Human Resource Management (HRM), Marketing is my second love. Of all the business functions, I consider the Marketing function as a sibling of HRM function and in my opinion; seven 'Ps' of Marketing are also relevant to HRM.
The common feature between the Marketing and the HRM functions is "the need for influencing, attracting, delighting & retaining". In case of the Marketing function, this need is for the customers or consumers and in case of the HRM function, it is for the employees. Allow me now to explain each 'P' for the HRM function or said in other words, let us understand the marketing mix of the HRM function.
This refers to the HR policies and allied services & programs offered by the Human Resource Managemen. The key elements here are features, portability (self-service or service by the HR team), ease of using the service, employee-friendliness quotient, "after-service" support, etc. Design of the HR policies, allied service & programs should consider factors like organization's HR ideology, cost considerations, available IT support, employees' age & education profile, etc. Further, it is vital to get feedback from the employees on their experiences & perceptions about the HR policies & allied services, to change or to refine or even to withdraw them, for meeting the legitimate expectations of the employees.
It is about the techniques that the HR Head employs for communicating the HR policies & services to the employees. Akin to Marketing, here also the aim of promotion is to create awareness, educate employees and create a healthy image of the organization. So, for and effective communication, the HR Head needs to plan the core message, decide on the best channel and in some cases factor in the cost. For instance, an invite for a training event should be worded differently depending on the profile of the participants. The communication channel for juniors could be a mass mail and for senior guys, it could be individualistic and more personal. Another case could be a new HR policy on a tender subject. Such a policy could be transmitted more effectively in mini-workshops and not through a mass channel.
This is a tricky dimension. Warren Buffet has aptly said, 'Price is what you pay. Value is what you get'. So for all the hard work the employees put in, they should sense that they are being 'valued' by the organization, right from entry to exit. This is the one of the core tasks of the HR Head, who also has to make sure that the employees are not made to run from pillar-to-post for getting legitimate services and support. The higher the degree of recognition (through suitable HR systems & policies) by the organization for employees' diligent and fastidious efforts, higher will be their sense of being valued.
This is about ensuring that the employees get required services where & when they need it. Gone are the days, when employees were required to come to the HR Head for their requirements. Gone is the period, when the services were delivered through the manual mode. Today, it is about a more personalized approach and use of relevant IT tools. Very much like the Marketing Head, the HR Head should make sure that, the services are available to the employees at the right time and at the right spot with due clarity. Depending on the size and the spread of the organization, the HR Head can adopt the "kiosk" concept or put the services & information "online", for the employees' convenience and faster reach.
This piece is pretty straightforward. People refer to the members of the HR team, who are responsible for providing services and information to the employees. These team members, apart from the sound domain knowledge, should have an adequate know-how of the Human Resource Managemen services; be creative and good at interpersonal skills. More importantly, they should have information on the HR policies of the competing organizations as it helps them benchmark. It is the duty of the HR Head to equip the team members adequately, so that they can serve the employees effectively.
This refers to the ways in which the HR team provides services to the employees. Interpersonal skills & humility of the HR team are two critical aspects here. The most employee-friendly HR policy or service will not serve the intended purpose, if delivered poorly. Moreover, the degree of complication or simplification in availing the HR services affects the employee satisfaction. Like the Marketing Head, the HR Head is responsible for creating brand-loyalty among the employees and developing a lasting relationship between the organization & the employees.
This is about the physical and the psychological environment of the organization. In order to get the employees' confidence & trust in the organization, the HR Head must make sure, a healthy environment and an enabling work culture, so that the employees enjoy working & cherish their association with the organization. If this is achieved, then it is obvious that happier employees will turn brand ambassadors and aid in attracting potential prospects.
All these 'Ps' are controllable variables and are of great implication to the HR team for serving & attending to the employees effectively. The HR team must remember that the employees with legitimate dissatisfaction are no different from the disgruntled customers, who can adversely influence the image of the establishment.
Attracting the prospects, engaging the employees psychologically & retaining them are tough tasks and a slight slip on any of the seven 'Ps' can derail the efforts. In a nutshell, theHuman Resource Managemen should strategically use and calibrate these seven 'Ps' depending on the needs of the organization.
The future trend will be to turn an employee into a 'prosumer'.