· 1 min read · Features

Lessons from marketing

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Treating employees like customers means that employers can gather feedback with regards to their preferences and habits

HR departments have been taking lessons from marketing in areas like employer branding and talent attraction, with employees increasingly being treated as customers. Now benefits are getting in on the act, and segmentation is the hottest marketing insight.

“At the broadest level, segmentation is the idea of grouping people together into common characteristics,” explains Chris Charman, a director in Towers Watson’s reward practice. “It’s a marketing concept, applied to HR.” When it comes to benefit, that means analysing data and targeting different employee groups with different offerings, maximising take-up, engagement and ROI.

Chris Coyne, group head of reward and HR services at City and Guilds, speaking in HR Data, Technology and Outsourcing (a report by Clear Path Analysis), says it’s something he’d like to take further. “There’s a growing trend towards using the data we have on everybody to understand their preferences and habits,” he says. “Segmentation is another way of looking at it. We know an awful lot about our staff and their benefit choices. We’ve done the basics; a little bit of age profiling and seniority profiling, knowing what people are choosing from different demographic categories. The next step is to link it to employee engagement and talent. I would like to be in a position where we can say what role reward plays in that.”