In Tuesday’s post I talked about why you need marketing. Go check that post out if you didn’t already. Back? OK great. Let’s talk about how you can use marketing concepts in HR.
Regardless if your company has a large marketing department or no department, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply marketing techniques to the projects and programs you roll out. Here are some tips and tricks:
Brainstorming: Instead of branding your latest program with some bland title, take some time to come up with a catchy word or phrase to describe your program. Start by getting your team together for a brainstorming session. If the team is having a hard time generating ideas, start by writing down words and phrases you associate with the topic at hand. Here is one example of a brainstorming session I did to name the new employee recognition program:
The idea is to generate as many words and phrases as you can. String phrases together. Throw out words associated with the topic. Once you have a few good ideas shop your ideas around to a variety of people: leaders, individual contributors, HR pros, people outside HR, you get the idea. Will this add to the time it takes you to roll out your program? Yes but it’s worth it.
Think like a marketer - your employees, like the rest of the world, are bombarded by emails, text messages and junk mail. How can you make your message compelling? What can you do to make your employees open that email from HR? Remember: in your communications you are selling HR. This means explaining “what’s in it for me?” to an employee population that is skeptical of another top down HR program. It also means taking some time to develop easy-to- read communications. This is more than just a well written email, it includes clear easy-to-use training materials, presentations and FAQ documents.
Generate some buzz - Is it possible to create buzz around an HR process or program? Yes. Is it easy? No. Will it take more effort and thought? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!
First, identify the “connectors” these are the people who cross locations, departments, and teams. They vary in the organization but you know ‘em when you seem ‘em. You also want to identify the “influencers” these are the people who are well connected and are well respected by employees. They are the ones who know all the gossip before it blows up. Connectors and influencers are important to rolling out your new program with some buzz around it, not the usual “oh another HR thing.” I highly suggest using these people as part of your focus groups. Besides their input, they also spread the word about all the things you focus group with them, which creates buzz.
These are just a couple ideas on what you can do to inject some marketing spark into HR. I don’t by any means consider this comprehensive but it is a start. I wanted to share with you the ideas that don’t require the use of high paid consultants or experts. The above is stuff you can start doing tomorrow at work: it’s relevant and its useful.
Speaking of which here are some additional resources you can read to keep up with the latest on marketing:
Guy Kawasaki, the original Apple evangelist: https://plus.google.com/+GuyKawasaki/posts
http://www.adverblog.com/ – more about advertising.
Also – advertising age publishes a list of power blogs: http://adage.com/power150/index