Register today to become
a Bersin guest.


A "persona" is a written description of a hypothetical person which represents a real job role or potential customer. In the case of L&D, for example, personas are used to help training professionals design programs and environments for performance improvement. 

One "persona" may be "Bob Jones, large account sales representative," for example. We would want to understand Bob's age, educational background, work experience, working environment, his likes and dislikes, his familiarity with various tools, and his general working style. We describe Bob in detail (based on real people in our organization) with a goal of creating a "representative" person who fits that person in our organization.

Once the persona is created, companies often create pictures and baseball cards of the persona, so they can be used over and over for design and discussion. When we design a new training program, for example, we might ask "Would Bob Jones understand this?" or "Would Bob Jones be attracted by this?" 

As more and more personas are created, the organization can start to study and use these personas regularly in all areas of HR and L&D design.

The development of personas is widely used in marketing and is a new and powerful tool for audience analysis.

Related Research

The Essential Skills for Talent Analytics Teams
HR & Talent Analytics | 10/02/2014 | In this bulletin, we describe the most important skills set to have on your talent analytics team and the biggest skills gaps facing HR analytics leaders today.
High-Impact Talent Analytics: Organizing and Staffing Your Talent Analytics Function
HR & Talent Analytics | 09/10/2014 | Building an effective analytics team requires a new and complex mix of skills for HR. This report describes the skills sets that will be required as talent analytics teams grow and provides examples of organizational structures that have proven to be effective.
High-Impact HR: Building Organizational Performance from the Ground Up
HR Org. & Governance | 07/24/2014 | In this industry study, we take a fresh look at today’s talent needs and showcase how our new HR architecture, comprising five high-impact HR design principles, drives overall organizational performance.
Talent Management Systems 2014: Solution Provider Comparisons and Profiles
Talent Management Tech | 06/26/2014 | This report reviews the trends in integrated talent management solutions and the solution providers that offer them.
Why Reputations and Networks Matter in the Open Talent Economy
Talent Strategy | 09/30/2013 | This research bulletin explores why employees’ reputations and networks are especially important today, the role of online tools in publicizing those employees’ reputations, and the benefit of these tools to managers and the organization.
Corporate Talent, Leadership, and HR: Predictions for 2013
Talent Strategy | 02/27/2013 | This year’s 2013 predictions webinar will highlight 15 key trends which we will see in 2013 which will define the “New HR Organization.”
Predictions for 2013: Corporate Talent, Leadership and HR—Nexus of Global Forces Drives New Models for Talent
Talent Strategy | 01/08/2013 | This year our predictions fall into three broad areas—business leadership and talent; HR technology, tools and markets; and, HR organization, strategy and leadership.
Starting Steps for Social Sourcing
Talent Acquisition Strategy | 10/26/2012 | This tool is for HR professionals and recruiters to use in beginning to add social sourcing to their recruiting strategies.
Best Practices in Social Sourcing: Recruiting Talent in the 21st Century
Talent Acquisition Tech | 05/21/2012 | This report reviews how selected leading companies are using social networks in their sourcing activities.
State Streets Content Development Guidelines
Content Development | 08/14/2009 | This model illustrates the process and elements of the content development cycle at State Street Corp.