The Book Review: `The People Formula: 12 steps to productive, profitable, performing business’ by Jane Sunley originally appeared in Training Zone
In The People Formula , Jane Sunley aims to ‘dramatically improve the performance and profitability of your business’ through the application of 12 steps which address many important business challenges. These steps address issues such as how to get buy-in from the top, driving employee engagement and delivering practical learning and development. The book is not written solely for HR professionals, but should be relevant no matter the size of your organisation, whether you are CEO, HR Director or someone in between.
What’s It Like?
What sets The People Formula apart from many of its counterparts is the no-nonsense and down to earth writing style, which at once makes the material more accessible and understandable in terms of how to pragmatically apply the advice in the real world. Each chapter is backed up with short and snappy real-life examples and advocates (“Don’t just take it from me”), with lots of space throughout for the reader to make personal notes and commitments.
The book addresses the important ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions rather than just the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, with focused and relevant statistics (for example, to highlight the importance of digitising social media in HR). There is lots of great advice offered, particularly on highlighting the importance of the employer brand, targeting culture and values and getting internal communications right by keeping it simple and not assuming all messages have been received.
Some of the main positives to The People Formula also transfer to the main criticism, which is that it attempts to cover so much ground in the 12 steps. This gives each chapter between eight to fifteen pages of content, so often at the end of a chapter it feels like great tips and advice have been offered, however it doesn’t offer much more depth in knowing how to go forward. The light and easy layout, with ample space for notes and lots of white space between chapters may also give a nod to bulking out the sometimes limited content across more pages.
The People Formula encourages focus on something often forgotten in the business world: the people (in case you hadn’t guessed that from the title!). It avoids the intangible, which is regularly associated with the HR profession. It is recommended for an excellent overview of how to get a myriad of important challenges right, but may leave the reader wanting to refer elsewhere for the nitty gritty.