Building a powerful employer brand is high on the agenda of most HR Directors today, but many are struggling to get off the starting blocks, due to common constraints like lack of resource and investment, lack of tools and absence of a clear strategy with top level buy-in. Overcoming the barriers begins with taking a few initial steps to gain traction; and if successful, there’s scope to transform business results right across the board, by ensuring top talent is queuing up to join your business, while retaining your best people by making them proud.
1. Prevent wheel reinvention & steal marketing practices
Many billions have been invested globally in tools and practices that enable Marketers to get, keep and grow customers. Given HR is concerned with getting, keeping and growing employees, an untapped source of HR innovation is lying in wait.
The diagram below illustrates how marketers typically develop customer relationships.
The same thinking can be applied to developing employee relationships:
- Acquisition: we need to show up wherever talent is - perhaps on LinkedIn, blogs and other social media channels most used by our target demographic - and the perception of our employer brand must feel positive enough to attract attention and entice people to take some sort of action, such as visiting the company careers site or LinkedIn career page.
- The clearer our organisational purpose (see point 3 below), the more likely we are to attract like-minded individuals who are the right cultural fit, committed to the journey and will stick around for the long haul.
- Conversion: when they arrive on our site or decide to interact with us, the journey must be clear and compelling enough for them to decide they want to work with us.
- Retention: once we’ve won an employee, we need to give them a positive experience and deliver against expectations, in order to prevent them leaving.
- Upsell/cross-sell: we then have an opportunity to grow the employee by offering them more development opportunities.
- Referral: if we do a good job of all of the above, the employee will feel so positive about working with us that they tell all their friends, family and social networks, kick-starting the the whole process by feeding more people into the top of the employee funnel.
Organisations are increasingly measuring employee advocacy, stealing customer metrics, to apply to HR. A current example of this is Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), which measures how likely employees are to recommend your company to friends and family.
Marketers focus heavily on increasing customer engagement, ultimately to impact revenues - or in other words, to determine the health of the funnel - through measures like reach (how wide an audience you’re touching) and interactions with that audience (e.g. retweets on Twitter, likes on Facebook, shares on LinkedIn) - often referred to as engagement. HR should be following suit, focusing on engagement much earlier on in the employee lifecycle, to maintain the health of the employee funnel; and therefore prevent strategies from failing due to talent management shortcomings.
The vast majority of all business strategies created are never executed. Given today's tough landscape, with increasing competition and the challenge of continuously having to do more with less, it's vital that HR helps prevent this waste by ensuring a strong pipeline of talent is in place to implement strategies, a key cause of change program failure.
Marketing offers a ready-made language, toolkit and set of metrics all geared up for optimising a journey that starts with inspiring people to take some kind of action, then enabling them to achieve a goal that's mutually beneficial.