EP 78: Cultivating a People Strategy In Your Organization

Cultivating a People Strategy In Your Organization

What does it mean to have a people strategy? And how does this strategy affect business results? Danielle Diel is a member of the Elevated Talent team, and she’s here to share how to design your organization around your people so you can meet organization goals and have fun at the same time. 

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • How the people strategy is different from the HR strategy. (2:30)
  • The key piece to ensuring accountability within organizations. (16:10)
  • The definition of a “people strategy.” (20:40)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Align the HR strategy, the people strategy, and the business strategy to get the business results. (22:30)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Encouraging trust, authenticity, and accountability elevates everyone on the team. (21:35)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“The HR strategy is the sheet music. The people strategy is making sure you have the appropriate musicians in the right seats to hit those notes.” - Danielle Diel Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to talent optimization my name is Tracy Scherck and with me today is a member of our team Danielle Diel welcome to the show.

Danielle Diel: Thank you i’m excited to be here.

Traci Scherck: yeah So today we are talking about how we design the ideal teams inside of our organization, how we truly design our organization.

Traci Scherck: So that we are optimizing the people inside the organization so something fun is, we will absolutely be having members of the Danielle Diel on the podcast and much more regularly so Danielle, thank you for kicking this off with us.

Traci Scherck: um so as we talked about design today, you know and ensuring that we’re executing those key things that we need to to meet the business results we’re essentially looking at what is our people strategy.

Traci Scherck: And how that people strategy bridges, the business strategy to the business results so Danielle what’s the people strategy.

Danielle Diel: What is a people strategy, it’s looking at the people that are within your organization and that you want to bring into your organization and looking at them from a whole person perspective from a strategical standpoint.

Danielle Diel: You know, using behavioral assessments things like that, so we use, you know, obviously the predictive index and using those tools to look at people as more than just you know their job functions but who they really are.

Traci Scherck: Right, you know what’s interesting so a lot of people define people strategy as the set of practices that determine how you attract retain and grow your employees in order to best accomplish your company’s mission.

Traci Scherck: You know, so when you look at that people strategy, the key thing about the people strategy is that it is distinctly different from your HR strategy right.

Traci Scherck: So your HR strategy is all of these tactics where’s the people strategy is how are we orchestrating this whole thing together so like, if you think about this conductor at the front of the orchestra that’s you know kind of.

Traci Scherck: Conducting where things are going versus you must play this note when and here and how that’s a key distinction to this people strategy.

Danielle Diel: Yes, yes, so I like to think of it if you’re using the conductor metaphor right.

Danielle Diel: The HR strategy is the sheet music right that’s what we’re following to get this in place, but you know the people strategy is making sure that you have the appropriate musicians in the right seats to hit those notes right so.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely.

Traci Scherck: So with that you know we’re looking at the function and you know we’re at in order to do that, so when we’re designing our teams it’s really looking at and ensuring that, from an HR perspective, we are on that same page as the executives right.

Traci Scherck: And so you know if you’re in an HR function inside your organization, I want you to really think about and ask yourself do I know what the most important priority is of my CEO my CFO and the C suite

Traci Scherck: and am I talking that same language and align to it, because what we’ve so often find is that there’s a misalignment between.

Traci Scherck: What HR believes needs to happen and what the C suite believes needs to happen and those things need to be 100% lockstep together in order to really move those things forward and.

Traci Scherck: And so, with that you know when we talk about this this people strategy what we know is that every business problem is a people problem and what we’ve been hearing about over the last you know year is.

Traci Scherck: We can’t find the right people we can’t get the right people to perform we can’t promote the right people we’re losing people guess what those are all business problems because you’re not able to produce the key things, but there are people problems, and how can we do that strategically.

Danielle Diel: Right right and that piece that you stated, about really understanding what the goals are right of our higher level of the organizational as a whole is so important.

Danielle Diel: And I think it’s so easy, especially because we see so many parts of the organization to assume that we know and not have those deeper conversations saying what is our ultimate goal here right, what does it look like.

Danielle Diel: And how do we align this yeah.

Traci Scherck: yeah you know and it’s taking the vision, which is where we want to go with the bigger picture aligning that to the business outcomes and then taking the people data and saying hey, how do we bring that.

Traci Scherck: That vision to reality through data and guess what every single one of you has people data at your fingertips, sometimes that people that is really hard to kind of.

Traci Scherck: get your hands on and that’s why we love predictive index, because we were were able to say this specific job needs these specific skill sets and traits to it, based on.

Traci Scherck: You know, natural behavioral traits and guess what this is what that person has so we’re looking at what does the organization need, what does the job need and then.

