Although it may not seem like it at first blush, HR is no stranger to marketing.
At its core, that’s what recruiting is: marketing and direct sales. Those in the recruitment profession market professional opportunity through sharing openings, culture, and brand association. On the sales side, its quite possibly one of the hardest sales jobs; much like real estate, both sides are buying, so both sides can say no. It’s not like a car is going to refuse to be sold to a buyer.
So over the years, recruitment has focused on refining its “spoken sales pitch.” While an important part of the process, it is fairly limited in its reach. The move to digital marketing came about and our ability to broadcast news, share glimpses into our company culture, and build different level of “relationships” with ‘brand-fans’ widened. The online space got very, very noisy.
Amidst that noise emerged evidence of fissures in the brand façade; the carefully crafted messaging by the brand didn’t actually match conversations about the workplace realities of the employees. “A company that cares? Sure … about profit! Let me tell you how… [insert employee vent session here].” Well-intentioned employees trying to help disgruntled customers or potential buyers by giving product/service information that proved to be inaccurate. Less-than-flattering posts from the “personal” side of life conflicting with stated goals, ethics, and morality embraced by the organization.
All of these disparate voices, fragmented messages — they have traditionally freaked out marketing, human resources, and the C-Suite … with fair reason: the disharmony can create confusion in candidates and consumers, which is clearly bad for the brand.
The reality is that employers cannot “silence” the voices. They never really could. Those fissures always existed; however, the adoption of digital ecosystems vastly extended individual reach and amplified their individual stories “on brand” or not. And here’s the real kicker: employees have more credibility, individually, than executives, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. So if we’re unable to “control” these powerful voices, what are HR marketers and brand managers to do? The need behind this question drove the creation of a new category that sits at the intersection of marketing and human resources: employee advocacy.
An employee advocacy program is about more than marketing controlling how the brand message is shared. keep reading…