After years of pushing my clients and regaling anyone who would listen with warnings of dire consequences if they fail to include HR in their strategy development, I’ve finally found a soul-mate in the shape of Michael Savage, Director of Employee Brand at JWT Inside. It’s no coincidence perhaps that he’s working with a marketing services firm, in fact, not just any marketing services firm, but one that “gets it” with a vengeance, as witnessed by Martin Sorrell’s on-going statements to the media.

In his article in recruiting trends this week Michael underlines that because it’s employees who deliver the brand promise, they need to be involved in its development and fully committed to playing their part in its delivery. Like my Full Effect Marketing strategies, Michael promotes the internal marketing (he calls it “reprogramming the workforce”) that is essential for any organisation committed to growth. In fact, because the business world generally is currently undergoing a radical transformation every business is going to have to seriously question its role, re-examine its promise and radically remodel its focus, structures and processes over the next year or so. While Michael asks business leaders not to miss the opportunity this presents to “treat their business as a start-up” I’d go one further and say, if you don’t get this radical you’ll simply not be in shape to compete in the very near future.

I’m not talking years here, I’m talking months. We are already seeing how tech companies are taking over. The David an Goliath story is being re-enacted every day as large traditional businesses are submitting to acquisition, often at far less than their book value, by new, young tech companies who represent their only hope of staying in business. Business is driven by an entirely different engine these days, which is both an opportunity and a threat. You can respond by accepting a new role in the lives of your customers, employees and suppliers, rebuild your business accordingly, introducing new skills through training or the introduction of new employees, but sitting it out is simply not an option. The businesses that succeed in the future will be those that can innovate and innovation is driven by technology. If you don’t have the skills, you’ll have to get them somehow and the first and easiest place to start is with your existing workforce.

My advice to any and every business is define your brand now, using a proven process such as my Brand Discovery programme, identify what you have to do to deliver your promise, start the internal marketing that will engage your employees, get them thinking about their role in your new organisation and invite them to decide how their skills, experience and personal characteristics enable them to contribute to the delivery of your re-aligned promise. This gives you the opportunity to identify the gaps in your skill-base and fill them with new employees or training.

Phil Darby
July 1, 2014

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