Traci Scherck: What does the person need, and we want to match those three things together so we’re matching it together by fits her role we’re matching it together by fit to the team, what does the team needs so, for example, you know.

Traci Scherck: As you know, Danielle you and I are both individuals that are pretty independently driven now you have a bit more detail orientation and hitting deadlines on time and not saying they’re negotiable, but I do.

Danielle Diel: I do, I love my rules.

Traci Scherck: Yes, I know I know you do and that’s what I love right so it’s like if there’s things that are really detail oriented.

Traci Scherck: Instead of me turning myself into a pretzel I might say hey there’s this part of what we need to do, Daniel can you take this, because then we’re turning up your strengths versus me saying I need to mitigate my weaknesses.

Danielle Diel: Yes, yes, I mean it’s amazing when you really dig into it and you understand, and you learn more about the strengths and weaknesses, you know.

Danielle Diel: are learning opportunities right of people on your team it’s it’s like a magic wand.

Danielle Diel: And so often, especially when we’re talking about people data right we’re looking at the turnover we’re looking at what has, you know what is our hiring rate been.

Danielle Diel: And we can get lost in those numbers and not understand the people part of it, or if we as HR people understand Okay, this is a people problem we don’t know how to quantify that to bring it to those higher levels and say this is where we need to focus our efforts.

Danielle Diel: And that’s why I really like tools like predictive index, and what we’re building here, because that gives us the tools to explain better and say.

Danielle Diel: Based on this data right, this is what it’s showing us, we need to train more in this, we need to align people to these positions, a little bit more um and it’s really it’s really cool how it works.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and if you are looking for a case study on this we I had a conversation with.

Traci Scherck: janine winner from black Hawk bank and the podcast number is 27, and so what Jeanine was able to do and i’ll give you a.

Traci Scherck: Quick cliff notes on this is their sales teams within their banks were competing with each other internally versus competing with outside things.

Traci Scherck: So what they did is they designed their teams to be pods.

Traci Scherck: versus all individual out for themselves and what happened was the individuals that were really, really great at making the cold calls and doing the networking things we’re not great at the follow through and the follow up.

Traci Scherck: So you’ve got like this in in your face kind of way sales folks that are amazing at that.

Traci Scherck: And then you have the folks that are amazing on the on the back end at the email and the seals and the text and whatnot when you pair those together guess what you turn both of their strengths up.

Traci Scherck: And so, when we can design those teams in that way we can make some huge traction now I use that in a sales team example, the same thing can be said for project management.

Traci Scherck: Right, and I think that here’s a really good point to say you know so often when we’re designing our organizations we’re stuck in you know the 1960s organizational chart you know, and if you think about.

Traci Scherck: brave new work by Aaron dig them, you know he talks so much about designing our teams and what that looks like and there’s a different way that we can really design our teams.

Traci Scherck: And really looking at the power of projects and when we look at the power of projects every project has a beginning.

Traci Scherck: Has a middle has an end were aligning to that project we’re measuring it and then we’re debriefing that project, you know So what if we were to look at the individuals in our organization say we’re could you play on a project team.

Danielle Diel: Right right and it’s interesting because with the way that our workplace has evolved so often it’s not just one department working on a project we’re all working interconnected Lee on.

Danielle Diel: These things anyways it’s just that we don’t look at them as formal projects right, but if we were to formalize it it’s a lot easier to.

Danielle Diel: to pull in the right people in the right seats on that and drive that project forward even faster.

Danielle Diel: You know I think of how much of what I have done aligns with you know other departments and usually you’re waiting on something from somebody else you’re looking for something for somebody else.

Danielle Diel: And when you can pull it, and when you can pull it in into an actual project, then you can identify Okay, this is our goal right.

Danielle Diel: These are our checkpoints, this is what each of our roles are and how they align with each other and it’s great because then you’re playing to everyone’s strengths, you know.

Danielle Diel: it’s not always the same people on the same project, you can you know mix it up, and you can change it up, so the people.

Danielle Diel: Are energized right there they’re reinvigorated because it gets to do different things still within their role right and they’re they’re getting that excitement and then you’re also building those connections between departments yeah.

Traci Scherck: You know, and I was talking with a colleague earlier, and she will be on the podcast coming up.

Traci Scherck: Her name is Lisa even and Lisa stated, we were we were kind of debriefing us specific situation and I was chatting about you know.

Traci Scherck: hey I was working with a client on a on a situation where an individual was not happy in the role that he was hired for.

Traci Scherck: And so, you know as we’re brainstorming this and saying hey like maybe there’s some other things you can do, but you still have to get your core job done she’s like Tracy I use this thing and it’s called crappy to happy like.

Danielle Diel: Tell me about.

