No Image Available

John Dell'Armi

Read more from John Dell'Armi

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Book review: Purple Your People by Jane Sunley


Who wouldn’t want and need their organisation to be as successful as possible, asks the author.

In the opening chapter, “The people stuff - why it matters”, the 2011 research of Purple People indicates that 100% of business leaders say you need a people plan but a third of organisations don’t have a plan at all.

This is all about building the case for a people strategy.

Who is the book useful for?

For me the appeal of this book is that it gives anyone in charge of people strategy a road map to follow with lots of practical tips and suggestions. 

So an SME would benefit? Yes they would but I also think it would be invaluable to an HR Director or OD practitioner in a large corporate because it acts as a checklist for all the things you should be doing to ensure you get the best out of your people.

What I like about this is book is that it is easy on the eye. Not too many words and lots of pictures. A self help guide for a people champion. You can read it in 60-90 minutes depending on how fast you read. I like the 'If you only do three things' graphic at the end of each chapter.

How to use this book?

Read it, share, scribble on it, steal the ideas in it but above all else make it happen says the author, and you know what, she is right.

The book talks a lot of common sense and implores organisations to manage their reputation because in these internet times you can’t hide “this is really what it is like to work here reality” versus what the corporate glossy brochures say.

This is all about being an employer of choice and making good on your people promise and there are some pragmatic ideas on how to do this on page 16. You measure your reputation by the number of unsolicited applications/CVs you get if you are a great place to work.

If you go to the contents page you are sucked in by the simplicity and engaging chapter titles such as the Big E (employee engagement) or the Departure Lounge. The Departure Lounge is all about accepting that people will leave and how to manage that process in a positive way and how to harness the learning opportunities on both sides.

“A lot of people are put off by the term employee engagement so the Purple approach is to call it the big E to make it more welcoming. Whether you employ 5 or 500 people the big E is going to have a big impact on your business performance. The big E must be compelling, relevant and exciting to your people. Most of all it must be clearly and concisely communicated” Communication is a big driver of the big E and the longest chapter in the book is devoted to the big C but employees normally only score internal communication 5/10. The big C chapter gives tips on how this can be done whilst Chapter 10 is all about how to capture the power of your people by gauging their mood and temperature.

The Halfway Man, chapter 11, tells the story of the CEO who loved business books. His office walls were lined with shelves spilling over with them. He read every title he could get his hands on but he only ever read the first half of each book, so everyone called him the halfway man. He figured he’d read enough to get the message and introduce new ideas and initiatives.

Not being a halfway man myself, I did finish the book. If you want to know how to “get stuff done” (Chapter 15), or find out about why “the Generation Game matters” (Chapter 20), you’ll have to buy the book.

Invest £12.99 and up to 90 minutes to see if you are on track to Purple Your People, which by the way is published by Crimson Publishing.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!