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Archive for the category “EVP”

Reverse mentoring – a less used, but potent employee engagement tool.


In the human resources function, most of us must be clearly able to articulate the values of a good, institutionalized mentoring process – as  a crucial ingredient in the pie that is organization development.

With good leaders acting as mentors, the mentees – mostly team members, reportee or a colleague – get to learn new technology, a new process in the organization structure, a new and innovative way to handle customers or close a sale. An organization that fosters a good mentoring culture and environment attracts talent that prefers to learn by the day, innovate, contribute and grow in the rungs.

With mentoring having been around for a while, and widely accepted at the personal and organizational level, the benefits are there to see for all.

Not the case with the opposite – I am sure there will be a lot of disagreement here – but the fact remains that ‘reverse mentoring’ is more in theory, that in practice.

Let’s look at a simple definition of reverse mentoring…. “a younger or less experienced Executive helps a more senior manager gain insight into areas, such as computers and changing IT technology, changing mindsets & expectations of the younger generation, new business concepts, thinking out of the box etc.” (with the transforming face of the Gen Y employee, you can just re-phrase this definition in a hundred more ways!)

Going back in history, ‘reverse mentoring’ as a concept in practice, had its roots probably in GE, where Jack Welch used it as a great tool to learn about the internet, technology applications, which later went on to bring in humongous changes in the way of work at GE. Those events, were a beginning to a transformation of GE as a technology driven organization, using the power of the internet to integrate the many components of GE – productions, suppliers, sales, marketing, and customers.

That was just the beginning though. However, it has somehow stuck on that ‘reverse mentoring’ is only powerful to understand new technology, innovation, trends in vogue and so on… It is such a wrong and misconceived notion that ‘reverse mentoring’ works only for those ‘cool’ things. Nothing can be far from reality and the real power from ‘reverse mentoring’.

Whilst it could have been true in a context then and earlier, it is far from true now. In fact this view only puts a cap on the immense potential of the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’, when institutionalized as a ‘strategic component’ of OD in any company.

Some of the areas where a well thought out, planned and implemented reverse mentoring program can help are – improving the processes, raking up ethics issues, strategy and strategic direction, better quality, a honest appraisal of leadership styles, impediments to real growth, bringing in an awareness of market reality and so on. The tangible and intangible value-adds could go on and on, as much as what the organization would want to build in the process.

With senior management, CXO’s and HR grappling for innovative ways to engage the work-force (the knowledge workers!), a prudent and thoughtful integration of ‘reverse mentoring’ in the overall scheme of HR/OD plan will be a must do. It will position the employer as a place where knowledge, critical and valuable inputs from the team and every individual are valued!

This is such a powerful ’employer value proposition’ in the clutter and race for real good talent!

To make reverse mentoring work and add real value, senior line management, the HR function, the CEO/CXO level, and even the board must commit to integration of ‘reverse mentoring’ in the overall scheme of things. This is the most vital need, as without this commitment, the organization can never get the real benefits of the process. Trying to implement reverse mentoring in isolation is as good as it not done at all.

Some steps that can make “reverse mentoring’ really work:

1. The HR/OD team works and gets a buy in for institutionalizing reverse mentoring in the overall scheme of things.
2. The team also gets a ‘reverse mentoring’ manual done, so that, when circulated, the manual makes clear what the process is, what the intent is, how everyone in the team, and in turn the organization can benefit.
3. Each individual program is documented as much by the reverse mentors and mentees; this brings in an element of measurement and seriousness to the program.
4. HR creates a mechanism for monitoring the progress or otherwise of the program. This can be spread across various functional areas, by bringing in the line management into the monitoring process.
5. Get the line management’s trust and confidence in each stage.
6. Identify the blocks to the process in the organization, and work on education/confidence building measures as the need may be.
7. Over a period, measure what positive difference the ‘reverse mentoring’ program’ has given the organization.

This is not an exhaustive and a perfect list. At best this can be a broad guideline; each organization must work with commitment on their own program that will work best for them!