Traci Scherck: The happy right and she’s like well here’s the deal crappy to happy, it is even you know we all have to do tasks that we feel are crappy and you know, in this situation, I was sharing it was hey we’re designing all these things, and you need to.

Traci Scherck: Create worksheets and Edit a word document and he’s like this is crappy work and i’m going.

Traci Scherck: Well it’s really, really important work because it ties directly into you know what we’re doing as an organization and how we serve our clients and it’s incredibly important.

Traci Scherck: You know So how do we pair the crappy work with the things that will light us up that will allow us to move that forward.

Traci Scherck: You know so some of the says hey you have to do crappy work sometimes or that you deem crappy but the other side of this is there’s times, where someone else on your team is really happy doing that work and when we can.

Traci Scherck: turn up the strings we can really you know align those things, and another thing I want to share so amy stalker who’s been on our podcast a couple times, and this is episode number 24.

Traci Scherck: You know, one of her quotes was everybody has strengths and weaknesses, nobody should be ashamed for their weaknesses, yet at the same time.

Traci Scherck: We need to align individual strengths, with what the specific job needs and it doesn’t mean that you can’t move people around you absolutely can, but you also cannot do it at the cost of getting.

Traci Scherck: That project done, especially when that’s what you hire them for right so.

Traci Scherck: This is what we call it fit gap analysis right like where’s where’s the amazing fits and where’s the gap for the job and then also on the team, so this is how we design that using data to get us our highest level results in our most fulfilled employees.

Danielle Diel: Yes, yes, and I think that fulfillment is key, because right, one of the buzzwords we’ve been hearing for years burnout and I can always tell on days that i’ve been spending too much time and things that don’t light me up right.

Traci Scherck: Because I did a me, oh no.


Danielle Diel: just an example right totally not based in real life at all.

Danielle Diel: Right, you can tell, at the end of those days, because you’re just you’re wiped out right you’ve done the same hours of work that you normally do you’re like oh my God, I can like I I can’t even lift my head right I don’t make me think about anything else i’m done.

Danielle Diel: um and then I can tell the days that i’m doing things that really align with my energies and really get me going because you know I feel energized you feel excited I could work for like 15 hours straight and be excited and be happy about it.

Danielle Diel: Right, you know it doesn’t feel like work and when you’re building teams like that, where people can really use their strengths.

Danielle Diel: that’s what you’re gonna get and you’re going to reduce burnout you know and even when they do get stuck doing the crappy work they still have that.

Danielle Diel: it’s not like that’s going to be there every day right they know Okay, this is just this project, this is just this portion of it once I get done with this, I have these other things that I can focus on.

Danielle Diel: um and, by the way, I really hope that Lisa like does something with our crappy to have.

Traci Scherck: That is a nice yeah yeah she she definitely does.

Traci Scherck: So with that i’ll be right back.

Traci Scherck: I think, as we designed for the future right so like we’ve just given a couple examples of saying like hey you know what you’re brought into this role, you know.

Traci Scherck: These 75% is great So how do we start up leveling the folks inside of our organization for what the future looks like it could be your organizations growing and you’re going to have new positions, opening up.

Traci Scherck: It could be that you have a really established organization with some really key structures to move them through it.

Traci Scherck: So with That being said, there is some up leveling of individuals So how are we designing individuals and designing our leadership in our conversations.

Traci Scherck: So that we can ensure that we have the people internally available for the positions as they open, yes, that could be retirements yes, that could be as people leave, but it could also be based on.

Traci Scherck: where’s the organization going and growing and do we we meaning our employees know what winning looks like that we can you know have those really critical accountability conversations.

Danielle Diel: Right right and a key piece of it in building that culture right that allows for that.

Danielle Diel: is having those systems in place and making them actual documented systems right, this is how we share this knowledge.

Danielle Diel: And having somebody document that knowledge doesn’t have to be in a super formal document right.

Danielle Diel: um but that’s what I run into so often is that, yes, we have our SOP’s, and even if you have those in place you don’t have a system for that more informal knowledge.

Danielle Diel: So when people are kind of passing the baton it’s falling through the cracks and sometimes that’s, the most important thing.

Danielle Diel: or sometimes you have people that they’re not comfortable sharing that tribal knowledge.

Danielle Diel: Because they don’t feel safe right they don’t they don’t trust the organization that they can share that information, and you know not still feel valuable.

Danielle Diel: there’s so many pieces that go into it, but I think really just building those formal systems and really making it a part of everything that you do every day.

Danielle Diel: Well i’m going to share this with you right, I think this is really important information for you here’s some documents to back it up.

Traci Scherck: yeah sure for sure, and so much of this is how do you bring fun into your team, so that your team naturally can connect together.

