People Strategy: A Driver for Long-Term Business Success. Interview with Filippo Poletti
20 November, 2023
- Let us start with People Strategy and its managerial training at the Politecnico di Milano business school: what is a strategy?
- So it all starts with a vision of tomorrow.
- You have always reflected on words in the media. In the definition of People Strategy, there is the word 'person' or 'people'. What is the value proposition of People Strategy?
- How does a People Strategy differ from simple human resources management in post-pandemic times?
- What are the tangible benefits of a well-implemented People Strategy for employees and for the company itself?
- What are the pillars of internal communication for the promotion of the People Strategy?
- What are the communication tools of the IoP or network within a company?
- You are known in Italy for the daily #RASSEGNALAVOROIT column on LinkedIn: what can companies learn for internal communication from this experience you started on 5 May 2017?
- Lastly, we read online about the forthcoming release of your book on leadership. What will it be about and who have you involved?
- Beaconforce for People Strategy: Optimise Talent Retention with AI
Human resources are a vital element of any organization and their effective management is crucial to the long-term success of any company. We have seen that it is not just a matter of hiring qualified individuals, but of maximizing the potential of each individual in the company. In this context, the People Strategy emerges as a critical element.
IIn this interview we will talk about People Strategy with Filippo Poletti, official Top voice of LinkedIn Italia, a Milanese with an executive MBA at the POLIMI Graduate School of Management (business school of the Milan Polytechnic), since 2017 he has been curating a daily column on LinkedIn dedicated to changes in the world of professions. His profile has been included by WikiMilano among the protagonists of the Italian metropolis. A professional speaker and journalist, he has collaborated with over 30 national newspapers such as Corriere della Sera, the Fatto Quotidiano labor blog and the Econopoly section of Sole 24 Ore. He deals with public relations and corporate communication. He has collaborated as an author with various publishing houses such as Baldini & Castoldi, Flaccovio and Lupetti. His books include IoP Time: Intranet of People, Grammar of the New World, MBA Power: innovating in search of one's purpose, Ukraine: grammar of hell and, due out at the end of 2023, Smart Leadership Canvas. To his credit also has various experiences as a trainer in companies, institutions and business schools.
Let us start with People Strategy and its managerial training at the Politecnico di Milano business school: what is a strategy?
The characteristics of a People Strategy are three: long-term effects, pervasive effects, impacting all company functions and, finally, effects that are difficult to reverse. Unlike tactics, therefore, strategy is about people and looking to the future: it, therefore, avoids pursuing what we can call 'short-termism', i.e. short-term results, by aiming at the sustainability of the value created for people over time. As the economist Henry Mintzberg, a scholar of business organization and author in 1994 of 'The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning', teaches, strategy is perspective, a vision of the future and an indication of the direction to be taken; it is a thread that binds the company's decisions and actions over time, it is planning and, finally, it is positioning.
Exactly. Mintzberg himself starts to illustrate the strategy from its most fascinating aspect, namely the need to have a vision of the future, of what you want to become and the direction you need to take to reach your goal. One must, therefore, have a kind of 'dream', initially undefined in its details, which, combined with a strong sense of realism in the decisions to be taken day by day, is the driving force behind great successes. Let us think, speaking of strategy, of Steve Jobs: when he returned to the helm of almost bankrupt Apple, his dream was to make it the most innovative company in the world. And so he did this by involving employees.
You have always reflected on words in the media. In the definition of People Strategy, there is the word 'person' or 'people'. What is the value proposition of People Strategy?
'Person' is a Latin word derived from the verb 'personare' or 'to resonate'. In ancient theatre, the 'persona' was the mask worn by actors on the face to amplify, through resonance, the voice. The people strategy, therefore, is such if it 'resonates' with the many voices in the company, putting them at the center: the people strategy has the same people as its 'target'. It is a tautology which, however, serves to clarify where our strategy must aim without wavering.
The pandemic has changed our value scale. We could say, as the fine book 'Regeneration' of 2023 by sociologist Gianni Bientinesi has shown, that the pyramid of needs has changed. As is well known, the hierarchical scale of human needs, proposed by Abraham Maslow, is based on the theory that all human beings have physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Well, the pandemic has brought out the importance of social needs. We have realized the importance of sharing. Hence, the People Strategy today must promote the pooling of the commitment and aspirations of people working in a company.
What are the tangible benefits of a well-implemented People Strategy for employees and for the company itself?
Putting people at the center is a winning lever at work. Research conducted by the consultancy firm Accenture, entitled 'Whole brain leadership', has shown that leading a team of people requires the exercise of left-brain (scientific) skills and right-brain (creative) skills: that is, being able to analyze business data and make results-oriented decisions and, at the same time, being able to put oneself in the shoes of others. Companies that have promoted a balanced People Strategy in this respect have seen higher average growth in revenues and profits.
Internal communication is a means to achieve something 'bigger'. For this reason, its first pillar is the support of unity for the common good. The second pillar is open, frank dialogue. The third is training for continued growth, the fourth is the promotion of well-being in the company, and the fifth and final is the development of corporate sustainability, understood in its threefold economic, social and environmental sense.
There are many, starting with the digital ones. We used to talk about 'intranets', today we talk about 'work platforms'. I like to imagine that these platforms, no matter how they are designed, are aimed at fostering 'bottom-up' and 'top-down' collaboration within the company. Alongside the digital tools, there are the traditional ones: face-to-face meetings, for example, are welcome.
You are known in Italy for the daily #RASSEGNALAVOROIT column on LinkedIn: what can companies learn for internal communication from this experience you started on 5 May 2017?
I don't know if I can teach anything. I can, however, testify to one approach to life, namely the proactive one. Every day since 5 May 2017, I have been sharing a positive or proactive insight. I am an advocate of the 'middle of the road', convinced that even when it seems to us that everything is dark, somewhere the sun shines.
Lastly, we read online about the forthcoming release of your book on leadership. What will it be about and who have you involved?
It will talk about leadership in the times of artificial intelligence. I wrote this book together with the professor of business management Alberto Ferraris from the University of Turin with the collaboration of Alessandro Zollo, CEO of Great Place to Work. Times are changing and technology is becoming more and more efficient: we need a new intelligent human leadership.
Beaconforce is an example of how technological innovation can play an essential role in implementing an effective people strategy. Beaconforce uses artificial intelligence to collect real-time data on employee engagement and performance. This allows companies to tailor their people strategy based on objective data, rather than relying primarily on annual surveys or hunches. Beaconforce helps identify team strengths, identifies areas for improvement and provides continuous feedback to employees, thus improving internal communication and corporate culture. By integrating technological innovation with a well-developed people strategy, companies can achieve new levels of success and sustainability, thus retaining top talent in the company for the long term.
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