‘Reverse mentoring’, if committed to, can be such a powerful ‘talent attraction’ tool, employee engagement tool, and ’employer brand proposition’. Isn’t it? And if yes, are we doing it in our workplaces??

 

Is your employer branding for real??


Honestly, am pretty tired of so many surveys and writings on why an employee will stay engaged in a company. Volumes of analyses are penned on why the employees need to be engaged with the best practices, contemporary practices, and ‘designer’ employee retention tools which are a great tool in the armor of the employer brand.

But, let me bluntly put across a few things which makes the employee hang on, and why he will not look elsewhere to do the same job.

  1. treatment with dignity – this is the bedrock. you do the best of practices and yet have a jerk as a manager in one of the functions, who loves and lives by stamping on the ego and dignity of his colleague, then with all the cosmetic engagement tools, you are not going to retain a soul, a good employee. so, spot the jerks today, and do something about their behavioral change if you can – a great service to your employer brand.
  2. a role appropriate to the skills and competencies – how many times does your HR/line/recruitment function jump and say “here’s a great talent”.. and you go ahead and hire the person just for the heck of showing the world that your ’employer brand’ is capable of attracting the best of talent out there. without any sense of what role and responsibility you will give the person – in your present and future ‘scheme’ of things? if there is nothing like that, then your ’employer brand’ is not just ruining another career, and even worse self-inflicting a blow on the face of your brand. so, think of a proper plan before you want to go out and get the best of talent – is your brand ready for such great talent?
  3. great talent is never retained by frivolous engagement tools. period. at best, the buzz you build around the ’employer brand’ with such fun tools may last for a month or so. even that, in this information age, is a stretch. great talent looks for real ‘meat’ in the job content, in the career path, in the span of control and challenges – besides off-course the best of money. notice that money will mostly come in the bottom of the aspiration ladder for someone who is serous about ‘growing’ a career. so, pay attention to the ‘meat’ your employer brand can proffer and spice it up with the money. as you will know, just the spice sans the ‘content’ food will be inedible and propel attrition, no matter what you do.
  4. is your employer brand a school of learning, and the best in that – most organisations which win the serious employer brand surveys are there mainly because they are solid learning grounds. every person who stays with you wants to grow, intellectually as well. and most times, people exit the organisation getting tired of doing the same thing, in the same way everyday. there is nothing called learning in your brand – if that is the case, then all the buzz you create around the employer brand will fizzle out in no time.
  5. work life balance – in this wired world, as we all get more connected, and telecommuting is the order of the day, it is no surprise that what is hit most is work-life balance. technology is meant to ease our lives, and help us get more productive; yet in reality the opposite has happened. our handheld work devices have got to our bedroom and kitchen – every ring or buzz hits the nerve even at home. it is time great employer brands offer real work life balance – to take it further, i would opine that today’s employer brands must have a documented work-life balance policy, which clearly facilitates each employee in being a balanced person (i have taken it too far? 🙂
These things have to be ingredients of your employer brand. If they are not, a whole lot of other ‘stuff’ will not serve the purpose of enhancing your brand value, other than just getting your some ‘news’ as a best ranked employer!

All the best for your ’employer branding’ life cycle.

Does your organisation have an exit management SOP?


Most leaders among us believe that managing exits of employees is the HR functions responsibility. Nothing can be far from true. Good leaders make sure that employee exits are handled with care and finesse…  isn’t is often said that every employee is the organisations brand ambassador.

Loads of  care is taken by organizations in engaging employees when they are with an organization. The same care and attention is somehow given a convenient go, when an employee decides to part ways with the company for personal/professional reasons, what be it. Even worse, the process in mismanaged, for want of time and a want of an understanding of how critical  the exit process is, to the employer brand.

Here are 2 real life situations which speak volumes on what could be the best way of exit management, and which serves to beef up the employer value proposition (EVP) in the eyes of all stakeholders.

