Econsultancy’s latest report ‘The future of HR in the digital age’, finds that HR teams in many global organisations are repositioning themselves to be more customer centric. Making sure the actions they take in hiring, retaining and developing human capital are aligned to delivering a better customer experience.
That’s an interesting trend, and one that has yet to take hold in East Africa. Here the HR profession is more administrative than commercial. One of the reasons why so few HR people achieve Board appointments.
Parallel to this positive trend in HR, the wider world is seeing an increasing number of marketers becoming involved in culture development. They clearly understand that the promises they make to the market must be delivered by people. And the best way to achieve that is to shape a culture with a set of signature behaviours that reflect the brand. So, the brand begins to guide ‘the way we do things around here’.
Simultaneously HR people are opening their eyes to commercial impact and marketers to the importance of employees as an audience. When these two agendas eventually align (at some time in the future) I can predict that we won’t need customer service departments. How marvellous will that be? For our customers, in particular.
Last week I had to contact a customer services representative at my mobile phone company. My bill showed a current amount due which was correct. However, over on the right-hand end of the aged debt summary I was surprised to note a figure of nearly US$10,000 owed by me for over 120 days! I knew this to be incorrect, and my customer service rep. confirmed it. ‘Just ignore the bill,’ she said.I have done so, and I have kept her email as my talisman against future such nonsense.
But I ask you, what does ‘just ignore the bill’ say about a company culture that installs a billing system staff widely accept as erroneous by default?
Let’s go back to the research on the changing shape of HR. Writing in UK’s Marketing Week Magazine, Charlotte Rogers reveals another surprising development. In their efforts to attract the best talent, companies are increasingly embedding marketers within the HR department
Having a marketing mindset is helpful in the employer brand space, says Rogers, who highlights that early marketing implants are developing online content drawn from employee stories to encourage candidates to apply for jobs. Stories highlighting involvement and recognition for contributions made in the name of the brand.
Closer collaboration between marketing and HR is helping to define brand promise and create a culture capable of delivering it. Something we need more of in our region.
Chris Harrison leads The Brand Inside