Monday, November 22, 2010

Can HR Learn Some Tricks From Marketing?


I asked my Twitter followers last week for questions on the topic of HR Metrics and Analytics. I received a great question from Traci Cuthbertson, (@tracicuth):

Marketing uses metrics/analytics to measure/segment/target customers. Why is HR so reluctant to do similar w/ Employees?

What a fantastic question! And one that I would love to know the answer to. I can discuss what I think are the barriers to segmentation, and what I have seen in my experience. I hope that we get many comments on this topic so we can really discuss this. (hint: please comment)

Here are some reasons I have found why HR does not segment its employee base:

1) I believe there is that lingering concern about "we have to treat employees fairly." And I agree wholeheartedly. But, with many deliverables that HR executes, a one size approach is not going to work. Case in point, rewards and recognition. What motivates me is not necessarily going to motivate my co-worker.

2) I believe that many HR professionals do not have that skill set and/or do not approach their employee base as a diverse group with varying and different needs in an employment experience.

3) I have seen larger organizations taking a "marketing" and "branding" approach to recruiting, targeting different types of recruits using different messages. Why would we not use this approach to our current employees targeting, let's say, generations in the workplace and use different retention campaigns? (probably is related to number 1 above)

4) HR does not see the benefit of such an approach. As in the consumer world, we have all seen the switch from marketing to the masses to marketing to one. I know when I get a personalized ad, using my preferences and past buying behavior.....I am interested. Why would that be different in the employment experience? Using career development as an example, can the organization take the approach that your career preferences are important to us, and we want to align those with the organization's goals?

As many of you know, I spent the last few months going to many conferences on the subject of metrics and analytics. I saw many examples of employee segmentation. It is here, smart companies use this technique. I don't want marketing to do this for us....what are your thoughts? Can HR use a little lesson from marketing?

Think about an example I have used in the past regarding turnover. I really don't care about an overall turnover %. What I want to know is who is leaving and why. Think about segmenting your employees this way:

1) Segment by performance scores
2) Segment by engagement scores

Then look at turnover scores for your highly engaged and high performers and for your low performers and non-engaged, you will be shocked when you look at turnover this way....

How beneficial would this exercise be to your company?
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