Victor has served the midsized company from inception, built the brand assiduously by bringing in clients, relationships, revenues, through team-building, and a whole lot of relevant and related tangibles and intangibles. In his stint of over 2 years with the organization, never has he sought any goodies, upped the ante,  nor voiced his environmental constraints, nd has accepted decisions of the company, owing to the market conditions with grace and poise. This, despite even a lot of monetary setbacks, and going back on benefits that are promised & legally binding; and a lot of initial promise on how he will have a skyrocketing professional growth, and how his role and compensation will grow as he meets his expectations.  Even when Victor has many setbacks on his personal front, he continues his work, sans any attention by the organization.

Time comes for Victor to move on, to nurture his personal and professional life as he desires.  He communicates this to the person above in the hierarchy, and his resignation is accepted, taking facts into consideration. He serves his responsibilities; in the interregnum before he is released, a senior most person in the organization comes up and tells him that he cannot go; that he will struggle for survival (issues like food and shelter?!), if he sticks to his decision. Veiled threats are held at him for no reason. It is harassment in its diplomatic form of sorts; many in the corporate office of the organization and even some erstwhile colleagues are pushed to throw muck at Victor; this continues even as he leaves graciously.  He quietly moves to take care of his personal and professional priorities, blind to most of this ‘throwing muck’.

Now to John; John has worked with a large MNC, a leader in its space in the country for a little over 2 years; his stint has been fine, his contributions being above average. His presence is always acknowledged by leaders in the organization, and those leaders make it a point to call him for anything that was to do with the good of the long-term interests of the MNC.

John, wanting professional advancement decides to move on, and communicates the same to his functional head. The head refuses to accept his resignation come what may.  The next morning, to the huge surprise of John, his boss flies in to his place from the corporate office, and expresses gratitude for the work John has done, and pleads him to stay. The boss says any issues can be sorted out, unconditionally, within the framework of the organizational policies.

However, John sticks to his decision, which is finally accepted half heartedly by the boss. The boss also advises John to facilitate in getting an appropriate person for John’s replacement, and also to help in the client transitioning etc.

In the meanwhile most national leaders from the organization continuously communicate to John, checking out is they can help and make him stay. John’s boss even went to the extent to advising the HR to check if John would prefer to report to someone else, yet stay back in the company.  HR also is constantly in communication, and checks what all separation issues need to be addressed; by when moneys of settlement are needed etc.

On the last day of John’s service, his boss again travels down to his location, and bids farewell with lavish praises. Most regional leaders of the organization and most teams were in attendance; even an hour before the close of that day, a functional head tells John to join his team, and he would take care of professional and personal needs.

To cap it all, John’s boss writes a mail to every employee in the company, across the country, and marked to all regional and global leaders, that John’s work at the company was great, and it was a matter of pride to have had him working for the company; wishing him the best moving forward. HR also ensures that all what is due to John is taken care off, without any need for following from his side.

From these real-life stories, it is very clear that John will be a great brand ambassador carrying the brand flag forever. Needless to say, Victor will be a bitter man, carrying only bitter memories.

(Both John and Victor are real life instances, with organisations that dealt with exits in a diametrically opposite fashion).

Managing employee exit, in commonsense parlance, is all about etching great memories of the organization, in the mind and heart of the exiting employee.

One step ahead, it is high time organizations had a formal SOP on managing exits well!

Musing on HR Communication.


I am one of the strong proponents of a strong HR Communication function as an integral part of the overall HR organisation. I also think that with the advent and integration of social media and the likes, and the age of the over-informed employee, it is only a prerequisite for an agile and successful HR function.