Traci Scherck: And you know for us here at elevated talent like fun is one of our core values, you know, and we have the core products and services that we’re offering.

Traci Scherck: You know design is one of those it’s a four week program we’re going to work with you on how do you design that in your organization by specifically looking at your people strategy your team strategy, the power of projects and then.

Traci Scherck: Designing for the future right so those four modules and how do you design.

Traci Scherck: For your organization and then using people that in order to do that, like, but if if our team isn’t having fun doing it, then we have no business doing it.

Traci Scherck: And you know as Daniel said it said earlier, when I said hey was one of those days today we’re like it wasn’t fun, because you were doing a lot of like Eo one reporting or something like that she’s like yep.

Traci Scherck: So how do we align our best in our highest selves with the best work that actually lights us up brings us that joy and gets us the business results as an organization.

Danielle Diel: yeah yeah absolutely you know and that’s The thing is like having fun with each other and those off moments that’s build that trust to write like a trust is built in those small moments.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely absolutely and I think the other thing is, you know you keep talking about structures, Daniel.

Traci Scherck: And one of those things, I challenge anyone listening in is are all your communications still in one to one emails or do you have teams or slack chats.

Traci Scherck: That you know the whole group has access to or you’re getting away from the one on one communications and you’re bringing it into communications.

Traci Scherck: Because, then that that institutional knowledge is there for anyone new that comes on to the team that they can actually go back through that and it’s not stuck in someone’s one on one email or one on one teams or slack chat.

Traci Scherck: And so, those are areas where as we’re designing our strategies and as we’re designing our teams What are those systems and how we design that in our organization, I will tell you, not a strength of mine but there’s certain things.

Traci Scherck: That are really important with that that come into this for individuals to be incredibly incredibly.

Traci Scherck: up-leveled and to bring on new staff or new team members in a way that they can get in and kind of hit the ground running.

Danielle Diel: Yes, yeah absolutely absolutely and I think that’s what’s so great about having you know that team dynamic right most project teams to because you get that interaction in that.

Danielle Diel: Sometimes you’ll get knowledge from somebody that you never thought that they would have an understanding of that, and you know they say something that really hits it for you and your you know it makes you realize oh I knowledge is everywhere and or in our organizations, you know.

Traci Scherck: yeah for sure so and i’m gonna quote this in this is from the same lattice article and we’ll put the same lattice article in the show notes, but one of the things that I love here is this distinction between people strategy versus HR strategy right.

Traci Scherck: So when we kind of cycle this back around and I just want you to think about this, if you say yes, I have a people strategy i’m raising my hand that here’s how they define the people strategy, enabling employee growth.

Traci Scherck: Improving the employee experience, establishing a feedback culture nurturing respectful communication fostering diversity equity and inclusion and responding to workforce needs that’s your people strategy right.

Traci Scherck: versus an HR strategy is the recruiting it’s building on board and payroll processes it’s managing employee databases, you can hear the distinction here.

Traci Scherck: Is we’ve got tasks versus the overall strategy, yes to HR strategy is incredibly important and must be built into that people strategy.

Traci Scherck: But there are two different things that are going to be running in tandem, and if you want a really good HR strategy we build a lot of that into our higher program, which is our six month program that really goes through, how you build an HR department from the ground up.

Traci Scherck: So with that Danielle i’m super curious what’s a key takeaway that you have for our executives listening in today.

Danielle Diel: Well, you heard me say it a couple of times and.

Danielle Diel: I think that one of the key takeaways from this is that designing a successful team is so important for organizations and the health of them as a whole.

Danielle Diel: But one of the most important elements of designing a successful team is building that trust and that sharing into your culture as an organization and really it starts, you know it starts from the top.

Danielle Diel: And just making people feel comfortable with who they are, and you know comfortable the Briton their authentic selves into the workplace.

Danielle Diel: And you know building that trust.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and one caveat that I just want to add to that is when you do that with a high level of accountability and what winning looks like it elevates everyone on the team.

Danielle Diel: Yes, yeah and I think that that takes us into what’s our key takeaway for our hr.

Traci Scherck: You know, professionals listening in today and it’s aligning those HR strategies with the people strategy kind of with that business strategy to get those business results and understanding what those things are.

Danielle Diel: yeah absolutely

Traci Scherck: So if you are curious and interested in our design program and you know how you design that, for your organization, we will have that information in the show notes.

Traci Scherck: Our design program it’s a four week training program where we will have a couple implementation calls with our team specifically Danielle and myself, and we will love to get to know you.

Traci Scherck: and get to know a little bit more about how your team is designing and and how we can support that so that every individual is fulfilled in the work that they’re doing while meeting their business outcomes.

Traci Scherck: So with that I hope you all have a great rest of your week.