A good ‘Employer Branding’ strategy is HR content in a marketing way
For a while now it’s being discussed how and in which way the HR and Marketing departments’ responsibilities and tasks should overlap when it comes to the Employer Branding. There is no magic formula, but there are some tips and tricks on how to make both sides satisfied.
In the coming period, the HR departments could be growing in number, with an increasingly diverse set of positions and staff – if one can judge by the direction in which the market is currently heading. On the other hand, the marketing department is faced with a different fate – it will slowly shrink and be reduced to coordination of projects with external partners. It is in this exact midpoint that Employer Branding became the link between the two departments.
This business area is already widely present in the world, whereas it is actively developing here. But one thing is still being discussed – who has custody of it: HR or marketing departments.
For me personally, the bottom line is in the middle – I believe that EB is actually marketing with the HR framework. Why? Because it is exactly HR which is working on research and creation of the strategies, while marketing helps determine the ways of communication, channels and approach of making the information reach the end users. And that’s totally fine, I even believe that this is precisely where the importance of a well-implemented Employer Branding strategy lies.
To find out how to make this happen i.e. how to weigh the right combination of marketing and HR spices, read the text below.
WHO? WHAT? HOW? SHARE OF RESONSIBILITIES BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENTS
In this fight over the custody of creating the company’s reputation, HR is the person who assesses the target group and the factors that will be communicated. The marketing sector is there to help and guide how and in which way the information will reach the end user.
However, when it comes to creating the strategy, the key thing is the cooperation between the two departments and their shift of responsibilities from one to the other – because only joined forces can produce quality results.
The goals, therefore, should be clearly defined, the responsibilities of all team members should be determined and the most productive method of communication selected. In addition, HR needs to be more involved in the marketing activities to be able to gain an image of how communication is approached. On the other hand, marketing needs to understand the needs of HR, so the best way of implementing the EB strategy could be determined.
In doing so, all of them must constantly keep in mind one thing – in no case should they be boring, because companies today need a modern approach to content creation, far from the stale suggestions that some agencies serve them.
We can take the teambuilding activities as an example, which are organized by companies for their employees, whose highlighting is usually one of the main tools in building the EB strategy. A pretty standard event with mostly a repeating theme. However, should this really be so – standardized and with no elements of creativity? The HR in charge has to say no, because they aim towards creativity and do not follow what agencies propose to the companies.
A modern HR will approach the event with the main goal of making the participants engaged and entertained enough, and will achieve this by analyzing their target group and creating quality content accordingly. The marketing department should help with the implementation, by offering space suggestions, branding, rewards and other additional activities that aim to improve the overall atmosphere – because if marketing fails to fulfill its tasks, high quality content is not good enough on its own. Additionally, the HR will learn how to approach the realization of the idea, while the marketer will learn how to approach the implementation of internal campaigns.
HOW TO GUIDE EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION?
We’ve all noticed that until recently, that the main goal of most recruiting campaigns was the quantity of CVs received, and that the quality was filtered somewhere in the other selection rounds, right? Now, on the other hand, we have another imperative – to target and intrigue the target group with more success and more accuracy – either internally or externally.
Defining it in more detail can be elaborated by grouping certain traits possessed by a person who is suitable for our system – and the larger the system, the more groups of traits we will have which should be then categorized. This is how we create our candidate personas, i.e. profiles of the people we want to see in our ranks. And when we understand them, we will understand how we can approach them.
This is of great importance, because in accordance with the person’s preferences we can also define the way information is placed, as well as the channels of communication. I would like to single out one currently relevant example – a McDonalds’ campaign I believe you have noticed. This company has well defined its target group, the communication style and the channels through which the campaign will be led – and we will analyze this in the next few lines.
So, they have first noticed that they have been having a problem with the front line employees. Considering the high turnover, the short retention in the system, the inability to progress, the low level of motivation, they understood the essence and saw what kind of people they needed – young people, who want more, who are modern, who fantasize and who think. Identifying them seems simple while the actual problem lies in getting their attention.
This, in turn, leads us to the style of communication. McDonald’s was brave, they revised the approach and said loud and clear: “People in our restaurants probably won’t make it to retirement. Let’s offer them a different perspective and an experience that will ease their further growth and development. Through the work in our restaurant we will help them understand what is needed for the quality functioning of the system. And yes, we will be proud that they made their first steps right here at McDonald’s.” The campaign shall bring the staff who will spend two or three years in the system, but they will be high quality employees.
On the other hand, while it may seem that they went too far with their communication channels, I think they did a smart thing which added an extra value to their campaign. Reading the lines above you are aware that these are young people who spend their time on the Internet, but the coverage of the campaign in the OOH channel is also remarkable. Is this necessary? At first glance it may not be, but it offers a significant value to all those who are the object of the campaign, because it is guided in such a way that the target group can notice it everywhere.
POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES ARE IMPORTANT, BUT WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT ARE THE CURENT ONES
Creating the aforementioned high quality external EB content is important, but in no case should we neglect our employees. Their satisfaction is the best advertisement for attracting new staff and this is recognized by all stakeholders.
Therefore, even if you are in marketing or HR, do not fall into the trap thinking that EB is an externally oriented tool with the main goal to animate the external public which the company aims to win over. In order to communicate well with the external environment, we first need to get to know ourselves and our key features that we want to market outside. And how will we know what these features are – we will find out from our employees.
Finally, there is one more thing we should be aware of: the time when the company’s reputation was built on the number of employees and the amount of money which is going around is long gone. Although this is still seen as a measure of success today, the company’s reputation is being kept by the employees – their opinion and impressions are the key feature to the company itself. If we don’t know who they are, we won’t know what profile of people we need. It is necessary that we nurture both worlds in order to present ourselves in the best light.
A good quality Employer Branding comes from the inside and is seen from the outside – and this is the task of both the HR and the marketing teams.
*Interview for the portal “Netokracija”