Some of my reasons for thinking so…

  • There is no denial that the HR leader and those in HR would be equipped by them self to inform the stakeholders about what is relevant and what HR deems as significant. This is now mostly restricted to HR operations, HR administration and EE related info. But given the constraint of time and ‘resources’, most of the times there is no emphasis on the import of a proper communication design. Having one by making the HR Communications pro take charge, will only greatly enhance the image of the HR function – this over a period of time. HR, as the proponents of the ‘employer brand’ MUST also ensure that even in the mundane, excellent standards and style of communication is in place. Who else  but a professional who is a combination of a HR and a communications pro to usher in this ‘best practice.
  • While HR facilitate the entire gamut of activities on the people front – from pre-entry to post-exit, a lot of times, even the best of ‘employer brands’ tend to screw up and self inflict ‘brand image’ injuries on themself, just because they are not equipped to deliver the right ‘communication’ – not the verbal stuff, but by the letters, mails etc. The HR Communications pro will take up the task of creating task specific communication templates (not static, but dynamic and audience specific).
  • HR is yet, by and large seen as the facilitator to the line management on a whole lot of people related activities – recruitment,  T and D, performance management, and so on. A well rounded HR Communications pro, who is fully conversant with the org and its HR, will be the best person to ensure that the ‘perception’ of the line management towards HR as a facilitator moves up the ladder. While the people in the core HR function can be seen as ‘content’ and the HR Communications pro ought to be the ‘delivery’ channel for HR.

Like can be seen above, the HR Communications professional who is an integral part of the HR team, can add a lot more ‘perceived’ and ‘tangible’ value to the HR Organisation – mentioned above is just a sampling of the value add.

To the question as to why the corporate communications or PR function of the organisation is not enough to add this value – the answer is this:

In most cases they are more glued on to macro image management, internally and externally – that may or may not have a desired impact with the employee and all the stakeholders. Also remains the fact that, the PR/corp comm people are fully engaged only in media related communication, which add only ‘leadership image’ value.

The HR Communication professional is the one who could play a great role in the ‘employer branding’ internally. And that can only add to all the buzz of ‘external branding’.

Its akin to creating the internal walk for the external talk.

Organisations successfully ‘walk the talk’ if a HR Communications pro is in place.

Stability or competence.. what would you say?


Few days ago,  someone had called me to get my opinion on which I would think is the deciding factor in getting someone for a role with my client organisation.

My reply was  – while I may personally opine that competency is of paramount importance and will score over stability, other things remaining the same, most of my clients would indeed feel uncomfortable sharing that view of mine. And so, from a client perspective, stability scores over competence…. Yes, most of my clients would rather appoint a more stable candidate than someone who could deliver much better. Period.

That said, it also made me think as to why most clients  – and assuming that these are just a sample of the whole universe – most organisations prefer to bet safe on a seemingly ‘stable’ person, leaving competence behind in the hiring process.

Could it be because of the following?

  1. The persons responsible for the hire prefer a safe bet, someone who has just been an ok and average performer, who will stay on for a while, thus proving the hirer right from having gotten a stable candidate onboard.
  2. The opposite of this – what if the decision to hire the more competent person happens to boomerang? What if he does not adopt and settle into the ‘culture’ of the current team (which is almost always masqueraded as organisation culture).
  3. Having someone who is extremely competent would means that there is a possibility that the incumbent is the smartest of the lot, and would upset the apple-cart for a whole lot of folks who are a product of the current ‘comfort zone’!
  4. Justifying the cost of the hire becomes much easier when the person hangs on for long, than otherwise. Apart from the cost of hire, numerous other HR metrics would look so good in the name of stability – cost of rehire, attrition and so on… ….expect offcourse the revenue/employee which could have been much  better with a more competent hire.

This is just a sample of what might contribute the right hire strategy of the organisation.

Little does the organisation or the HR therein realise that to have someone more competent – there also would be a need to work on appropriate engagement and ‘stay’ strategies – and this would indeed call for a little more proactive and evolved HR/leadership – than that may be needed to sustain a ‘stable’ employee.

Surprisingly, in the name of stability, is it the right thing to overlook what could have been the opportunity ‘revenue’ impact of the organisation in having someone more competent, even if it is for a lesser period of time – compare this with the ‘average’ revenues with stable employees.

And with the new gen workforce which is dynamic and organisationally ‘ephemeral’, I only think the organisations that advocate stability over competence will be the losers!

