An essential strategy for employers facing a talent crunch, whether as a start-up or as a large venture, is to project the organization as an employer of choice. And this is done through an extended marketing mix though HR departments usually adopt quite a different approach to solving the problem.
Employer value propositions are pitched through promotional and marketing activities to the larger labor market which is external to the organization – and this requires using a marketing mix. In contrast, the HR is concerned with employer branding with the internal work pool.
While traditionally, HR has tried to address employer branding through measures like employee job satisfaction, employee loyalty etcetera, the people in charge of branding tackle things in a different manner altogether.
How a marketing mix fits in with employer branding
The formal concept of a marketing mix consisting of the four Ps – Product, Price, Place and Promotion come into the development and execution of strategies related to employer branding. The four Ps of McCarthy were soon found to be insufficient for a true marketing mix and Booms and Bitner added an additional three Ps – Process, People and Physical Evidence to complete our modern concept of the marketing mix.
In employer branding, Process and People still remains to a large extent the responsibilities of the HR, while all the other Ps have to be handled by marketers.
Here, the employer value propositions coupled with compensation and other satisfaction of employee objectives is the product, the price sought to be obtained is the recruitment of talented employees, the place of making the offer has of course changed with the onset of the Internet and social media, as well as the nature of promotion.
Review boards and social media need to be constantly monitored and any organization trying to place itself as an employer of choice develops employer value propositions for the labor market as carefully as it develops customer value propositions for its customers.
However, the development of value propositions for potential or existent employees cannot be done without the help of the human resources department. While developing the Product for promoting an employer brand, the HR bring to the table their knowledge of people and processes and the knowledge of the needs that are most important for certain target groups of employees.
As in ordinary product marketing, in employer branding too, the target market needs to be properly segmented and different products that are aligned with the organization’s branding strategy need to be created to gain dominance in the talent market. Obviously the same package or the same offer is not going to entice a new MBA graduate targeting the position of a top executive and also an office secretary with 20 years of experience. Expectations would vary, and so the products would also need to vary, though carrying forward the same employer branding and employer value propositions.
The marketing people and the marketing mix has entered the process of employer branding more heavily than ever before, because of the way the world is changing with the internet and free flow of communications.
Since every human with access to internet have the ability to publish either good or bad things about anything it pleases him/her to comment upon, trying to become an employer of choice requires constantly engaging the labor force and using innovative concepts.
One bad review on a review board can awfully harm any company seeking to be an employer of choice, and unless someone goes into reputation management exercises, a company may lose a big competitive edge for the well-worded comment of a single disgruntled employee.
However, not everyone can be pleased at all times, and so the need for continuous brand promotion with professional marketing people becomes essential for becoming an employer of choice.
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