Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Marketing Techniques For HR

For years, Human Resources professionals have been applying the fundamental business concept of customer service to their functional area. They have found that, just like buyers of their company’s products and services, HR’s customers (employees, supervisors, and management) respond favorably to good customer-service approaches. What human resources still needs to learn is that marketing and sales principles can be equally useful in improving HR effectiveness.

What ‘Power Marketing’ Can Do?
Many HR professionals consider sales and marketing inconsistent with their customer-service responsibilities. But if you take a moment to think about it; if your internal customers don’t understand and enthusiastically buy into the services you’re providing, you’re wasting a lot of valuable time and resources, and your credibility is compromised. The fundamental tools HR uses to “market” its services are memos, meetings, newsletters, and brochures. Since there’s a captive audience, so to speak, it’s easy to think these tools are satisfactory. Yet one of the most common complaints HR hears year in and year out is that communication is poor. The reason is that HR simply doesn’t leverage the power of proven marketing techniques in day-to-day communication and business practices.

Here are just a few examples of how human resources can apply the power of marketing principles to realize amazing results:

#1 — Referrals
It is important to remember that referrals truly represent the most inexpensive, predictable, and profitable single source of growing and expanding your business. Translated to the HR arena, an obvious way to get reluctant managers on your team is to leverage your base of satisfied supervisor/manager customers by developing a referral strategy. Next, establish an expectation agreement to be sure you and your “new customers” are on the same page. Then, deliver … what you promised … on time … on budget.

#2—Unique Selling Propositions
Believe it or not, you have competitors. Identifying your company’s unique selling propositions can give you a distinct advantage in recruitment over your competitors. Attracting and retaining talent is key to the success of your organization. Learning to identify and communicate your most powerful advantages over competitors is vital.

#3—Education and Follow-Up
Your external customers want to know only three things:
What is it?
What will it do for me?
How much does it cost (in time, effort, and money)?

HR professionals often overlook this fundamental marketing principle. The typical HR approach is to develop and distribute an information tool and conclude that the job is done until it has to be revised on account of business strategy and/or federal, state, or local law changes. If your employees aren’t satisfied, they won’t be cooperative. HR needs satisfied internal customers to successfully introduce and implement new initiatives. Providing employees with consistent, frequent, and useful information is essential to lower attrition and increase retention. In other words, you can increase your chances for staffing success by improving your marketing knowledge and skills.

#4—Strategic Alliances
You undoubtedly are aware that your company has probably established strategic alliances with other organizations to maximize competitive advantages in the marketplace. You can use the same marketing principles internally to expand and enhance your own visibility, credibility, and career opportunities. The technique is simple, yet often overlooked: Develop a personal strategy to host or promote others’ ideas and get others to host or promote yours. This approach is particularly effective in organizations with multiple business operating units. HR can help facilitate strategic alliances that cut across the organization, offer win-win solutions for everyone, and make all your HR customers happy.

The Bottom Line
Clearly, introducing a marketing approach could be a very valuable way to enhance your human resources and staff development programs. The potential bonus is that it could also be customized to increase the effectiveness of your HR business practices.

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