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If we want to have a good business idea, we need to have a good people idea

Svante Randlert, Business & People Advisor, key-note speaker at Competo 12th event

»On average, 10 out of 10 CEO’s that I talk to have a business plan and they know it very well. But only one of them has or knows a people plan. It is really interesting – we know what and why we are selling, but we do not know what kind of people do we need, who do we have to attract or how do we keep them engaged – that is the missing people plan. Building an employer brand should be a process that puts people – our employees – into  the centre. They are, after all, every company’s ultimate competitive advantage that differentiates them from the competition.«

We all know a lot about managing product and service brands but not so much about managing an employer brand. Are there similarities? What is (or should be) different in product vs. employer brand management?

I believe we only have one brand. But we definitely can learn a lot about employer branding from how we manage the product brand. When we deal with product brands we think a lot about what differentiates us from competitors – if I would wake a marketing officer up in the middle of the night and ask them »What makes you better than your competitors?« they would know the answer straight away. But if I would wake an HR manager up in the middle of the night, they would be as good at differentiating their people policy from the competitors. Therefore I believe we have to be more sales oriented in human resources. After all, people want to know the difference between two employers. There is a lot of nonsense in messages about companies as employers – we are so often saying the exactly same thing as our competitors! We should learn from sales and marketing, stop talking about hygiene factors and start thinking about our competitive advantage.

How do we do that – what is the competitive advantage that differentiates an »okay« employer from a great employer if we exclude hygiene factors such as payment, working hours, location and content of work?

Everything comes back to marketing rules – the more similar product you sell, the more similar the employer is, the more it is the culture that matters. When you take away all the »corporate noise«, it all comes down to people. It’s your people that competitors can never have. I definitely am going to challenge the mainstream thinking at Competo event this year because I believe we have to work more with employee branding rather than employer branding. Employer branding is the communication from the employer and employee branding is communication from employees. Let’s compare it to web sites offering hotels around the world. Today no one books a hotel just because of what the hotel’s marketing department writes on the web site. We want to have the technical information of course, but we do not make the decision based on it. We trust and believe and are persuaded by what the hotel’s customers say. The career page works the same – the information there is necessary, but what the employees are saying is what matters. We can build an employer brand, but the real attractiveness of it is also a consequence of what employees are saying. We all know how important it is to listen to and to work with the customers, but we forget it should be the same in employer branding too. We have to listen to and work with the employees!

Svante Randlert is an internationally renown Business and People Advisor with vast experience in human resources and employer branding. We are happy to have him as our key-note speaker at 12th Competo event, where addressed issues such as how to build an attractive employer brand, how to talk to talents in the labour market and how to use employer brand to build valuable internal and external relationships.

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