that, without this phase, you won’t have any hope of graduating on to the others. In this case, it helps to have an HR software that can meet the needs of your core people practices – so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour faster.

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Phase Two: Advanced People Practices

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s go to the next level. As your people practices advance, you’ll begin to notice that they build on one another.

Take performance reviews for example. Once you have them automated and humming across your organisation, you can really focus on the content and quality of those conversations.

Moreover, you can ensure that:

  • Employees receive self-appraisals they want to fill out

  • Managers are always asking the right questions

  • Goals are being set and potentially tied to bonuses

  • Everyone has a shared understanding of how great performance looks

If your performance reviews don’t schedule themselves, you immediately lose hours of time to focus on the above. After all, how can you ensure a conversation goes well if it doesn’t happen at all? Without one, you lose the potential of the other.

So, let’s dive into some additional advanced people practices:

  • Employee Wellness – Building out a wellbeing program, like instituting self-care days (which you can then track and report on), can be a boon for employee productivity.

  • Pulse Surveys – Creating a consistent frame of reference for organisational health by actively listening to your employees. Pulse surveys can change the game.

  • Tiered Onboarding – An executive onboarding looks a lot different than an individual contributor, so if you have your onboarding sorted, you can start to build a program that properly onboards various seniority levels.

  • Learning & Development – Employee training should be on the agenda of every HR team, but you need to have the time to really build out a comprehensive L&D program.

  • Hybrid Policies – The future of work is hybrid. You need people practices that clearly outline where people can work, how they work and what your organisation expects.

As we move up the various rankings of people practices, we can start to see a common theme: time. HR teams need time to institute these programs, and they need time taken away from things like administrative tasks that normally eat up hours in the week.

At Personio, for instance, we have seen our customers save up to 80% of their time processing leave requests to give back to other topics. That could mean countless hours saved for your team, which can then be spent on value-adding projects.

Phase Three: Next-Level People Practices

Let’s talk about the big projects. These are the kind of projects that are only possible when your HR team has graduated to become an HR business partner (HRBP).

This means your processes are so strong, that your team now has the respect and time to spend at the executive table. It’s rarefied air, and it’s brilliant.

Now, your team can focus on projects that not only are aligned with business strategy but help drive revenue and have influence and say on the bottom line.

Let’s consider some of the following:

  • People Strategy – Every iconic HR team has a people strategy. This directly aligns your business strategy with your people practices. In it is a roadmap, signed off by key stakeholders, about where you plan to take your organisation.

  • Leadership Development – Leaders are multipliers, and great HR teams have the time to develop their next generation of leaders to influence future success. Building a leadership development program is a huge next-level people practice.

  • Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DE&I) – A DE&I program, formulated with thought and intention, can take months. But, it can also be a game-changer for both your talent attraction and retention efforts.

  • Business Continuity Planning – Especially in the face of a crisis, HR can really dedicate their time to figuring out what happens when the worst occurs.

  • Organisational Design – Most of all, HR earns a place at the table when it comes to the makeup and “DNA” of an organisation. They can decide where departments sit, who goes where and have a massive impact when it comes to workforce planning.

Of course, these are not all of the potential next-level people practices an HR team can pursue. But, they are the ones most often cited that lead to stronger business outcomes.

Focus On People, Not Paper

Your people practices can help your HR team and people function become better and exert more influence across your organisation. If that matters to you and your team, we’d consider covering your foundational people practices by booking a demo with Personio right now.

We can show you how our HRIS solution, specifically catered to the needs of European SMBs, can help lay the groundwork for your next great HR breakthrough.

Focus On People, Not Paper

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