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Linda Holbeche’s article “Organisational Effectiveness: A Fresh mindset” encourages the profession to find an approach that is responsive to employee’s needs, as well as those of the business. Her reference to Jeffery Pfeffer implies that she would like the new approach to evidence-based. I believe a strategic marketing of employment provides a model of HR that fits the bill.
I agree that people are not passive resources, but they can be viewed as a kind of consumer. They are not “mere consumers of employer brands”, but sophisticated consumers of a complex product. The employment product encompasses what you do in the job, how you are managed, what skills you need to bring to the job, and what skills will be added, how it fits into your career and your life in general. Shaping the employment product to meet the needs of the targeted consumers requires a strategic marketing approach. “Employer branding” usually amounts to no more than a few platitudes on the web site and a re-design of the logo. For a detailed explanation of the difference, see my blog: http://employmentmarketing.blogspot.com/2012/01/we-have-already-got-employer-branding.html Whilst I am supportive of what Linda Holbeche advocates, I do not want the marketing baby thrown out with the employer branding bathwater. Marketing is an evidence-based management discipline that seeks to uncover people’s needs and aspirations, and is ready for us to use.