What do you think?

In HR, communication does have power! or does it??


How many of us think that performance management is just one of those annual HR rituals where a bunch of forms are shoved in across all the employee desks, with a prayer that there be godspeed in the exercise getting completed without any employee issues.

This is just a wish, and reality is far away.

Jack Welch is quoted to have said this on performance management (ranking): “Ranking has been portrayed as a cruel system.  The cruel system is the one that doesn’t let anyone know where they stand.”

And where they stand can be only clear, when each engaged employee/partner is communicated of how his contribution to the organizational goals and revenues will be measured.

A lot has been said and written about how it is important and crucial to manage performance in an organization, not much emphasis has been laid on the importance of communicating it to the members of the organization – at all levels.

This leads to a lot of confusion, uncertainty, and most of all, shock and surprise when in the middle of the year/end of the year, the employees are measured, reviewed, and  evaluated by a process which they are not even prima facie aware of.

A lot of  times, such a performance management exercise, which is truly objective and equal to all gets perceived to be biased, and partial; the only culprit in this whole event is the absence of a well laid down communication strategy – within the organization to all internal stakeholders.

That strategy which will, well in time, at the beginning of the period or year under review, state in writing to each and every employee the measures and attributes by which his/her contribution will be done.

Lack of such communication will also have an adverse impact of the really performing lot in the team. Whilst they give in their best, which would have exceeded their division and business objectives, they would see that their not so performing peers also seem to hold the same stature and growth in a ‘patriarchal’ management (perceptions matter a ton).

This can be highly dangerous to the overall health and long term growth of the company. Unless people see a visible difference between where performers will stand – higher – and where non performers will stand – lower or out of the organization – the best of  performers will desert the organization.

Communication, in the right time and in a very transparent manner (with all the measures quantified, sans any scope for bias), will be a decisive differentiator that would enable all concerned to view the process as legitimate and objective. And once this happens, tremendous amount of discipline comes by in the way everyone views the short term and long term goals. And they also know how and where they will grow within, with the kind of work they do in the period under review.

This highlights the critical nature of the performance communication process, and the time and energy the HR team, the SBU heads, and the CEO ought to spend in making this exercise possibly the best communication amongst the employees. If there is one single exercise that would contribute directly to the top line and the bottom line of the organization, it is PERFORMANCE COMMUNICATION.

The best way to do this will be to create a sort of ‘war room’ that takes care of the whole communication process – planning, vetting, implementing at all levels top down, ascertaining feedback on whether everyone had understood their goals right through. And post the actual performance process, a check on whether what happened is as per the communiqué to each of the employee.

I am confident that those organisations which do not have such a process in place will do so on a war footing!

So, does HR Communication/performance communication matter?

Employee engagement truths… who’s responsible?


Creating an engaged employee is not just the responsibility of the human resources function or the head of Human Resources of an organization. Most contemporary organizations, barring an exceptional few, leave the task of creating employee engagement to the HR head or the human resources team. the top management and the leadership teams get disconnected with the day to day rigmarole of employee engagement, thinking or presuming that it is what the HR function exists for. Nothing can be far from true and more disastrous.

Irrespective of which phase – nascent, growing or well entrenched and established- an organization is in, employee engagement is a function of the leadership and top management – the A team if you can say so (including the board), and times of challenge and uncertainty, are the best times to re-visit these fundamental tenets of employee engagement.

There is just no better time to work on building ‘employer value proposition’ than now.

The broad definition of ‘employer value proposition’ is striking a balance between the values, both the employer and employee derive from the relationship. For any organization, be it big or small, there is one (in fact ONLY) critical factor that can bring value worth more than its weight in of gold – it is to create, sustain, and grow ‘employer/employee value proposition’ by the hour, by the day, for the eternity of the organization. It will not be an exaggeration to state that the ‘eternity/successful longevity’ of the organization, is inextricably linked to how engaged the employee/the work force is.

