Over the last year or so, I have written about the need for companies to have a clear, differentiated and articulated employee value proposition. Actually, every company already has one, irrespective of whether they formally define it or not. The question is more whether you want to define & influence the employer brand yourself or have it defined for you.
The concept of the employee value proposition comes directly from Marketing’s customer value proposition. And applying marketing tools to HR problems makes a lot of sense because employee behaviour, these days, mimics consumer behaviour. Like a consumer, an employee is always shopping for the best deal. Plenty of research data suggest that employees are willing to switch jobs as and when a better opportunity arises. We can safely say that the one-company loyalty-based career model is a relic.
And if people in the workplace behave like people in the marketplace, then we might as well borrow more from Marketing’s repertoire of tools. Getting serious about the employee value proposition and the employer brand is a great start. And as you work on developing these, you might want to consider Marketing concepts of Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning.
When applied to HR, Segmenting is the art and science of categorizing the workforce into different buckets or segments. The criteria that one could employ would be demographics, life-stages, psychographics, preferences or needs, geography etc. Through segmentation you can develop a more granular understanding of the workforce, identifying niches with specific needs / demands. Targeting would be the process of deciding which of these segments are critical to the business or where talent demands are not being met effectively. This is the part where one evaluates which segments have a high strategic impact, where are the talent shortfalls or which need unique strategies for talent attraction / retention. Another important factor to consider is whether the segments are large enough to be accessible by the employer branding efforts. Armed with a clear understanding of the workforce segments and the segments which are critical to address, one goes about Positioning the employer brand. The end objective of positioning is to enhance the talent segment’s perception about the organisation as a workplace, with a view to drive clarity about the unique ways in which the company would address the needs of that particular talent segment.
And yes, one more thing, while we are at positioning, I recall an interesting discussion with a Marketing friend who said, “A lot of people confuse employer branding execution with content creation. Like consumers, employees are not looking for content. They are looking for stories.” Great point, I think.