It is the era of millennials who change jobs like they change clothes. Their patience and tolerance levels are low and job satisfaction is high on their priority list. They quit a job before they can be fired if they do not find the organization to be a great fit for their personality and needs. They are talented and companies want them, but to retain them, HR teams need to start thinking differently.
Employees in the current day quit a job because of a need gap. This need gap, much like the consumer need gap in marketing, has to be found and exploited by the HR managers. Financial benefits are not the main motivator for the current crop of employees. Flexibility in working options, self-growth and learning opportunities and modern work culture are some of the things that attract employees today. They want a sufficient degree of freedom to use their skill-sets for the organization’s goals. It is up to the HR management to understand these needs and make provisions while aligning everything with organizational objectives and goals.
This is in sync with the current needs of HR managers and recruitment firms. Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of the India based staffing firm TeamLease, says that Indian recruitment agencies are looking for people who are ready to acquire new skills. Their curiosity to learn enables them to switch between roles seamlessly; thus, making them extremely useful resources for organizations since old roles quickly become obsolete due to new technologies.
HR managers must look to develop future leaders from among the people they hire. To do this they need to create a culture that inspires value in prospective as well as existing employees. The main objective of the HR team is to portray the company as a great place to work and to increase awareness about the company among prospective employees. Even though these are marketing functions traditionally, they are in the expanded scope of HR in the current scenario.
It may actually be beneficial for HR managers to take cue from their marketing counterparts or go in for some marketing lessons themselves. Some of the things HR managers need to understand under the marketing perspective are as follows:
Talent is precious: Acquiring and retaining the best talent is the main job of the HR managers. Management courses, especially MBA, are seeing a drop in the quality of students due to mushrooming of a large number of MBA colleges. This has reduced employability of MBAs. Thus, trained talent is precious because the pool is limited and most companies are running after the same talent. Moreover, for employees that you train, the cost and time spent training them cannot be recovered and hence, it is important to retain them. At the same time, this very trained talent might be looking for further growth opportunities. HR managers must be aware of these employee needs and must arrange for and market such training opportunities that will make employees stay.
Use technology: We are in the age of chatbots and AI which are creating waves in the world of HR already. These technologies and more must be a part of how talent is recruited. Moreover, technology must be used to provide a personalised experience to applicants. Till now, most of the recruitment web-pages are clunky and the application process is cumbersome. People who are already working have less time to go through such cumbrous processes and hence, often pass up opportunities. Creating a tech interface that attracts experienced and worthy employees is a marketing strategy that HR managers must deploy. Sriharsha A. Achar, the executive director and chief people officer for Apollo Munich Health Insurance company shared some wonderful tips on the use of cognitive computing to improve HR performance.
Add the human touch: Just like brands need to have a personality for their consumers, they need to have a personality for their employees. These personality traits have to be human so that prospective and existing employees form a relationship with the company. It is easier to quit a job, it is more difficult to break a relationship. HR managers must seek to create a brand personality of their companies through various relationship and community building activities within the organization. The same can then be used to win new employees through activity or employee videos.
Make employees your brand ambassadors: Not a far-fetched idea at all as your employees know your company more than any outside agency. And some employees truly love and promote the organizations they work for. It is up to the HR team to recognize such employees and incentivize them to become the brand ambassadors of the company. Employees starting their own blogs or videos about the company are a great promotional strategy for future hires as the company gets the aspirational appeal. Employee produced content whether on their own social media or the company’s social media is one of the marketing strategies that HR teams must adopt.
Targeted ads: Targeted advertising is extremely common for attracting new customers. In the current tug-of-war scenario for best talent, using targeted ads to get the right people is a logical solution. This requires the HR managers to think like marketing managers as good employees would eventually mean more business. For example, it is common for people to search for answers to their problems related to job applications or interviews or to share their job hunting experience with their peers or followers on social media or discussion forums. It makes sense to create ads and content that can sort out these problems of job seekers. Just like marketers search for consumer needs, HR must search for employee needs and cater to the same.
Mapping employee journey: A popular trend for the past few years is consumer journey mapping. There are sophisticated tools which help marketers to analyse research data to map consumer journey. This helps in a two-pronged way. First, the consumer can be reached out to at several touchpoints in their journey; and second, the content they receive can be personalized to meet their needs. Employee journeys can be similarly mapped using sophisticated AI or big data tools and technology. Different touchpoints in an employee’s journey can thus be determined and they can be targeted in the most relevant way. For example, Belong, an Indian startup, sends personalized emails to probable candidates who may not even be actively seeking a job change. Thus, similar to how marketing uses PR agencies, HR can use software services agencies to map employee journey and market their companies.
Use social media: Social media is a great marketing tool and startups have been using this tool for recruitment for some time now. It is common for startups to float 140 character ads on Twitter or give shout-outs to their social circle on Facebook for their hiring needs. Bigger companies, however, have not fully utilized the potential of these media. Social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be used as marketing and recruitment channels in tandem. They provide a platform where the HR can promote their recruitment related content as well as place ads for positions at the same time. Another possibility that these channels provide is influencer marketing. In the age of ad blockers, it is still necessary to reach out to prospective employees. Influencers are people whom people look up to. HR managers can find such people and use them to advertise their brands.
Business is about making profits but more businesses today are looking to serve the community through innovative products and great service. Achieving this objective is not a mean feat and the single biggest hurdle is getting the right talent in and having them stay. This is the role of the HR managers and in times as uncertain and dynamic as today, the recruitment process is much more than simply sorting applications and interviewing candidates. The HR managers need to wear marketers’ hats and think like them. Using the above strategies can be helpful. Thinking like marketers requires thinking quick on the feet and being innovative and HR needs to do this today more than ever before.