What causes shock and a bit of dismay in any student of ‘employee engagement’ is thatemployee disengagement’ becomes a tool of first resort for the leadership of the organization, when the going gets tough.

 

The management and the leadership, which ought to communicate more than ever, which ought to engage more than ever, which ought to look at taking every single employee  of the workforce into confidence, in trying times, does the opposite – be incommunicado, shut transparency, resort to mass retrenchment, even cut on hygiene benefits, and in the quest to tide over these tough times, do everything that is a no-no.

Undoing this, when the times get better, will be a humongous challenge, and any amount of selling by the same leadership is not going to help – for every one negative step today, even four positive steps to undo later might seem insignificant.

So, more than ever before, it is today that the leadership of the organization must spend loads of time on employee engagement – for the better of the short/long term interests of the organization. Rather than get into a shell or a reclusive mode, the top leadership must communicate more, know employee concerns, address the inherent and time-sensitive insecurities and get to the pulse of every single member of the team – every issue that may seem greatly important and downright trivial should be.

Each and every decision that is taken, and impacts any corner of the organization should be communicated clearly to the employees. In a word, having a ear on the ground, to the last step should be the cardinal rule, now, more than ever. It is also leadership’s responsibility to create a proactive and dynamic mechanism, where every manager/business head/human resources function is committed to THIS style of employee engagement, in all sincerity – and a great amount of effort should go into creating a right perception of these decisions, because employee engagement is also about every measure is perceived by the stake holders.

In all this, precipitate actions could be looked at as a measure of last resort, and when they are resorted to, they also should be explained with reason to the whole workforce – unless this is done, the whole exercise gets defeated.

There can be numerous ways and methods by which what is stated in a nutshell can be implemented, depending on the team size, the line of business, and the competitive scenario – all that can be debated and a plan of action formulated on a case to case basis. And all gleanings in contemporary HR and employee engagement practices must be relied upon.

Leadership must, NOW, more than ever before be truly-truly committed to absolute employee engagement – and that will be a recipe that will sustain organizations in the long run – much longer that every single employee will be a eternal brand ambassador – the inherent value derived for the organization will be phenomenal, and immeasurable.

Are we right-sizing attrition?


With the advent of the Gen Y employee composition, attrition is one thing that keeps haunting any talent management/HR professional, in any part of the world. May be, this challenge is more pronounced for the HR pro who is in an India or China or Philippines, the famed off-shoring destinations of choice.

Too often, we keep seeing HR bodies and top employers dishing our statistics about the rate of their attrition, and how well it is contained or well within acceptable standards or international norms. One always wonders if there are any stated accepted norms which say so much % of employee attrition is healthy for the competitive survival of the organisational animal.

Here, is’nt it important that for competitive survival, rightsizing attrition would be a more appropriate and relevant objective. We must be hearing HR people and employers state that, for this fiscal we have achieved the goals of rightsizing the attrition which will have a positive contribution to the top-line and bottom-line of the organisation.

With right-sizing as a HR and organisational objective, the tasks also get inseparably tied with the performance management process, putting in place the systems for an effective performance improvement program (whatever be your organisational nomenclature) – one that is clearly focused on measurably improving individual contribution, and then planning the exit management of those whose goals and skills are not in alignment with the organisation goals.

Assuming that the Jack Welch theory on  the effectiveness of people in the organisational pyramid stands, the minimal healthy attrition rate is 10-15%, depending upon factors like the type of industry, skills sets, engagement factors and so on.

When right sizing attrition is in play, with the combination of all HR factors and tools, on the bottom percentile of non-performing or under-performing employees, the HR program interventions make some % of this bottom to move up one notch – make them  as acceptable level of performers.

Then, the resulting attrition related information gets stated like this – In our employee strength of so many people, about 200 were seen to performing below acceptable standards; thanks to our effective HR programs and interventions, we could move 70 of them into the ‘desirable performance zone’. By this, we could rightsize attrition to so many percentage, which we deem as desirable owing to factors that are unique to us an as employer!

