The Future of People Initiatives

September 22, 2022
4 min
helena lopes e3OUQGT9bWU unsplash scaled

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein

The world around us is changing faster than ever.  How does change impact CEOs?

72% are anxious about their job security

57% are fearful their company is not implementing change fast enough

Meanwhile, CEOs are the shepherds of organizational results.  Organizations may have hundreds of goals across middle and supervisor-level people leaders, however, at the executive level, there are usually 5-10 critical measures of organizational success.  

Let’s consider a few which would qualify at the executive level of attention & focus.  Revenue. Customer Service. Operational Excellence

Perhaps, there are new critical goals driven by today’s disruptive times, like:

  • Hybrid working models
  • Wellness
  • Productivity
  • Employee engagement
  • And, the one that has been top of mind recently for most organizations…turnover

The Future of People Initiatives

Let’s look at turnover as an example of a critical measure of organizational success with visibility to the CEO.  How do we keep our people? 

To start we first ask, what impacts turnover? Turns out it’s complicated.  In fact, an employee leaving a company can be seen as a summary rejection of their employee experience.

Data shows, unsurprisingly, the first critical milestone in an employee’s journey is the onboarding experience…the first 90 days, to be precise. Shorter attention spans and varying expectations combine to contribute to the new generation rejecting employers and their experiences at an unprecedented velocity.

“We focus first on the people and how we incorporate them into our company, and then we focus on how to drive the business.”  Executive Chairman and former CEO of Cisco Systems

Let’s break out the approach to improve onboarding during the first 90 days into two categories:

  • Operational change: from policy & operational processes to compensation & benefits.
  • People change: activating and sustaining change.

For our purposes, let’s focus on people-driven change. In the onboarding experience, which audiences within our organization can have the biggest impact?

  • Recruiter, by setting better expectations.
  • Managers, by improving clarity through supportive check-ins.
  • Peers, by elevating a sense of connection and belonging. 

How do we activate and sustain change?

People Initiatives Busy

The old way of thinking – People Activities.  Emails. Workshops.  Task lists.

We try to reach our people and end up adding to the constant noise of notifications & competing priorities.


“It takes a new way of thinking to solve the problems that we created by the old way of thinking” Albert Einstein

Welcome to the future – People Initiatives. When executed effectively, People Initiatives can have an enormous impact on the onboarding experience. This redefined function (not new, but radically improved) will create a signal through the noise.  This function will be responsible for moving the needle.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

But Change is never easy.  We see progressive companies begin to shift the paradigm. 

They are not thinking in terms of conventional departments or silos such as L&D, HR, Change Management, or Innovation.

Instead, they are thinking in terms of results, like turnover. 

Which internal stakeholders will be responsible for influencing turnover?

  • L&D Yes
  • Change Management Yes
  • Communication Yes
  • Innovation Yes
  • HR Yes

And of course, a critical stakeholder is Technology. It will require Technology to fully embrace its role in the People Initiatives function.  They are the gatekeepers to data needed to execute relevant and personalized initiatives.  Employee experience technologies offer the benefit of meeting employees where they are.

Ultimately, we believe the People Initiatives Function will not only become accountable for but will drive the most critical goals and successes of an organization.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates

 Top practitioners & thought leaders discuss the future of people initiatives.

The Future of People Initiatives

Adam Fridman
Serial entrepreneur, author, and speaker, Adam is a co-founder and one of the visionaries behind ProHabits. Currently, he hosts ProHabits' podcast: The Future of People Initiatives.

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