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Being a Person ≠ People Strategy


Rick Beaton  •  Published on Sep 15, 2021  •  4 min read

We are living through one of the greatest changes in societal culture and the workplace since the 18th century. Covid-19 and the many social movements have been a powerful accelerant and pushed us into what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Era of Talent

In this new era talent is both king and queen. Today, work itself is more complex, rooted in knowledge and concepts, demanding collaboration, creativity and innovation. Admittedly, this has been hard on businesses and leaders, particularly in a remote/hybrid context. Employees seem less willing to return to the status quo, where leaders treat them however they want to, as though they should be grateful to have a job. The power dynamic has changed. Organizations are scrambling to keep up.

Today, work itself is more complex, rooted in knowledge and concepts, demanding collaboration, creativity and innovation.

The market has responded to this crisis with confusion and an increase in HR events, surveys and analyses, repackaging and automation of outdated best practices, coaching, and rehashed ideas from the past several decades. Despite this urgency, employee related data demonstrates problems remain unsolved and increasingly an issue. Understandably, many HR leads are unsure of how to proceed, as people matters directly impact the business.


At some point, we have to admit that the surveys, software patches, and advisors are not leading to new work practices and employee satisfaction. For all the noise in this space, there seems to be very little positive change in what matters.

Senior leaders have a blind spot. They have a difficult time seeing their own role in this issue and they have adopted the strategy of tossing it to HR to fix. But transitioning to new eras demands more than just a single patch or fix. As an overused quote from Peter Drucker affirms, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday's logic.”

Transitioning to new eras demands more than a single patch or fix.

New Foundations

People are astonishingly complex and need to work in an ecosystem designed with people in mind. Because of this complexity, the starting point should be research into what people actually need and based on legitimate expertise. We need new ideas and practices to resolve these issues. This inherently involves a systems change designed from the ground up to match that complexity, one that is simple to implement and build on.


At Motis we believe in research over opinion and tested replicable practices rather than isolated anecdotes. This is why during times of disruption and turbulence, our customers have come to trust us in such a noisy space.


Here are five essentials to build out a robust people strategy that can flex with these turbulent times we live in and will continue to live in:

  1. Maintain a disciplined commitment to a core of essential practices correlated to produce the desired outcome--a robust, high performing human ecosystem. Fads, virtues, good ideas, or atomistic research reports will not fundamentally improve the system.

  2. Establish and enforce these core practices for everyone (the Universals). To scale people strategy, every organization must work hard at mastering two dimensions (Universals) that every employee needs to be successful in any context.

    • First, clarify and embrace this core of essential behaviors and measure them regularly. Research demonstrates that there are 8 behaviors that, when reinforced and practiced, will dramatically shape the organizational system and individual behaviors.

    • Second, establish and maintain professional career paths linked to skills, levels, and potentially salary bands, for every role in the organization.

  3. Work at personalizing the employee experience. This means knowing and understanding the capacity, preparation, and potential for each individual employee. Then create individual professional development portals into the universal career pathing model. This has been virtually impossible for organizations that have scaled based upon a one size fits all approach to people. It is now possible with our application Motis Grow.

  4. Review and reconsider the tech stack for HR. Most businesses have 3-5 applications. And yet 90% still need to use a spreadsheet or doc to make it all work. HR Tech stacks today make it a challenge to adopt a people strategy systems approach. Instead, adopt a platform designed for complex human systems, rather than adding functions to updated clunky legacy HR systems.

  5. Adopt models that are based upon how people actually function, not on how business wants them to function or conventional past ideas believe they should. E.g., our brains are not like computer chips, and people are not like machines. We are organic beings and we are just beginning to understand how our brains work. Work flows and expectations should align with the strengths and limitations of our brains, social systems, etc.

Like financial literacy and practice throughout the organization, learning, practicing and revising in light of  these five people elements will help to create an ecosystem that is both good for people and business.


It is time to place people literacy and practice alongside financial literacy in business. Relying on intuition, affinity, and good will simply will not cut it any longer. The world is now too complex and people are too complex. There are answers. We now know much more about people than we did even a decade ago.


The good news is that there is a simplicity on the other side of the complexity. 


To find out how to achieve simplicity, contact our sales team at


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