Marketing HR

I recently had a senior-level human resources professional ask me for creative ideas to market and showcase the value that the HR team provides. This executive went on to say how he was fortunate enough to work for a company in which HR works in close partnership with Operations. However, he thought they could do a better job of marketing their successes and accomplishments.

This is a great topic for HR folks, so pay attention…

If you’re really serious about it, approach the marketing effort strategically as would any business.

First, determine your market. This is absolutely the most critical step. It’s unlikely that your primary market is a bunch of employees, unless you are solely a employee relations and benefits provider. In fact, if you still believe you are there as a simple resource for employees, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog. You’ll just get frustrated.

Your primary customers may be a dozen executives, or a couple hundred managers. Determine who your true customer is, and start there.

Then, as Tom Peters likes to say, “Do something really strange… TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!” Find out how your customers want to be updated, communicated, and sold. They’ll tell you, if you are truly of value to them.

Now, if you want to find out what you should be doing, instead of just after-the-fact publicity, go the next step in the planning process: Do a gap analysis. Determine where you are today, in relation to what your customer(s) want/expect from you. The delta between the two is the “gap,” or your targets of opportunity. This analysis will require substantial thought and time commitment; you’ll want to discuss, cuss, analyze, cipher, ad nauseum with a variety of key stakeholders within your organziation.

Then, develop an action plan around that gap anlysis, complete with measurements. Determine what your future will look like, then plan the steps to reach that future. Now, you’ve got your marching orders and marketing fodder — the easy part is “how” to get the word out. Trust me, when general managers see you as a resource for operational success, you won’t need to “market”…


Kevin Berchelmann

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