The rightsized attrition figures also give a whole different perspective to the way attrition is looked at, from the organisational perspective.

Lets now on get to right-sizing attrition that the usual fight to bring down attrition.

 

 

HR professionals – Brand Managers! (repeat)


For so many years, it has been oft-repeated that the contemporary HR professional must be multifaceted, possess an understanding of cross-functional aspects in the organization, provide strategic direction, intent and inputs to the line managers, be capable and competent to sit on the board – in a nutshell, be not just a leader in HR, but a strategic think-tank that most across the organization can really look up to.

Times have changed, and here is the need for the new age HR professional to be a great brand manager.

A brand manager, who can clearly lay down the attributes that the organization stands for, craft a communication plans around that, and constantly iterate it, to the organization and to the outside world, which is populated by the target audience – prospective employees (internal clients), the external clients at large, and all those who matter.

Most of all, the crucial hat that the HR pro must be able to don with ease is that of a Brand Manager….  Unless he or she can be a smart and seasoned brand manager, it will be almost next to impossible for the HR Professional to win the war for talent and also sustain existing talent within – all this, amidst the intense fight for scarce talent, and a mad rush & scramble to recruit, retain, re-train, de and get the best out of people, here and now!

Creating the organizations brand value proposition can no more be just a role that the internal/external marketing team will do… the content which is so crucial for the success of any marketing program must come in from the top leadership, and it is only the HR professional who commands a place on the table, owing to the sheer cross functional value he can add, – who can drive the organizational marketing from within.

To re-phrase this, the core of the marketing program – that drives the BRAND of the organization – MUST be the onus of the HR leader in the organization.

For this, the HR leader must be one who can craft, articulate and strategize all branding efforts of the company, around the core values and messages that the organization stands for.

This besides, as for any product or service brand, the HR team must bear in mind that there is a need to reposition, re-package and re-invent the organization brand, time and again.

Its imperative to understand that the brand life cycle – call it, how much tangible and intangible results that communicating the brand can actually produce – is limited to a life cycle – as in PLC. At the laggard end of this cycle, like almost any PLC, the brand needs to re-invented, repositioned, or even completely re-launched…. This, by ensuring that the brand/organization reflects endearing values/benefits and at the same time, making the right brand noises in the right place (there is no great difference – for the outsider, a new Liril and a rejuvenated Infy or Wipro, could stand to communicate the same brand strength, energy and longevity!)

Who else but the HR leader know the so many P’s of the organization brand better than him or her….   While the internal marketing/branding team can go about the task of implementing the branding exercises, the strategic insight for the program must come in from the human resources head and the core HR team.

P for Product – the organization itself – encompassing its values, vision and mission – what the organization intends to be, and what it delivers end of the day – delivery of  not just the product or the services, but things like re-plough profits to be, the CSR program et al, the green commitment and so on.

P for Place  – the facilities, the infrastructure etc, the ambience, the kind of work culture, the hygiene issues which are unique to the company, how it can be a great place to work for a whole generation of employees.

P for performance – the performance of the organization measured by revenues and profits, can at best be the sum total of individual performances. It’s the HR’s onus to craft performance management programs across the organization to ensure the goals are achieved.

Akin to this, pick up any P component of the marketing pie, and one can clearly see the crucial role the HR leader can play as a branding professional.

As in marketing/branding any conventional product/service, promotion is the crucial P that determines win or otherwise for the marketing/branding efforts… and the promotion is continuous and consistent…  these could the the tangible and intangible benefits that the company can proffer to the current/prospective talent pool.

Besides this, branding is also about having great employee engagement tools – call it innovation in branding – how each organization has its unique EE programs in place.

The raison d’être of the HR professional as a brand manager is to create, sustain and re-create an endearing brand value proposition in the mind of the prospective buyers – here the employment market, and the employee pool, and the team within.

So, HR professionals as HR leaders in organizations are passé.  This is a new world in which every good HR professional is a marketing/branding specialist as well!

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