2008 Trend 2: Brand Awareness
Talent is not only present within the organization, but also outside it. It is HR’s role to identify talent, to develop it, and to incorporate it into the organization. To continue to provide services and to be innovative as a company with a small labor market containing a limited amount of talent, being able to spot talent is crucial.
Principles that are true on the commercial market are equally true on the labor market. Just like you have to convince clients of the indispensability of your product or service, you have to convince new employees of your uniqueness, and bind current employees to your company. This is about brand awareness: who you are and what you stand for is important in the eyes of the employees that spend a large portion of their week with your organization.
In a tight labor market brand awareness is not easy: an elaborate campaign is simply too expensive for most companies. HR must find a way to create a coherent image, so that the same image is portrayed both on the inside and on the outside, and the company earns an individual identity. The story being told during campaigns must match the inner workings of the company. Future employees have enough (internet) channels available to them to check the validity of a story against the truth. If an innovative digital campaign is set up, making use of social networks, multi-media tools, etc., then the new employee will expect to see this approach in the internal workings of the organization. If the image does not match the truth, then it will be seen as marketing. While growing up, in particular the new generation has been exposed to a wide variety of marketing-techniques, and see straight through them.
Brand awareness is complicated by the fact that for the first time in history four different generations, with sometimes different expectations, can be found on the labor market. Whereas baby boomers tend to spend long periods of time with one organization and advanced their career based on knowledge and experience, the younger generations tend to follow a non-linear career path. They want to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible, and do not hesitate to change paths repeatedly. Furthermore, the use of channels is different: baby boomers respond to advertisements in the printed media, whereas generation Y is used to working digitally, and makes use of social networks and similar options (they probably will not even see your advertisements, but will apply through a contact). As most companies only have a limited budget for promoting themselves on the labor market, HR has to make intelligent decisions. This is only possible if HR has an insight into the needed personnel, and how these future employees can be contacted on the labor market. Differentiation and segmentation can also be a useful tool in this domain: a social network can be a good way to bind a particular group to your organization.